Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets

MelTuckerHopefully everyone had a great weekend! The Bears rookie minicamp finished up, and sadly, my pet prospect (Indiana safety Greg Heban) didn’t make the grade for the Bears. (Not that I think that’s a bad decision; I’m certainly not qualified. I just liked watching him play in college.) According to Brad Biggs, the Bears did sign at least two players out of minicamp: North Texas safety Marcus Trice and Louisville running back Senorise Perry. Both players will head to camp with the Bears, and given the relative strength of their respective positional groups, I think Trice has to fancy his chances of cracking the roster more than Perry.

  • Among Perry’s competition, former NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch is certainly the highest-profile candidate. As Adam Hoge writes for CBS Chicago, the key to Lynch making the roster and being a potentially useful offensive player will be his ability to contribute on special teams. As a Heisman Trophy-finalist college quarterback, Lynch obviously wasn’t asked to do a lot of blocking or tackling, so he’s a bit behind the curve.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright has a nice rundown of the potential changes in store for the Bears defensive scheme. Mel Tucker sounds as though he wants to make a lot of changes, and after last year’s performance, I’d think that’s a good approach. From the piece, I received the impression that while the changes wouldn’t be sweeping, they will be felt at all levels of the defense. Tucker notes that the high level of defensive personnel turnover (both coaches and players) helps to facilitate this sort of change. This is Mel Tucker’s defense now; he’s no longer beholden to Lovie Smith’s scheme, and he’ll benefit from a wealth of new defensive talent. I’m very interested to see how the Bears look defensively under Tucker; due to injuries (and the Bears effort to maintain defensive continuity from Lovie’s system) I’m still not really sure I know what a Mel Tucker defense looks like.
  • Marc Trestman plans on giving Jordan Palmer the first crack at the backup quarterback position, as noted by Adam Jahns. I think Palmer has a leg up at this point, given that the Bears certainly view themselves as a contending team; his veteran status probably provides a more reassuring presence. That said, Palmer has thrown all of 15 passes in the NFL, so it’s not as though he’s a seasoned, tested player. Considering the Bears spent a sixth-round choice on David Fales, Palmer probably shouldn’t be too comfortable.
  • Patrick Finley wrote a quick piece for the Sun-Times on the relationship between second-round choice Ego Ferguson and undrafted free agent signing Christian Jones.
  • The Bears released punter Drew Butler, according to ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright. Butler was signed to a reserve/futures contract this offseason, but his chances of making the team were drastically diminished when Chicago selected Pat O’Donnell in the sixth round of the draft.
  • Speaking of O’Donnell, Jeff Dickerson wrote that he’s got some advice from the veteran specialists while at minicamp this weekend. Dickerson also reports that O’Donnell repeatedly hit the roof of the Bears indoor practice facility. Personally, I’m hoping he hits the Dallas scoreboard at some point. Remember when everyone assumed that would happen repeatedly, and it was treated as some sort of “Thing To Worry About”? Has it even happened in a game?
  • Finally, the National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh has the Las Vegas Hotel Sportsbook NFL over/under lines for the upcoming season. The Bears sit at 8, which strikes me as low; I’d probably put it at 9. (Note: I’m not a professional gambler.) Looking at the other divisional teams, the Packers are at 10, the Lions match the Bears with 8, and the Vikings sit at 6. Play at your own risk.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.

703 responses to “Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets”

  1. frank

    So does the movement of Clint Hurtt to OLB coach signal an impending switch to a 3-4? Does this change, if made, bring new life to Shea McLellin? It would seem that at least some 3-4 is in the offing anyway. This may be just wishful thinking but it would be awfully nice if there was a position at which McLellin was even league-average; one less hole to fill (even if an upgrade becomes necessary in the future).

    1. mdavis

      Yeah I think 100% it means a 3-4 is on the way. You don’t typically have that designation on a 4-3 team, at least I’ve never heard of it. It should at the very least give Shea an opportunity, even if its more as a specialist. I won’t hold my breath though. There are a few guys that I think can translate that are on the roster now, but I’d imagine a good portion of this draft and free agency will be bringing in guys to fit the mold. I think Ego can translate, whether bulking up to play nose, or dropping a couple to bump out to end though that would be an imperfect fit I think. Ratliff came up as a NT. Houston, once healthy, can play either OLB or DE. Bostic and Jones will be fine, and Jones gives them some options at the LB pos I think. At 7, another guy who could be a target is Danny Shelton. He’s more of a true nose at 6’2″ 330. But with so many holes…I don’t think they can go wrong with anyone on defense ha.

