Just type in Ourlads.com into your web browser and view the bio of Dan Shonka. It pretty much says it all regarding Shonka’s prowess as a football talent evaluator.
Ourlads’ General Manager and National Scout, Dan Shonka, has been involved in player personnel work for 39 years. He is one of, if not the only, NFL Draft Analyst to have played the game, coached the game, recruited high school players on the major college level, and scouted professionally. Shonka scouted for National Football Scouting, the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL for a combined 16 years. Scouting is not a hobby. He has built his home and raised his family on his experience as a player personnel evaluator and he remains a team consultant.
Shonka was a guest on Bear Report Radio this week and provided his insight into the Chicago Bears’ 2013 draft class.
Was Kyle Long one of the top 20 players in this year’s draft class?
“We had Kyle Long in the second round. He was our fifth offensive guard; we think he has to play inside at guard. He only virtually had five starts, played junior college a little bit before that. He actually wanted to come back this year to Oregon but the NCAA didn’t give him the extra year. He’s a developmental guy. He’s tough, he’s athletic, he’s all that stuff but it’s just a matter of how fast he can develop to contribute to the Bears.”
Is a player with just five FCS starts too risky given his inexperience?
“It’s tough. Personally, I could see second or third round but not the 20th pick in the draft. Sometimes people roll the dice and see what happens because he’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic but I like a little bit more of the sure thing. We’ll see how he develops. Even his brother was a great player as a defensive end. It took him a while before he finally got into things this year. When you’re on offense, it’s a whole different thing. You’ve got to learn a lot of technique in pass protection. I mean, the protections are extremely complex and your technique and mechanics of playing offensive guard, it’s a lot of work. He’s got a big road to hoe ahead of him.”
Can Jon Bostic be the Bears’ long-term middle linebacker?
“I think he can play in the middle. He’s a little taller than Mike Singletary and weighs about the same: 6-1, 245. He runs well. He’s a four-down linebacker. He’ll be in on all pass downs. He’s very good in pass coverage. Athletically, we grade the linebackers at the combine. Athletically, he was the number one inside linebacker of the 11 that worked out. So he’s athletic, he’s got some size, he’s got good instincts, he plays well downhill. This year, you would’ve liked to see a little bit more productivity but Florida was full of defensive playmakers. He had about 68 tackles this year. You’d like to see a little bit more productivity from an inside linebacker but I’ll tell you what, he was very good. He’s very explosive. He makes big plays. He can scrape hard to the strong side but he can also scrape to the B and C gap weak.”
Can Khaseem Greene eventually replace Lance Briggs on the weak side?
“He’s got a little of similarities to [Briggs]. Greene started off his career at Rutgers at safety, so he’s got good pass-coverage skills. He’s a very good athlete. A lot of times in college, he would try to really strike and knock a running back down, or a receiver, but you’ve got to wrap up better in the NFL to get these guys down. There’s no question that he’s very aggressive and physical and he plays hard every down.”
Can Jordan Mills play both tackle and guard?
“I think that’s exactly right. He’s got the size and the girth to play inside and that’s kind of where we saw him. I think the Bears will probably want to start him outside first and maybe give him a little work there. He’s certainly a four-for-one player, where he can play both guards or tackle. I guess he’ll be battling to be the seventh guy on the field; they only dress seven. He plays with a good base. He can get some push. He’s a very athletic guy, so I think that was the appeal to Phil Emery. When he was outside he struggled a little bit with edge speed rushers and two-move guys. Inside, he wouldn’t have that problem because he’s got the girth to anchor inside.”
How do you evaluate Marquess Wilson?
“He was very productive. He’s a big guy that can run. He picks up speed as he moves down the field. He’s a little bit of a strider and he needs a little bit more upper and lower body strength, and needs to work on his routes. He’s definitely a size-and-speed prospect and also an athletic one.”
How much would you have downgraded Wilson considering he left the Washington State team last year?
“I think what you do is you look at the total picture. Unfortunately Mike Leach had other players that he had run-ins with while he was at Texas Tech, so you just have to look at the total picture and see how that fit in. He quit with three games to go, so it wasn’t like it was the whole season or anything like that. Nevertheless, it bothers some teams. You don’t want to have somebody quit on you just because times get tough.”
Is Cornelius Washington more than just a special teams player?
“We think that guy’s got a chance to do something because he’s very athletic. I think if you put his hand down on the edge in a four-man front, I see the Bears using that big athletic guy as a nickel pass rusher.”
Is Washington a better fit in Chicago’s 4-3, compared to the 3-4 he played in at Georgia?
“I do. I would put him down in a 4-3 but I think he can play [standing] up because he is athletic enough, but he’s probably better playing down. So I think the Bears got him there and I think he’s going to be a very good player for the Bears. I really do.”
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