Like many, I watched the 2015 draft unfold with great interest. It was fascinating to watch the soaring success of a Marcus Mariota (including a reported effort of my Chicago Bears to unload Jay Cutler on the Tennessee Titans in exchange for their second slot — and Mariota). It was equally fascinating to watch the plunge of Randy Gregory from a top draft pick to number 60 after showing himself incapable to not doing drugs even when his entire NFL career and future depended on it. However, while the Winstons, Mariotas, and other elite players tend to get the limelight, I was rooting for a guy picked by the Bears in the final round. I was rooting for Tayo Fabuluje. There is no reason that you would know his name but I hope someday you will.
The Chicago Bears have traditionally gone with the best player strategy as opposed to a need strategy as vividly shown this year with the selection of only one defensive line starting player despite our desperate need on defense with the shift to a 3-4 team. The Bears have also tended to avoid players with character problems in the draft as shown by our pass on Gregory – emphasizing character with talent in players. Most of the excitement in Chicago’s draft (which was given overall high-grades for its draft choices this year) was Kevin White who will replace Brandon Marshall (my favorite player who was traded to the Jets). White has the makings of a real game changer. However, on character, one player stood out to me: Fabuluje. I was delighted that he was selected as our final draftee.
Fabuluje is a huge offensive lineman at 6’7″ and 330 ponds. His size obviously was a plus (though it can be a liability since he has reportedly ballooned 390 in the past) However, his resume is very very short. The reason is that Fabuluje gave up football for a year to return to Utah in 2013 to support his older sister, Tosin, when their mother, Debra, went to prison for multiple petty theft crimes. He held down three jobs to support his family. His father was deported to Nigeria after participating in a truck theft ring and is no longer part of the family. This kid did not just abandon his family for his career. He gave up everything (college, football) to do the right thing. He was the man of the family at 5 when his father was deported and he says that his mother turned to crime to support the family.
While working there jobs at Michael Kors, Sprint and Champs Sports, Febuluje took classes at BYU. He then returned to TCU in his final year.
Now that is character. I really hope that Febuluje keeps his weight under control and finds a way on the field for the Bears. If the Bears’ oft-stated belief that character makes a player is true, we have a diamond in the rough in Tayo Febuluje.