  2. frank

    Yeah–it just seems to me though, that with so many problems on defense, switching schemes will only exacerbate the matter. You don’t have the players, and they’re learning a new scheme, and you have a ton of holes to fill anyway. Sounds like a recipe for disaster–but the defense is already a disaster–guess it can’t get much worse. And again, a 3-4 can be played just as poorly as a 4-3. It’s the players, not the scheme. And I believe 3-4 corners need to be much more proficient at man defenses rather than zone–so there would be added concerns not only on the line, but the secondary too. With Bostic, Jones, and McLellin, they may have the LBs, but that’s about it. That and half a defensive line. I’d like to see a hybrid, or the ability to run both–but that brings up a number of roster construction issues. Other teams seem to do it though.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah I think that could be part of the thinking with roster construction. The defense is so bad as it is, its not like they have a ton of talent they need to move around. Now is the time to switch it. Sutton overall, apparently to most grades, was a disappointment. So, DL wise we’re talking Ego and Ratliff. Paea is a FA and won’t fit the scheme so I think he walks. Fuller was a physical player coming out of college, so I’d look for this to play to his strengths.

      1. frank

        Well, the roster is constructed for a 4-3 — a bad 4-3, but a 4-3 nonetheless. I know they have to think long term, but the window with the offensive talent on the roster isn’t very big. An extended rebuild/rescheming on defense may take so long that the window closes on offense–leading to the very same rebuild with the offense, only a couple of years later. I just don’t know, 1) how much talent can you turn over, 2) how quickly can it be done, and 3) will it make a difference? I simply don’t see the 3-4 as the panacea that many others seem to. And switchovers have been met with mixed success to say the least–New Orleans was real good the first year they switched, and then bad the next. Others have met with varying degrees of success–or failure.

        1. mdavis

          I’ll agree with you that I don’t think the 3-4 is the solution to all problems like some people seem to think. But they brought in 1 of the top DCs in all of football. top 5 defenses first 3 years, was 10th this year without their top pass rusher, 2 of the best ILBs in football, so that’s impressive as well. He built that defense developing a 3rd rounder (Bowman), a long time vet (J. Smith), an undrafted player (A. Brooks) So let’s look at needs.
          S-that won’t change with the switch
          LB-also won’t change with the switch. Just the type of LB changes.
          CB-Same here
          pass rusher-Allen looked over the hill last year, Houston and Young coming off serious injuries, they still need this spot
          DL-Ego showed flashes, Sutton was looked overmatched and Ratliff can’t stay healthy. So this was going to stay a need as a 4-3 or a 3-4.

          So really at this point I think this is maybe the ideal time to transition. I mean, I look at players that I’d be “yes, we need to keep this guy cause we can build with them” and its Fuller, Christian Jones, Bostic, and Ego. I’ll throw Houston in there because, while the production wasn’t there, I think he has a nasty streak in him and he may fit better in 3-4. But other than that….I don’t see a lot there. And I believe those guys actually translate well to a 3-4. But this will defintely be a heavy defensive draft and free agency (as it should be)

          1. frank

            I think Allen was misused last year. He was so often lined head-to-head on a tackle and that’s not his game. He’s more of a speed guy, not a power guy. I think the defense will improve next year just by having a staff that’s able to play guys in position and use them as their strengths dictate. That said, I agree, Fangio is one of the best and he does seem to prefer a 3-4.

            Yes–the DL is always a need (even when it’s not–can’t have enough good ones); and the type of LB changes (and now Briggs wants to come back . . .). I think that the safeties in the 3-4 are the more traditional FS and SS whereas in the defense the Bears were running, they were pretty much the same. I think too, the corners have to be better in man coverage and more physical–thus your point on Fuller especially is well taken. But you’re still looking at about a three year (draft) process to get all the pieces, depending of course on free agency and the ability to switch and develop the players already here. By that time, I wonder what the offense will look like. Of course, if Pace is as good as advertised, and as good as he’s shown so far, he should be able to put together a strong roster–I guess I’m just not used to that kind of competence (sad to say).

