In the 5th round (Pick 155) of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected DE Trevis Gipson from the University of Tulsa. Gipson, who was listed as Defensive End at Tulsa, played more on the interior in college. Since being drafted he has been listed officially as an Outside Linebacker by the Bears. This is just one small glimpse into the versatility that Gipson can provide to the Bears on defense, a force that can play inside or outside.
Trevis Gipson played 4 seasons at Tulsa under head coach Philip Montgomery, after redshirting his freshman year. He was a 2 year starter who played in 49 games, starting 24. He concluded his collegiate career with 114 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and 8 forced fumbles. He participated in the Senior Bowl. A hamstring injury limited him to just the bench press at the 2020 NFL Combine, completing 25 reps. Speaking about the injury, Coach Montgomery said, “he was close to being back, but just did not want to take the chance.” Gipson ended up competing at full health on his Pro Day recording a 4.73 40 yard dash time.
When you watch the tape on Trevis Gipson, one thing is clear, he is quick and explosive. He is very lengthy and athletic which has helped him beat defenders off the edge and fight off double teams. He also has a nose for the football, being a leader among all college football in forced fumbles in his junior season. So what can the Bears expect out of Gipson? “He’s going to work, he’ll be relententless about his work and trying to get better, he’s very driven, and he’s a great teammate,” Montgomery had to say about Gipson. There are many areas to Gipson’s game where he is proven. According to Lance Zierlein (NFL Analyst), Gipson is strong, adding nearly 60 pounds during his time in college, has a long and explosive first step, has great lateral movement, and is flexible and athletic. Coach Montgomery also pointed out that Gipson, “is always trying to work a different move, trying to expand his game.” And he is, “confident, yet has that mentality about him that he is always willing to learn and get better.” He has a great work ethic and is constantly looking to expand his game and get better.
The University of Tulsa and their defensive scheme made Gipson play inside most of the time, with the Bears he will be able to play more on the outside as a true Defensive End or a stand up Outside Linebacker. There are still areas to Gipson’s game where he must improve upon. In his draft profile, Lance Zierlein (NFL Analyst) identifies that he is still very raw as a player that needs to improve on technique. What better opportunity to learn than with the Bears and pass rushers like Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. Part of versatility can be roles on special teams, which he played a good amount of in his early career at Tulsa, and as a specialist on certain downs. Montgomery says Gipson can be, “a really special 3rd Down edge rush guy,” and “he can also play inside on 3rd Down and give you that quicker body on the inside.” Gipson is not a single spot type of player. He can shift around on the defensive front and provide good support in multiple areas depending on situations. Gipson will likely play more on the outside, however at this early stage in his career he can showcase his skills on the inside as well.
Besides his performance on the field, Gipson is also a dynamic player off the field and in the locker room. “Nothing has ever been just given to him, he’s had to earn everything he’s got over the course of his career,” said Montgomery. Coming out of high school, Gipson did not have many collegiate offers. This motivation has been a contributing factor in his drive and work ethic. In the locker room, Gipson has also been a strong leader for Tulsa, Coach Montgomery described him as, “the best team leader I ever had.” He has a team first mentality, and while the Bears already have established leaders in the locker, Gipson can grow and learn to develop into a young leader on the defensive side of the football.
Trevis Gipson is also an eager learner, prior to his senior season at Tulsa, he was invited and attended Von Miller’s Pash Rush Summit. This annual event, hosted by Denver Broncos star Von Miller is an invite only event for the NFL’s and college’s best pass rushers to learn from each other. The 2019 event had active players such as Aaron Donald, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Bradley Chubb, and Frank Clark. Gipson was among the college players in this group. About Gipson’s experience, Montgomery said, “he went up there just as a sponge, and was trying to learn as much as he could learn from those guys.” He also went on to share the knowledge he learned from the summit back to his teammates at Tulsa. Now on the Bears, Gipson will continue to have the opportunity to learn from more of the league’s best pass rushers in Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks.
Trevis Gipson is not a player that will be an instant starter for the Bears, however he still will have the ability to make an impact on the team in the roles he will play in. He will more than likely play mostly on special teams and as a part of the second unit on defense as a rookie. This is not a knock on Gipson as a player, it is just the depth the Bears already have on the defensive front. Gipson is a player that has consistently gotten better and is always looking to get better. With the opportunity to work with some of the league’s best pass rushers in the past, and the opportunity now to work alongside other stars like Khalil Mack, Gipson has a high ceiling for what he can become and accomplish in the future. He still has areas that he needs to improve upon, but the coaching and player personnel on the Bears will allow Gipson to further develop his game.