Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 12/14/11

The talk before the season was that Henry Melton was going to emerge in 2011 as a very strong player at the three technique defensive tackle spot.

The talk was very warranted from what we saw from Melton last year when he started to make an impact at a mere 260 to 270-pounds.

Melton now is up to 295-pounds and in the process he has not sacrificed much speed or explosion, all important aspects within the one gap defense.

Results speak for themselves and as of right now the results show that Melton is a legitimate Pro Bowl defensive tackle.   Melton is tied for the league lead in sacks by DTs at seven, has 31 total QB pressures on the season and has stacked up a solid four tackles for a loss on the season.

Those are numbers worthy of a Pro Bowl invite especially given how important it is for the three technique to apply this type of pressure.   Even more impressive is how the Bears prefer to divide up the snaps between their backup defensive tackles Amobi Okoye and Stephen Paea.

Adding to the list of impressive accomplishments Melton has a sack in each of the last three games to go with eight QBPs in the last three games.  Proving that his production is getting better at the most critical juncture of the season with the Bears in the midst of a playoff race.

Obviously the Bears have lost their last three games, but Melton's play as been at a high level throughout the losing streak.

In the meantime the Bears defense has given up a mere 20 points over the last two games.

The third year DT is quietly living up to the potential that Lovie Smith stated he had within him, arguably exceeding that level of potential.

The question now is given this is Melton's first full year as a starter, his first full year playing primarily as a DT where is Meltons's limit?   That question may yet to be answered but on a defense that is full of aging stars, Melton is proving that he's a young and emerging star that could be wreaking havoc in the NFC North for the next five to seven years.

Melton's stats prove he deserves Pro Bowl consideration, and quite possibly All-Pro consideration.  His production speaks for itself and after his fourth and final year in his rookie deal, Melton will be in line for a fat contract extension an extension the Bears might look into doing now, before Melton's price tag gets too high.

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