            1. mdavis

              Yeah I think what we may end up seeing is more of a hybrid than a true 3-4. I think with Fox (4-3) and Fangio (3-4) they can really have a good blend, at least this first year, which could ease a transition to a more traditional 3-4. Just took a glance at the FA market, which while they want to and need to build throught the draft, they’re going to have to supplement with some pieces.

              Justin Houston-obviously top of the list, had 22 sacks, 26 yrs old OLB in the 3-4….no way he makes it to the market. He’ll get a huge deal, or a franchise tag

              Demaryius Thomas-Same here. I think he’s franchised if nothing is worked out, but I did read an article Chicago was pushed up his list with Gase landing here. But, 1% chance he hits the market I’d say.

              Randall Cobb-Now this would be an interesting target. Would be a double win, as it would hurt GB as well. I’m not so sure they’d be inclined to use a franchise tag on him, but on the other hand he seems liek the type of guy who would take less to stay with Rodgers.

              Devin McCourty-this is my top target. FS, great cover skills. Pats have a $20m option on Revis, and if they pick that up, no way they use a franchise tag on McCourty. So if he hits the market, I’d love for this to be the top guy.

              Jerry Hughes-Can play 4-3 DE, or 3-4 OLB, I’me weary because he just emerged last year (contract year), but there are worse options.

              Some OLB/rush types: Orakpo (injured 2 of 4 years, could be cheap), Graham, Moats, Reed, Worilds. Worilds would be my top target here from PIT, he’s productive, still young. Orakpo if he took a bounce back 1 yr deal could be an interesting rotational type option as a pass rusher.

              CB market is pretty bare. Cromartie, 31, would be an interesting option. Good size, long been a strong corner. Davon House from GB, could be a decent option, but probably more as a nickel guy. Byron Maxwell would be my favorite target. 6’1″ 207, comes from Seattle, and they have tied up a lot of $ in Thomas, Sherman, Chancellor, and offered Lynch a big extension, and Wilson is about to become one of if not the top paid player. I just don’t see how they will find money to keep a quality player like Maxwell. + he’s only 26. And then of course Tillman, I’d be ok with on a 1/$2.5m type deal….interested if perhaps he’d consider moving to safety now after back to back years of injuries. He really could thrive like a Charles Woodson.

              Safety is just empty. After McCourty, the only guy that interests me is Nate Allen from philly.

              1. frank

                I agree–we’re likely to see a hybrid defense, at least for the first year or two. Of course, everyone says you have to build through the draft, and that is true to a great extent. But NE, for example, gets players from everywhere. I was surprised when I heard that they have only one first round pick starting on offense. I should take a look at their mid round picks, and see what level of success they’ve had there. But they also seem to hit on many mid-tier and undrafted free agents who just fit what they do. This free agent class looks kind of weak once you take out those who will probably get tagged–but even a pick up or two would help with so many holes on this team.

              2. frank

                I agree with what you said about Randall Cobb–but I’d love to see him as the slot receiver in the Bears offense . . .

  3. frank

    SBNation has a 2 round mock that has the Bears taking Dante Fowler, DE from Florida with the #7, and Daryl Williams, an OT from Oklahoma in rd 2. Fowler, it says, can line up anywhere on the line, but may project best as a 3-4 OLB. One scout compares him to Khalil Mack. Williams is 6’6, 329 and they project him as lining up next to Long on the right side–very physical, aggressive blocker, especially in the run game. I wonder too, if Cornelius Washington may find a new life as a 3-4 rush linebacker in the new scheme . . .

    1. mdavis

      Don’t think I would hate that. That might be a tad high for my liking on Fowler as I see him more in that 10-12 range, but its early in the process, and he certainly is a talent, as well as a physical specimen. But the production didn’t always match the ability. Williams would be a nice pick to solidify that right side, and could bump Mills into more of a utility role where he backs up at both G/T. That being said, I think they have more pressing needs to address than RT. And with the overhaul on defense needed, they have to try and find another starter/rotational player in round 2 that can help now.

  4. mdavis

    Good point about Washington also. He would seem to be a much better fit in this potential scheme with the athletic ability he has, at the very least to break into the rotation.

  5. frank

    Just saw a 7 round mock that has the Bears picking 3 LBs with their 6 picks: Shane Ray in the 1st; Denzel Perryman of Miami in the 2nd; and J.R. Tavai of USC in the 7th. Round 3 is FS Derron Smith from Fresno St.; round 4 is WR Josh Harper of Fresno; and round 6 is DT Travis Raciti of San Jose St. I agree that they have more pressing needs than RT so early in the draft. These coaches may also have a different take on the talent they already have and possibly move Long to LT, Bushrod to RT, and make Mills a guard. Kromer’s philosophy was that the strength of the OL should be in the middle, but I don’t think that’s universal, and many believe Long belongs at LT. And moving Bushrod to the right side would be a huge upgrade–without drafting any more O linemen.

    That mock also has Mariota going 6th, Winston going 1st, and the Vikings picking Amari Cooper in rd 1.

    The knock I’ve always heard on Washington is that he can’t change directions well. But that might be ok if he’s a used as basically a straight line speed rusher.

    1. mdavis

      I’d really like that first 3 rounds. I saw a mock on BR I believe that had Ray going to the Bears. He’d be a real nice pick I think, has a bit of nasty streak in him, athletic, can play that stand up rush guy. As for Perryman, I’d like that a lot, but I think he may be gone, and possibly in the 1st round. Had a strong Sr Bowl from what I read. That being said, the top 3 rated ILB, I’d like any of them in round 2. McKinney from Miss St is a beast at 6’4″ 250 and Anthony from Clemson is a solid 6’2″ 240, both project to be real quality inside backers, so I’d think the Bears should have a shot at at least 1 of these guys in round 2. I think if they are going to be looking at the ILB position, a lot will obviously depend on how they feel about Bostic, and where they think Jones fits in. From what I’ve read, most people have Smith slotted as the #2 safety, but I’ll be honest I don’t love it. I try not to get too caught up on measurables, but from the safety position I want size, and he’s a tick under 5’10” and 195. Part of Vereen’s problem last year was that he wasn’t strong enough (hoping a year in a pro weight room helps), and this guy is smaller. I’d be fine moving ahead with Mundy at one of the spots, but finding that FS is going to be a challenge I think. Coillins is a SS type, McCourty is the only real FS out there on FA, and in house we’re talking Vereen pretty much. I know Tillman has long said he doesn’t want to do it, but who knows, maybe they can talk him into the Woodson affect, and plus he won’t be jamming receivers on the line, which could make him think bout the fact he’s missed 2 years with torn tris.

      1. frank

        Yeah, I wouldn’t have a problem with a draft full of LBs. I’d still prefer that McLellin not be a bust, but so far, he’s done nothing that indicates he deserves a spot on an NFL football team, except maybe as a special teamer. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Allen in more of a two-point-rush role this season either. I wouldn’t be averse to Mundy in one of the safety positions either; he was pretty solid most of last year. Tillman, I think, would excel at safety. So, if the starting DBs end up being Fuller, Mundy, Tillman and Jennings, I could live with that for the time being. But, as we both know–it’s waaayyy too early to speculate about these things. But it’s fun anyway.

        1. mdavis

          Way to early indeed, but certainly fun. We also don’t know how Pace is going to attack, or the types of players he’s going after. Emery liked making big splash deals right out of the gate (YR1: Marshall, YR2: Bushrod, Martellus, YR3: Houston), so how will Pace manuever FA? I think you need to attack areas of need, that are weak in the draft especially, and that screams out safety. I’ll be watching what NE does with McCourty intently, though they also have a choice to make on Revis.

  6. mdavis

    Someone posed an interesting question to me last night, that if Hundley is still on the board in rd 2, would I pull the trigger. I’ll admit I haven’t watched a ton of him, and I’ve long been a Petty fan, so I went back started to read what I could, watched some of his tapes (granted, we’re talking youtube stuff here). I’m starting to turn on Hundley. Is he ready now? No. He makes the occassional questionable read, and I think he gets jittery in the pocket at times. On the flip side, from the games I did watch of UCLA this year, he was getting crushed. OL was brutal. He’s got prototype size 6’3″ 227, and he’s very mobile. Also from all accounts, the guy is very mature, and a leader. 3155 yds, 22-5 TD-INT, and completed 69%. Also ran for 644 10TDs and a 4.1 avg, which is more impressive when you consider college counts a sack against a QBs rushing yard (something I hated). His accuracy imporved every year, and he cut down his INTs every year. Sounds like he throws with a lot of RPMs, which is crucial in Chicago to cut through that wind, and ESPN scouting report has his arm stregnth “notch below elite”. I’m going to read some more, try and watch some more tape on him, but from what I’ve combed through, I’m starting to think the guy can be a real talent.

    Another thing, I start looking through these teams in the playoffs, conf champ games even. Packers, Seahawks, Pats, Broncos. These teams address the position before its even a need so these guys can developt. Pack: we all know the story, spent a late 1 on Rodgers even while Favre was still at a high level. Seahawks: 3rd round on Wilson, right after they just spent a lot of $ on Flynn. Pats: draft Garroppollo in rd 2 even with Brady still one of the best. Broncos: drafted Osweiler in round 2 the year they gave Manning a 5 year deal.

    My point being, these teams are looking ahead 2-3 years, using high draft picks (at least a 2 in most cases), to address the most important position in sports. Just something I found interesting. Not quite on the boat of if Hundley is there at 39, do it, but….I’m getting closer there. Assuming of course, he gets the opportunity to sit a full year, if not 2, before he takes over.

    1. frank

      Well, I think we’ve seen, given the long legacy of great Bears QBs, that whatever the Bears have done hasn’t worked. And gb has been aided by systemic stability as well–and remember too, they traded for Favre when there was still hope that Majkowski could play again. I think it was Thompson who said that you should draft one QB in every draft.

      I’ve only seen one game in which he’s played, so I’ll take your word on Hundley. If they think he can be an effective starting QB in the NFL, then I’d have no qualms if they drafted him. Cutler, whatever one thinks of his effectiveness, isn’t going to be around forever. Gb will have an advantage at the position, as they will over most other teams, probably for as long as Aaron Rodgers is playing. So the Bears will have to figure other ways to beat them–as Lovie Smith did when he first started here. People, especially gb fans, forget that Lovie Smith beat gb like Betty Crocker beats cake batter when he first started as the Bears coach–with defense, ST, and an effective enough offense.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah the more I think about it, and read up on Hundley, if he’s there in round 2….would be awfully tempting. Plus the Bears are a team that can afford to let him sit a year or 2 if necessary with Cutler under contract.

        1. Ryan

          Yeah, I agree, he would be a great pick for the future, but right now I think there are just too many defensive questions to get a QB in the second round. There are so many immediate positions of need for the Bears to go and get him. I think he’ll be a great value pick for some team, but until we get a safety, a linebacker or two, and help on the line, we’re not going to be drafting skill position players in my opinion.

          1. Ryan

            If you can go out and get McCourty in FA though and believe there are strong linebackers and lineman you can get in rounds 1, 3-5, then it’s looking more possible.

            1. frank

              That is the problem–so many holes and so few impact picks. But it also depends, I think, on whether they will stick to a “best player available” strategy. If Hundley grades out higher than a defensive player in a position of need, will they stretch for the defensive player or go for the best player available, even if he won’t contribute right away? Pace’s early comments suggest they’d pick the best player. This’ll be interesting.

              And yes, though I do like the idea of building through the draft, it’s not realistic to do it that way to the exclusion of free agency, at least right now.

              1. mdavis

                I think that’s where these other teams get into trouble. These elite franchises, they grab QBs before its a need. Pats, Broncos, Seahawks. And could argue all had needs elsewhere at the time (granted not as many). But agreed, it would be a tough pill, but I’d rather take a Hundley in round 2, if he’s graded highest, than reach for a safety or a LB, etc.

                1. frank

                  That’d be a tough call, depending on what other players are on the board and what needs they might fill. But having a QB learning the system is pretty important theses days too. Most QBs don’t complete a season, and we’re pretty sure Cutler won’t likely be around past, well, I’d think the next couple of years at the most.

                  1. mdavis

                    Yeah all true. Now, looking ahead to next year (dangerous I know), the QB stock looks to be a good deal healthier. Cook (Mich St), Hackenberg (Penn St), Cardale Jones (Oh St), Cody Kessler (USC) Dak Prescott (Miss St…don’t love him for the record), and Boykin (TCU). So there is a healthy crop, with those top 4 likely 1st rounders. So, if they don’t feel a Hundley is the answer, or that Petty is a guy that can develop, then they should wait until next year and maybe get a crack at on of those guys. But I agree, Cutler has 1, maybe 2 more years as a Chicago Bear.

  7. mdavis

    Good to see the Bears bring back Louis-Jean. He’s real raw, and was pretty much thrown to the wolves last year, but he’s got an interesting skill set. He’s a taller, corner at 6’1″, could stand to pack on about 15 pound in the weight room (was listed at 187). But he’s still just 21. If he really dedicates himself to his craft, checks in next year in that 202-205 range, and hones in on his skill, they may have something there. Not saying as a starter necessarily, but he could challenge for some PT in the sub packages.

    1. frank

      I liked that too.

  8. mdavis

    McShay released his 2nd mock. Has the Bears taking Danny Shelton, NT from Washington (6’5″ 332) who’s an aboslute monster. Had a great week at Mobile I believe also. Mention Arik Armstead of Oregon as a possibility as well (DE 6’7″ 285). Both would address needs on the line.

    1. mdavis

      Shelton is actually more like 6’2″….McShay apparently has a bunch of guys listed at 6’5″ that are not even close haha

      1. frank

        Well, a monster at 6’2 or a monster at 6’5 . . . if he can make an impact on that D line, I’m for it. But McShay is certainly looking to a 3-4 conversion with that pick.

        1. mdavis

          Yeah he’s an oxe. had 9 sacks from the NT position. That’s damn impressive. I saw another mock (SI?) had Collins in the first, Jalen Collins (CB, LSU) in rd 2. 6’2″ 200 CB, I like that. If they think he can start day 1, I say that’s a quality pick, but I have a feeling he may be one of the risers with combine and pro days.

          1. frank

            That’d be interesting–either way. The NT would signal a clear shift to a 3-4, with the ability to do a monster 4-3, somewhat like the days of Washington and Traylor. And the other mock had Collins the safety in the 1st and Collins the corner in the 2nd? that’d mean what? Fuller and Collins at CB, Mundy and Collins at SS? And Jennings at nickel?

            1. mdavis

              Yeah I would think that could be the DB alignment. I still just don’t like L. Collins at 7. I mean if they really feel he is the best player there, then ok. But that’s just awfully high to draft a SS, and Mundy at FS is really not ideal. But we will see. The more I’ve read about LSU J. Collins, the more I like. Tough kid, comes from a program that has churned out some quality DBs (Peterson, Matheieu, Claiborne has been ok), and he brings that size. But those are also reasons I think if he runs well, and tests well at the combine he could sneak into rd 1. I think Waynes (Mich St.) ends up being the top corner taken, then I think Collins really could work his way into that 2nd corner convo. Peters (Washington) is a talent, but comes with the character issues after being kicked off the team. Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest has been rising as well, and then you have the 2 FSU corners. a lot of day 2 type of guys, so it’ll be interesting to see, I think the combine could push a guy like Collins up (which is kind of ridiculous but that’s how it works sometimes).

              1. frank

                I’ve read where some think that Landon Collins is the best safety prospect in a decade. I don’t know how much of that is hype though. But yes, if they think he’s the best player available, then take him.

                The combine certainly has put a lot more emphasis on athletic ability–at the expense of actually playing football. That’s one thing that hurt Emery–scouting with a stopwatch. Athletic ability is important, but it has to translate into football ability. I’m hoping Pace will be better in that regard–looking for football players over sheer athletes.

                1. mdavis

                  oh wow. I haven’t seen that. My primary issue is the fact he’s a SS. They just don’t carry as much weight in today’s game as a FS that can ballhawk. But once again, I’ll give this new FO and staff the benefit of the doubt to go BPA on the board, and fully anticipate it being defense.

                  I’ve tried reading up a little more on Danny Shelton since he’s becoming a more popular mock pick. Seems the national “guru” types all love him, and the smaller service scout types aren’t enamored with him. Not sure I’d love a guy at 7 with that much split. Also read that Houston fits best as a stand up OLB in the 3-4. So, we’re looking at Houston (when healthy) in probably that Ahmad Brooks role (using SF model), Bostic at ILB, and a rotation right now outside with Allen, maybe McClellan. Jones could be the X factor. At 6’3″ 240 he can man the other ILB spot, or he could bounce outside in that rush role. I guess my “dream” scenario for him would be to turn into Jamie Collins from the Pats. Rushes some, bumps inside some, etc.

                  All that being said, I think a guy like Arik Armstead could very well be a target at 7. He can play that DE in a 3-4, has the size at 6’7″ 285, and they don’t have anyone on the roster like him.

                  1. frank

                    I think some of this is going to depend on whether they decide to rebuild the defense from the back or from the front. Personally, I believe it has to be built from the front–from the line. But it’s arguable that Seattle built theirs from the back and have had success–but their line has been pretty strong too. The Bears defensive backfield is arguably in the worst shape of any of the defensive groups (though I’d say the LBs are even worse). I really wouldn’t be able to argue against picking any defensive position at 7. If the safeties are going to play a big role from here on out, maybe Collins is the right pick. But if they’re switching to a 3-4, they really don’t have a 5 technique DE on the roster either. Of course, they may not need one–Ratliff had great success as a nose tackle in a 3-4, and he’s certainly not a prototypical 0 technique.

                    If they’re looking at lining Houston up as a LB, and maybe Allen too, as gb has done with Peppers, that changes things–a lot, I’d think. If Houston is best used as a LB, now you have Houston, Bostic, Jones, Washington, McLellin, maybe Briggs (though I think Briggs is gone, maybe they think he can come back and play inside LB), and maybe Allen. Maybe Allen is reserved for situational 4-3 looks.

                    I don’t know that I’d be comfortable with that kind of split on a guy like Shelton either. I don’t know though, who has the better track record, the “gurus” or the scout services. In the end, it makes little difference, I guess, because the only thing that counts is the grade that the Bears scouts have on him. But just the fact that there’s that much disparity of opinion is a bit disconcerting.

                    1. mdavis

                      Agreed, I have tried to kind of look back a bit at Denver’s picks and the 49ers picks, to see if there was a pattern, but really, it was a big of a mash up. They key with a team liek the Seahawks and even the 49ers, is they hit HRs on late picks. If we look at the secondary for Seattle, its a thing of beauty. Sherman: 5th round. Chancellor: 5th round. Maxwell: 6th round. Thomas: 1st rd 14th overall. Lane: 6th round.

                      I mean that’s incredible. One of the top 2 or 3 corners in the league, and one of if not the top SS in the 5th. Just unreal job of scouting and drafting.

                      Now I have no idea how active Pace will be in FA…how could we? But usually when you transition to a new def you have to bring in some guys. Its inevitable. I’ve mention McCourty being my top pick, if NE lets him go, but also Maxwell. I don’t see anyway the Seahawks can afford him, and he’s easily going to be the corner available. Brings good size and length, and I think would be a real nice complement to Fuller on the other side. You bring in one or both of those guys, now you can start going all in on drafting a pass rusher, or an Armstead to play that DE, etc. Try to address needs in FA, so that you can free yourself up to go BPA in the draft.

                      Hypothetical: If the Pats don’t pick up the outrageous $20m+ option on Revis, and he becomes a FA…go after him, and how much $$ do you go?

  9. frank

    Hmmm. I think the Reavis question depends on available cap space but let’s say they have it. You’d have to at least kick the tires, wouldn’t you? I mean, he’s the perfect corner for the new defensive system, provided they go all out on a 3-4 so quickly. But he is older, and probably has a limited shelf life right now. I don’t know–what’s a big spend on a guy like him? Tillman was what? $3.5M? So, $5? But if you can get Tillman to move to safety, that’s an awful lot of money tied into two DBs. But Reavis, Tillman, Fuller, and even Mundy? Not bad.

    I believe one of the reasons they hired Pace was how well New Orleans had been doing with their mid round picks, so that bodes well. But without doubt, you have to get some players from those late rounds. I knew Sherman was a 5th rounder, but didn’t realize those others were picked as late as they were.

