The Bears had to address a need along the interior of the defensive line with the departure of Anthony Adams and Amobi Okoye. The loss of Okoye was especially tough given how he emerged in his one season in Chicago.
So the hole left needed to be filled, and the ramshackle of five players competing for the fourth DT spot wasn't very promising. GM Phil Emery heard our concerns as fans and went out and grabbed an very good DT prospect in 23-year-old Brian Price.
To get a better sense of what type of DT the Bears landed I went to the tape to evaluate what the third year DT can bring to the Chicago Bears.
There are obviously concerns regarding Price's emotional state, but I'm not here to play psychiatrist, I'm here to scout a football player.
Brian Price is a 6-foot-1 303-pound DT who came into the NFL as a second round draft pick from UCLA. He suffered a nasty injury in 2010 that required surgery to reattach the hamstring to his pelvic bone. Tommie Harris underwent the same procedure after his injury in 2006. Harris struggled with knee problems and has never had hamstring problems since the surgery.
According to the final statistics from the Tampa Bucs website, Price finished the 2011 season with 28 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, three sacks and 10 QB pressures.
So there's no reason to draw the same conclusion that Price may develop the same injury problems as Harris. In fact in evaluating Price I saw a player that is different from Harris altogether.
Price's best attribute is his strength he plays like a plow horse, using his low center of gravity to push around offensive guards. He is flat out NASTY along the interior of the defensive line. He uses his hands well, he gets good leverage and gets a lot of penetration. He can slip into a gap and hold off the guard with one arm and change the direction of the running back.
His ability at the point of attack is second to none and Price likely becomes the best run defending DT on the Bears roster. Price has excellent short area quickness and explosion off the snap that he uses in combination with his strength to overwhelm guards in the run game.
He doesn't struggle with double teams, in fact he COMMANDS double teams to work hard to slow him down. There are very little times where he's overwhelmed or pushed off his point. Most of the time he is getting into gaps and causing having or bull rushing through to make a play.
Price is an above average defensive tackle talent who has the ability to be a long time starter for the Bears.
Price is not an athlete that is going to get a lot of pursuit outside a three to five yard space. He's a phone booth defensive tackle that can flush a QB from the pocket but is not going to get a lot of sacks. Watching him next to Gerald McCoy you could see the type of athletic body and player McCoy is compared to Price.
McCoy is a pass rusher where as Price is not much of a pass rusher. He can collapse the pocket, that is not a problem because he is in fact so strong and quick. He's not like Henry Melton or Tommie Harris, he's more like a faster quicker version of Anthony Adams.
Price played a lot nose tackle one technique for the Bucs, and he doesn't seem ideally suited for the three technique he'll be asked to play for Chicago. I suppose given his ability to shoot gaps and cause havoc he can play the under tackle role, but he looks better suited for that one technique.
I watched a lot of Price and Paea in the Pac-12, it's the conference I follow so I'm familiar with both. They were both VERY good in college, with Paea being the better athlete. Paea's athleticism is severely underrated, while Price's strength is something that is fun to watch.
I think Price has a very high ceiling and has two years left on his rookie deal to earn a long term extension. I think he can earn that long term extension, and combined with Melton and Paea could be a very good three DT rotation for the next eight years.
There are not a lot of major flaws to Price's game and I am very surprised that the Bucs let him go so easily. Overall this trade is another big piece to what could be a championship puzzle that comes together for the Bears.
Video of Price follows below: