Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton picked up right where he left off during the 2011 season in the opener versus the Indianapolis Colts. Melton is entering the final year of his contract and is positioning self for a big payday.
Melton, a converted DE from his days at Texas, starts his third year as a full-time player at defensive tackle and had a dominating performance today. He is the engine that makes the defense run for the Bears from his 3-technique spot and he set the tone early and often.
In total Melton racked up five tackles, three tackles for a loss, two QB hits and two sacks in the game. That’s a total of five tackles behind the line of scrimmage on the day for Melton.
The Colts had no answer for Melton, who was a disruptive force and was virtually unblockable. Melton wins with speed but is learning to win with strength now in addition to his dominant speed. His explosion through gaps and into the backfield is second to no one at the defensive tackle position.
Melton also played throughout most of the game with the Bears choosing to play only three DTs on the day. Nate Collins was suspended for the first week and Amobi Okoye was inactive until he gets back to full speed after joining the Bears late in the week.
Donald Brown had two big carries on one drive in the game, but was held in check otherwise, gaining only 48 yards on eight carries on the day. Melton helped lead the charge on the very first drive, dropping Brown for a four-yard loss.
The Bears may not be yet considering an early contract extension for Melton, but if he continues to play at a high level like he did today, he should be locked up sooner rather than later.
As noted by Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com, Melton has continually expressed his interest to remain in Chicago with the Bears, and given the need to have a force at the 3-technique GM Phil Emery should sign Melton now.