There are several ways NFL teams gather intel on prospects during the NFL Draft process. All-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days and private visits are all part of what’s inherently an inexact science. The more information general managers and scouting departments have on an early-round pick, the lower the risk. At least, that’s the theory behind it all.
Each club is offered the opportunity to host up to 30 players before the NFL draft kicks off for some up-close and personal time. They’re valuable. They’re limited. And that’s why when news breaks about a player visiting a team, it matters.
One noteworthy player who visited the Chicago Bears this week is Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah. News of his visit was shared by TDN’s Ryan Fowler on Twitter.
This is an interesting development for a few reasons. First, linebacker is rarely mentioned as one of the high-ranking draft priorities for General Manager Ryan Poles. Sure, the Bears need a starter opposite Roquan Smith, and free-agent signing Nicholas Morrow might be that guy. Morrow is a high-upside athlete who, if healthy, could emerge as a stud in Head Coach Matt Eberflus’ defense. But that ‘if healthy’ condition makes him far from a sure thing.
Second, Asamoah is ranked 69th on TDN’s 2022 NFL Draft rankings. There’s a good chance he’ll end up being a second-round pick. If the Bears’ interest is real, and Asamoah is a player they envision as a potential starter this year, they’d have to strongly consider using one of their two second-rounders on him.
This is a break from the theme surrounding Chicago’s 2022 NFL Draft plan over the last couple of months. The Bears are supposed to draft a wide receiver – maybe two, actually – and an offensive lineman in the second round. Not a linebacker. But this is the NFL draft. It’s the OG of reality television. Shock and awe are commonplace, so nothing should come as a surprise, including Poles pulling the trigger on a linebacker at No. 48 overall.
“As a prospect, Asamoah shows great athleticism that allows him to be a sideline-to-sideline player showcasing great closing speed to the ball-carrier,” TDN’s Keith Sanchez wrote. “Asamoah has the ability to key and diagnose run plays, and on arrival, Asamoah is a violent tackler that thrusts his entire body into the ball-carrier. Asamoah is a good athlete at linebacker that should see early playing time in nickel packages in the NFL.
It’s a fair evaluation of Asamoah’s game by Sanchez, and if we’re being honest, it doesn’t read like a player who should be one of the Bears’ top choices. Still, Chicago is a linebacker city, so swinging on a rangy athlete who can lock down the second level of the defense alongside Smith isn’t the worst strategy.
Remember: April is infamous for its first day because of the jokes, pranks and lies that are told. It’s also branded as the month full of smokescreens and fluff orchestrated by NFL teams to throw the competition off their trail. Poles doesn’t come across as the kind of general manager who’d use a valuable draft visit as a decoy, but we’re knee-deep in lying season. There’s no telling whether the Bears’ interest in Asamoah is… real.
TDN preaches ‘draft good players.’ It’s something Bears fans have to buy into. The desire to check certain boxes – i.e., get the wide receiver or offensive lineman – can’t take precedence over drafting good players. And if Asamoah is the best player on the board, as graded by Poles and his staff, then he’s going to be a Bear. Whether you like it or not.