What Bears' Pace saw in monster tight end that made him bypass defensive needs
Disdaining help for the defense for a second straight day, specifically the secondary, the Bears drafted tight end Adam Shaheen from Division II Ashland in the second round with the 45th overall pick after trading down nine spots.
In 2016, the 6-foot-6, 278-pound Shaheen set a Division-II record for tight ends with 16 receiving touchdowns on 57 receptions for 867 yards (15.2-yard average). A year earlier he caught 70 balls for 803 yards (11.5-yard average) and 10 touchdowns.
"Any small school player we watch, we really want to see him dominate the level of competition, and this guy definitely did that," Bears GM Ryan Pace said. "Great character, high football intelligence, strong work ethic, and for a guy with his size, his athleticism jumps out."
By moving down from the 36th overall spot and also sending the Arizona Cardinals their seventh-round pick (221st overall) this year, the Bears were able to add a fourth-round pick (119th overall) and a sixth-round pick (197th overall) this year, plus a fourth-round pick in 2018.
Shaheen was the tallest and heaviest tight end at the scouting combine and tied for first with 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. While he's got the size of a typical NFL blocking tight end, Shaheen was far more impactful as a receiver, But he will be a project as he takes a big step up in class to the NFL.
After playing basketball for one year at Division II Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Shaheen transferred to Ashland, in his home state of Ohio to get back on the football field. When he left high school, Shaheen was 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds. He said he added weight by maxing out on Chipotle for two years.
"I just really missed football," he said. "I didn't have much opportunity to play football coming out of high school because I was so thin. But I had a bug in me after watching an Ohio State (vs. Wisconsin) game and just made the switch, and I'm very happy I did."
Shaheen's 4.81 40 time is impressive for his size. And, while he may require a longer indoctrination period, Shaheen believes he can be a factor in the red zone because "My physicality and ability to go up and get the ball. I know there's a knock on Division II football, but one thing they don't account for is they don't call pass interference in Division II. So people were just mugging me left and right -- that's something we had to deal with."
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