Bears Insider

Tyler Scott headlines Bears' top standouts from offseason program

A few players opened eyes as the Bears ramped things up during the offseason program

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The offseason program, for the most part, offers little excitement. It's a lot of half-speed run fits, basic scheme installation, and monotonous team drills meant to get everyone on the same page heading into summer.

It's hard for anyone to stand out during non-padded practices in May and June. Elite talents like DJ Moore and Tremaine Edmunds stand out on any field they grace, no matter the time of year. Quarterback Justin Fields has all eyes on him 24/7, and he offered a mixed bag during the OTAs and minicamp.

For the most part, the Bears' offseason program produced the expected results. But a handful of players popped and have their arrow pointing straight up with training camp a month away. (Note: No offensive or defensive linemen were eligible for this, but defensive end Terrell Lewis did have a nice offseason program and is worth an honorable mention.)

Tyler Scott

The Bears drafted Scott in the fourth round with plans to pair his 4.21 speed with Fields' long-ball ability. Scott's ability to stretch the field vertically, both from the slot or outside, should push the safeties back and help open up the intermediate area of the field. Fields throws a good deep ball and led the NFL in completion percentage on throws between 10-19 yards last season, making Scott and his speed an ideal addition to an evolving offense.

The Cincinnati product opened the offseason program working primarily with the second-string offense. He had some good moments with backup quarterback P.J. Walker before finally flashing his separation ability with the ones during minicamp.

Scott easily beat rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson deep during one round of 11-on-11, but the wind altered Fields' pass and it fell incomplete. Scott also showed that his speed works in the short and intermediate areas as well. The rookie beat nickelback Kyler Gordon a few times on quick routes and showed that he can throttle his speed in and out of breaks to create better separation.

"His speed shows up, his suddenness shows up, and his moves and run after the catch show up," wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said. "He can catch a ball, make a guy miss, turn around, get going really fast. Like zero to 60. Obviously, he has deep speed. And his knowledge, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. There are some things that we put in, everything’s new to him, and we’ll put in something that’s new, and he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. That’s always a good sign for any player, much less receiver."

Scott did have several drops during the offseason program, so that must be cleaned up before the games count. But overall, it was a good first showing for the rookie receiver.

Noah Sewell

Sewell was another rookie who had enters the summer on a high note.

With Jack Sanborn still working his way back from an ankle injury, Sewell took most of the first-string reps at the SAM linebacker spot.

Sewell's speed, power, and explosiveness make him a great downhill linebacker. But his lateral agility and coverage ability are the reasons he fell to the fifth round after being a projected top-60 pick after the 2021 season.

But Sewell showed good coverage instincts during the offseason program, including two near pick-sixes when he quickly diagnosed a quick out and jumped in front of Fields' throw. Both balls should have been picked off, but Sewell couldn't come down with them.

Sanborn still will enter training camp as the starter, but the Bears will allow Sewell to vie for the job.

"We'll see where he goes," head coach Matt Eberflus said of Sewell. "With rookies, it's always know what to do first, so he knows his assignment so he can do it fast. He's getting better at it. We love his instincts. He's a very instinctual player. And so is Jack. Jack is a very instinctual player, plays multiple positions for us. But Jack will be the starter there going into it and then we'll see what Noah can do to press him."

Robert Tonyan

The signing of Tonyan was one of general manager Ryan Poles' shrewdest offseaon moves.

The McHenry native is familiar with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's scheme and gives the Bears a second reliable pass-catching option at tight end. For an offense that flows through the tight ends, adding a legitimate No. 2 tight end will be huge for Fields and the Bears' offense, especially in the red zone.

Tonyan showed what he brings to the Bears in the scoring area during the red-zone finale of mandatory minicamp. The veteran tight end made two touchdown grabs, including a sparkling one-handed snag in the back corner on a dart from Fields.

With two dangerous pass-catching tight ends, the Bears should run more 12 personnel than last season. Tonyan's presence should open things up, especially in the red zone, and help Kmet continue to ascend.

"I think Cole’s just getting better and better and better as the year went along," Getsy said. "And I think Bobby’s going to be a really good example for him with all the experiences that he has been through, within the system even to kind of give him some cool nuances of how we can do what we do better."

Velus Jones Jr.

Following a shaky rookie season, the Bears' decision to draft Scott had to put Jones on notice. With four receiver spots (Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, and Scott) locked, that leaves Jones battling with Dante Pettis and Equanimeous St. Brown for the final roster spots.

Jones was quiet during OTAs but put together an excellent three-day minicamp that showed off his growing connection with Fields. Jones also worked with the punt return unit and did a good job fielding punts cleanly, something he struggled with last season.

With Claypool and Mooney not participating for injury reasons, Jones got plenty of reps with Fields and the first-team offense. He showed a more diverse route tree than the go route-screen combo he worked during his rookie season. Jones beat Stevenson deep and did some nice work when matched up with Gordon in the slot, making several catches over the middle during the Bears' third-down period.

The Bears have seen a different Jones entering Year 2.

"He’s got a lot more, I guess, juice," Tolbert said. "A little more pep in his step. I say that, and everybody knows he’s the fastest guy in the room. But when he gets out there, he hears the play now, he lines up really fast and knows what he’s doing. I think it’s the confidence in knowing what to do, because he would tell you himself, last year he was like a deer in the headlights a lot of the times.

"Now he knows what to do, he answers all the questions in the meetings, then he gets onto the field and knows how to go out there and execute it. I think, again, being a year in the system has helped him tremendously. Probably helped him more than anybody in the room."

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