2024 Bears Draft Target: Jaden Crumedy
Nathan Ray Seebeck - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Draft Target: Jaden Crumedy

by - Senior Writer -

When the Bears entered the 2023 NFL offseason, the goal was to improve their defense from front to back. Coming off a season that saw the Bears rank near the bottom of the NFL in total defense and statistically one of the worst, if not the worst, season in Bears history, Ryan Poles did what he set out to do and got busy fixing the defense.

It started on the free agent market when they added LBs TJ Edwards and Trumaine Edmonds and continued into the draft as they selected Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, among others. All of them played a massive role on the Bears defense in some aspect last season, but Pickens and Dexter are looking to make an even more significant leap in 2024.

This season, there is a different vibe at Halas Hall as the Bears once again own the top pick. Depending on who you ask, some are sold on Caleb Williams, whereas some would rather stick with Justin Fields and put more talent around him. You can see the argument for both sides, but apart from that decision, the Bears will need to address other holes one way or another.

You can bet that Poles will continue to focus on the defense at some point, but it will most likely be in the trenches as the Bears need more depth up front and a better pass rush. Although our next prospect isn't a round one or two guy, he is worth looking at in round three and could emerge as a Day 2 steal should he be available for the Bears in the mid-rounds.

The man is Jaden Crumedy, a DT from Mississippi State. Crumedy has been known as a run-stopper over a pass rusher but has shown the versatility to do both equally as effectively, which bodes well for a Matt Eberflus type of system. Granted, he does need to improve his overall technique and consistency, but Crumedy is certainly a project worth taking a risk on, as his high motor and elite work ethic could help him become an instant contributor.

Another one of the older prospects, Crumedy, at 23 years old, is the perfect size for an interior defensive lineman as he stands at 6-5 and weighs 305 pounds. Crumedy had a solid career with the Bulldogs, putting up 123 tackles and 8.5 sacks throughout his time in Starkville. That included this past season, considered a down year as he had 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Down year or not, Crumedy showed up at the Senior Bowl, and his performance there put him back on the radar for many teams.

One of the things a lot of teams like about Crumedy is his versatility and being able to stop the run equally and get after the passer. He also has a ton of experience at the college level, which is something you can't teach at the NFL level. While his pass-rush ability is good for an interior lineman, he is much better at stopping the run and does a tremendous job filling in the gaps in front of the linebacker group.

Perhaps the thing that most scouts like the most about him are his high motor skills. This player plays with his hair on fire and will give it 110% until the whistle and sometimes even a little after it. Those are the types of players you need on your team, and for a team with the Bears' history, he would fit in nicely.

As good as he has been when it comes to pressuring the QB and stopping the run, Crumedy still had limited production as a pass rusher, as the sack totals weren't there. DTs typically don't rack up a ton of sacks, but you would like someone in the middle who can get after the QB when given the chance.

Crumedy is also one of those players who lacks consistency, as he looks like one of the better defensive players in the country at times and then will look like an average player at best. Those are both things that can be worked on during the training camp portion of the schedule and can easily be fixed.

One thing that can't be fixed is his age, as he is another one of those players who will be 24 when the season starts. That will be the theme for the next few draft classes as this is the first of three COVID-affected drafts as these players exercised their extra playing days. Given that the Bears drafted two interior linemen last season, it seems unlikely they would target another one early on.

However, even with the veteran Andrew Billings signing a two-year extension, he is 29 going on 30, so the Bears will need to find some depth and a replacement for him. Crumedy could be that guy, and if you are looking at an NFL player comparison, Dean Lowry comes to mind as someone who can make plays, but hasn't done it consistently.

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