Chicago Sun-Times

Zuttah climbing up draft boards UPDATED

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Yes, the Bears did have a private workout with Rutgers offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah as J.J. Pesavento of Next Level Scouting reported first on Tuesday.

Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand traveled to New Jersey to put Zuttah through a one-on-one workout on March 6 and do some board work with him where they work on plays on a dry-erase board.

The Scarlet Knight has his pro day today and interest is only growing in Zuttah after he put together one of the overall best workouts at the combine. Zuttah was the only lineman to run a sub-five second 40-yard dash, coming in at 4.99 seconds, and he combined that with 35 reps in the bench press at 225 pounds. He had a solid vertical jump of 26 1/2 inches, and a broad jump of 8-11. Good stuff for a 6-3, 303-pounder.

Check out this action of Zuttah catching a lateral against Louisville and motoring downfield

Zuttah was a first team all-Big East Conference selection after starting at right tackle. While he has the athleticism to play outside, he’s being projected by most as a guard.

It was an impressive line, including left tackle Pedro Sosa, that paved the way for running back Ray Rice, and now Zuttah has been able to separate himself somewhat with individual work at the combine and since. He’s also worked out for the Giants and Jets and has workouts scheduled for the Buccaneers and Falcons. Most figure him to be a mid-round selection.

We’re going to have some information from the LSU pro day later on, and we’ve got word on another guard the Bears are keeping a close watch over as we move closer to selection weekend.

UPDATE: Apparently Zuttah suffered a minor back injury doing some positional drills. Apparently his back had been bothering him coming into the pro day.

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Another solid OL with the versatility to play guard or tackle. Maybe they finally realized that the stiffs we have on the roster as backups and the marginal starter we have in Garza, that we need some solid young linemen to not only protect our QB, but to open holes for whoever is back there running the ball. I watched the highlight of the lateral, and the kid has some wheels on him. He is obviously strong, with 35 reps, so hopefully he has a good punch and can hold his own against guys like Pat and Kevin Williams from a bull rush standpoint. And he appears quick and mobile enough to get outside on the sweep, instead of what we saw in 2007, where the pursuit was already outside of the pulling linemen and sealing the play before the back could get anywhere near the corner.

Our offense was bad because it was bland. Everything was straight ahead, into the teeth of the defense, and they stacked up against it. There was no versatilty, no surprise. Everything was telegraphed, and as more guys went down, the harder it was to even execute the basics. The thing we need to be able to do is move the point of attack around the field, so it isn't easy for the defense to know what is coming. We kept it in between the tackles because we did not have the horses to get to the edges. With that threat, you can do what we used to do: spread out the defense. The outside linebackers have to stay outside for contain, the defensive linemen can't just shoot gaps to try and break up the play, or they end up by themselves in the backfield, and the safeties can't cheat up as much. This opens the play action game, the underneath and intermediate routes (Booker and the tight ends make their living there) and if we establish any deep threat presence at all, it plays back into the hands of the running game. We were one-dimensional as an offense, not in the traditional sense of only being able to do one thing, but only doing a half-cocked job of running and passing. Teams were not frightened of our offense, and it starts and ends with the 5 guys up front. The reason the Steelers and Vikings are able to run so effectively is that the defense can tell it is a run, but they have no idea where the run is going. Can't cheat when you don't know the answers. There may not be stars at all 5 spots, but they have players who can do their jobs well enough to give the back a chance. Right now, we have 2 guys who can do that on the line: Kreutz and Tait. Kreutz struggled because of the guys on either side of him. Brown played with one arm for half the year, and Metcalf/St. Clair was not very good in his place. Garza gets beat by DTs regularly, and Kreutz normally spends a lot of his time supporting the right side, but with Brown out of action, he couldn't support that side. Miller couldn't stop any speed rushers, and none of them seemed to be able to pick up the blitz. That part falls on the QB not being able to recognize the blitz in the first place. But you fix the guards, and get a LT so you can move Tait to the right, and all of a sudden, you have a solid unit that is relatively young, athletic, and effective. Jerry has the right idea looking at as many OL as he can find, and I would not be seriously upset if he used 3 of his first 4 picks on offensive linemen. Probably more likely he uses 2 of them, and a QB and RB are the other two.

