The Chicago Bears re-signed veteran safety Deon Bush, the team announced Wednesday, and they’re also reported to be adding another piece to their defensive line. Late Wednesday evening, NFL insider Ian Rapoport Tweeted that the Bears are signing defensive tackle Angelo Blackson to a two-year deal.
The 6-4, 319-pound Blackson was a fourth-round pick (100th overall) for the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent his first two seasons with the Titans before heading to Houston to play for the Texans for three years. He spent all of last season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Bush was taken in the fourth round (124th overall) by the Bears in 2016, and he has filled in at both strong and free safety depending on where he was needed. He has played in 65 games for the team in his five years, starting eight. He has served primarily as a special teams player, but he has also filled in for starter Eddie Jackson at times. The 6-0, 200-pound safety had his first career interception last season.
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Angelo Blackson Stats: What Will He Bring to Bears’ D-Line?
In 16 games with the Cardinals last year, the 28-year-old Blackson provided solid production as a rotational player on the defensive line. He started nine games, and had 24 tackles (16 solo), 2.5 sacks, 19 pressures, 10 hurries and eight quarterback hits in 550 total snaps.
He earned a 44.1 overall grade from PFF last season, earning far better marks as a pass rusher (57.9 pass rush grade) than he did as a tackler (25.7 grade) or against the run (40.4 grade). His tackling grade is a bit concerning. Blackson missed a career-high eight tackles in 2020, and while he was consistent when it came time to rush the quarterback, he wasn’t the greatest at taking down ball carriers in 2020.
The primary question surrounding Blackson right now is whether he was acquired as a way to help fill the void that could be left if the Bears decide to move on from veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks — which is entirely possible, as the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported Wednesday that the Bears were currently shopping Hicks. Time will tell.
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Will Deon Bush Compete for the Starting Role Opposite Eddie Jackson — Again?
Heading into the 2020 season, Bush was competing against veteran Tashaun Gipson for the starting strong safety spot. Gipson beat him out, and wound up being a pleasant surprise at the position. Now entering his sixth season, Bush should be a solid contributor on defense.
“Deon’s done great over the last couple years, to be honest,” Bears’ new defensive coordinator Sean Desai said about Bush last year, via Hub Arkush of Shaw Media. “I think he’s smart, he’s really smart. He cares a lot, he’s really passionate. He’s tough, he’s shown that he’s really tough and willing to tackle. And he’s got really good range, he’s got really good range in the deep part of the field.”
Desai, who was Chicago’s safeties coach before being promoted to DC this offseason, has been with the team for Bush’s entire tenure, so it will be interesting to see how he’s utilized this year.