Bears Draft Target: Siaki Ika
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Target: Siaki Ika


by - Senior Writer -

After finishing the 2022 season with a 3-14 record, the Chicago Bears have the No.1 pick in the NFL draft, in addition to seven other selections. Also, Chicago will likely take advantage of the opportunity to trade back, accumulating more picks in this year’s draft.

While fixing that team comes with hitting a home run in the first round, the Bears can't stop there as they must make the right selections in the later rounds. Sometimes that is a lot easier said than done as those rounds are more of a best player available type of thing. However, the Bears have a plan and Ryan Poles knows what this team needs to address to get better.

That starts with winning in the trenches which is where the Bears lost most of their games last season. Not only has the offensive line been an issue, but their defensive line took a massive step back last season which saw the team struggle across the board. Not only do I expect the Bears to target DL in the first round, but this could be an area they address several times including on day two or three.

When it comes to middle to late round DL prospects, Siaki Ika from Baylor is a name that stands out. Not only does Ika or "Apu" as his teammates call him have a great name, but he is a monster on the defensive line that draws a lot of comparisons to Vita Vea. He’s an elite run-stopper but needs to improve his conditioning to play on third down.

With him standing at 6-4 and a massive 358 pounds, you would expect nothing less than being a great run stopper as he is a load to move off the line of scrimmage. Even with his size, Ika showed plenty of athletic ability as he recorded 70 tackles, 4.5 sacks and three pass deflections with the Baylor Bears. Looking back at this season and Ika finished with 24 tackles and two pass deflections.

Not only is Ika big when it comes to sheer size, but his strong hands allow him to control the line of scrimmage with relative ease, making it easy for him to stop the run. His best move is a violent bull rushing technique that makes him look unstoppable at times. Throw in one of the better players at stopping OL from reaching the second level and you would think his draft stock would be higher than where it is.

The biggest issue with Ika is his weight as he was once at 370 pounds. That has made it hard for him to have a lot of stamina as he needs to find an ideal playing weight to have more stamina. Even with his size, Ika does leave his feet too much which has a lot of scouts feeling he should be a better tackler.

When in a zone coverage scheme, Ika tends to shoot the gap a bit too much which is something he needs to be more patient with. If he can do that, you could see a player whose stock will only continue to rise as we get closer to draft weekend.

Whether he’s put in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, teams expect Ika to be a two-gap player. Given that he can play either side of the C, he would fit in nicely with the Bears 4-3 technique and would immediately be a load in the center of the trenches. As expected, the conditioning aspect will always be a concern and Matt Eberflus is going to take a long look at that. Regardless, Ika is a name that you need to keep an eye on as the NFL draft approaches as there will be plenty of teams willing to reach for him to take a shot on him.

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