Two words Angelo hates to hear about draft prospects,"Moving Up".
Bye bye Zuttah and good luck with whatever team you land on. Try and stay healthy. Wait thats right he has some injury issues, then there is still hope that Angelo will grab him. Maybe he will break a leg or something, then where back in buisness.

Joe I agree with a lot of what you have said, but you are leaving a few things out and putting a lot of the blame on the Oline last year.

The Oline last year was bad but not as bad as evveryone says or thinks. At the begining of the Season teams new they had to stack the Box and force the run to the outside, they new Benson was not fast enough to turn the corner and this became a common practice for most teams. They also knew the Bears had a decent deep threat but there short passing game was really bad and predictable. Teams new when Benson was in they could blitz, and they did and Benson would miss his block and Rex would get killed. The Oline took a lot of blames for sacks last year but they also had to deal with 8 men in the box most of the season and RB who could not pick up his blocks or catch out of the backfield. Later on during the season the Bears started brining in Peterson on passing downs to block and catch out of the backfield. This didn't work well because teams new when Benson was coming out and Peterson was coming in it would be a pass play. If the opposing D knows when you are going to run the Ball and how you are going to run the ball you are in trouble. If you know when you are going to pass and run the ball it's a lot of trouble. I think a lot of fans forget how well Jones used to protect Rex and often he mad e big catches out of the backfield or cut back the run or kicked it to the outside. He deversified our running game enough to force other teams to respect the run. When Benson went down and Peterson started the Bears offense improved a lot. While Peterson is not a good runner he put up identical numbers to Benson, this tells you it was not the Oline but rather a limited running back in Benson. With the same Oline the better running back should have better yards per carry. They had identical running numbers. However Peterson could catch out of the backfield and could pick up the blitz. That really helped the bears passing game and helped take pressure off the Line. I don't think the offensive line was good last year but I think everyone is blaming them for problems that go much deeper than just the line. 8 men in the box and being constantly blitzed while everyone new what play we were running. How well where they supposed to performe against all that.

Problems with the Bears offense.
1. Turner, his offense is to predictable and simple.
2. No running game and no legit running back
3. An aging offensive line that is now short 2 starters with no real backups.
4. Quarter back, Rex panics under pressure and steers down his recievers. Again making the offense predictable
5. Right now the worst WR group in football with no deep threat.

The Ravens had one of the Best offensive lines in football but could not run the ball effectivly until the got Jamal Lewis. The Bears can draft all the oline they want but unless they fix all the other problems it's not going to help. Teams will continue to stack the box and blitz us all day. 5 guys will not be able to stop 8 guys for very long.

The reason I keep saying the Bears should take a running back with the first pick is not that it is a greater need than oline, but in this draft the RB class is really good at the top but not even close to being as deep as the Oline class. Between the middle of the first round and the top of the fourth round there will not be a big drop in offensive line talent. At running back the drop off will occure in the middle of round 2.

I think the Bears really do need Mendenhall because he addresses 3 needs, he can run between the tackles and to the outside better than anyone else in this class (McFadden in not as good between the tackles), he can catch out of the backfield as well as anyone, and he will be the best blocking back in football. Any Oline the bears get at 14 will not have the same effect on the game as this kid, not to metion you can get the same quality at Oline in the second and third round.

creighton did you mean O-line or oline as in kreunts. Zuttahs sounds a lot like kreunts in that he's small, strong, athletic, and uses leverage. Personally I think kreunts is a most overrated player who gets swallowed up by the big tackles we play in minnisota and detroit. Hopefully we stay put and take the best left offensive tackle at 14 but I would'nt cry if Mendenhal was deemed too good to pass on.

I forgot that Hester wasnt a deep threat.I aslo for got how Miller use to stand straight up and look at the guy running right by him.Another thing I forgot Brown was tripping Olin Kruetz,releasing his man way to early and Brown could NOT pull block.Kruetz not only had to block his own man but also chip block the guy that was running right by Brown or Garza.Garza is a quality back up and that is it.For some reason Garza had a melt down in the Super Bowl and just hasnt realy recovered well since then.I dont believe it was Benson, Turners play calling and Rex inability to stay cool under pressure is why the Bears O-Line failed.The Bears O-Line broke down last year.It looked like the O-Line had no drive and no unity.When Rex Grossman is playing you better believe there will be 8 and 9 men in the box.Rex has proven to get happy feet when there is 8 in the box.As long as Grossman is starting the Bears will allways face a stacked box.
I do agree with a couple of Creightons points, but on the other hand I dont think Mendenhall will even be there at the 14th pick.
Mendenhall in my opinion is the 4th best player in the draft.You never know a team might pass on McFadden and draft Mendenhall .McFadden has some issues teams know that.Mendenhall doesnt carry any bagage and Mendenhall is a all around back with flashes of play making ability.McFadden on the other hand has more than flashes of play making ability, he is the play maker.
I can see 4 teams that might be interested in a running back.

K.C. Cheifs 5th pick:Larry Johnson isnt getting any younger. L.J. has had injurys.He has also made it known that he is not happy in K.C.
Cheifs need a quality running back just incase L.J. gos down or holds out.

Jets 6th pick:Thomas Jones is going into his 30s.Jones has missed at least one game every year since entering the NFL.Jets could take a hard look at Mendenhall givin the Fact that Jones misses games and they dont have a proven back up if he does go down for more than 2 games.

Denver 12th pick:Travis Henry also getting older and injury prone.Selvin Young seems to be a Great second back in a 2 back system.Broncos have alot needs on both sides of the ball.Im sure that they miss the days of having a stud running back.Mendenhall can be a stud in their system.

Panthers 13th pick:This is where I see Mendenhall getting drafted with the 13th pick.With Foster in S.F. and Williams is better suited to be a compliment back.The Panthers have needs on both sides of the line and I can see the Panthers trading this pick to another team to get more draft picks.Trade the #13 to a team that is interested in Mendenhall and willing to give up a little to move up a little.Hey now that the Lions are done drafting WR maybe its time for them to trade up and start drafting first round RBs.

HillBilly da Bears do you mean Olin?.Do you mean Kreutz?I know Im bad at spelling but at least I know what Creighton was saying.
By the way Creighton it is a little confusing when you type oline as it being one word.O-Line thats a good way to put it.We dont type or say offensiveline.We type and say Offensive Line as 2 words.Dont worry Creighton I knew what you were saing.

Anonymous march 26 5:22 was written by Brando

Anonymous march 26 5:22 was written by Brando

"Bye bye Zuttah and good luck with whatever team you land on. Try and stay healthy. Wait thats right he has some injury issues, then there is still hope that Angelo will grab him. Maybe he will break a leg or something, then where back in buisness."

Read the new update above on Zuttah's injury, Creighton. Looks like we'll be in the hunt for Zuttah now after all, eh? Hehehe.

News Flash Mendenhall will not be there at 14!! Maybe Stewart falls after toe injury I agree with some of Joe and Creightons points so that being said JA will trade down get O-Line twice then one of the speed backs will be there Smith or Jones, I still was impressed with Tony Temple of Missouri no one talks about him. We need a outside threat to spread the field diagonally as well as vertically. If you get them spread the offense will be better the OL has to hold the blocks a shorter time.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 26, 2008 10:20 AM.

Reports: Lovie impressed at Arkansas pro day was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears check in on South Carolina St. prospects; Currie surfaces is the next entry in this blog.

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