    1. frank

      I’m looking at Reavis as analogous to Peppers. No one’s going to take that huge of a cap hit, and I think the Reavis camp would understand that.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah I think he’s going to look for something like $30-40m guananteed on the next deal. It’ll be a ripple effect. If he’s not back with NE, then McCourty likely is. If NE chooses to bring back Revis, then perhaps McCourty makes it to the market. So, that will be an interesting domino to fall for sure. As much as I’d like the Bears to go after Maxwell, I think McCourty needs to be the top secondary target. Just 27 years old, Could really solidify that FS position and be a leader back there, making the calls etc. Plus a lot more CB talent in the draft than at S in my opinion. And I’m not sure throwing a ton of money at a 30 yr old Revis is the direction this team needs to go on that side of the ball.

        1. frank

          Honestly, I think I’d rather have McCourty than Revis at this point. McCourty is younger, cheaper, and arguably fills more of a need. And they really do need younger talent.

          1. mdavis

            Id have to agree. 27, has played at high level, and can quarterback that secondary. He’s obviously going to be the most sought after safety, should he make it to the market, but I think that would go a long way to improve this defense.

            1. frank

              Yup–that might be the single best move they can make to improve that secondary–I started to write “train wreck of a secondary” but the entire defense was so bad it’s really hard to tell where the train wreck begins and ends.

              1. mdavis

                Have to agree.He’s not known for making the “huge” play. He’s more known for not allowing the huge play. And that is fine by me. Still, if he makes it the market, I’d expect him to get something comparable to Ward, Whitner, Byrd did a year ago. So he will be expensive.

                Bears have (I believe) around $27m in cap space.

                1. frank

                  I think it’s about $27 M as it stands right now–before signing any of their own free agents. And it’s hard to what they might be thinking along those lines right now. A hard shift to a 3-4, a transition move to a hybrid, a permanent move to a hybrid–all that is undecided right now, at least as far as we can see. Plus, although I don’t think they’ll do this, especially because Fox has done well with worse than Cutler–they still may let Cutler go, take the salary cap hit now and push the money through the system in the interests of a complete rebuild.

                  I’ll take someone that doesn’t allow big plays. I’d normally expect McCourty to get a tick under what those other guys got, since I think they were considered more apt to create the big play–but it doesn’t look like there’s much in the way of available safeties–so he’s pretty much the market right now. That’s a lot of leverage to have.

  10. mdavis

    Terrance Knighton would also be an interesting FA target. NT, played for Fox past few years. 6’3″ 331, could allow them to move Ratliff to a DE position. Unless they can lock up D. Thomas, I think he gets the franchise tag, and the Bears may have a shot and bringing him in.

    1. frank

      Yes–that would be interesting . . .

  11. mdavis

    Kiper has Shelton going to the Bears in his 2nd mock, so that appears to be the trendy pick now.

    1. frank

      I do sometimes wonder how they come up with their mocks–team needs v. available players? Inside connections pointing them in one direction or another? Both? But I do think, regardless of the pick, that it may reveal quite a bit–what the plan is for the defense, what Pace’s draft approach might be, things like that.

      1. mdavis

        Same, same. I have to think it is a little everything. Need, available players, schematic fit, and probably some of talking to scouts….What I find interesting, is you almost never see a mock draft where team A picks player xyz because he’s BPA. And considering the amount of FO people that say that’s the strategy, that is interesting.

        Something interesting (apologies for being a QB junky), Mayock came out with his positional rankings…and had Bryce Petty as the #3 QB ahead of Hundley. Matt Miller from BR also said after watching more film he was thinking the same. Just thought that was interesting, since I’ve been a Petty fan for awhile (though coming around on Hundley as well). Still no idea if they Bears will target a QB on day 2 or not though.

        1. frank

          Well, see? You’re a step ahead of the mockmasters. That’s a good thing. I heard that there are more and more questions about Mariota; the belief being he’s more of a system QB than anything else. And with TB dumping McCown–well, QB is a real possibility for them, unless Lovie has all of a sudden decided that Glennon is the guy. But for Lovie to pick someone like Winston? That’d be a philosophical sea change–after all, Winston isn’t exactly considered a high character guy.

          Yeah–that is interesting–BPA rarely turns out to be best player picked, unless of course, the team’s boards are really that much different than what we’re seeing.

          1. mdavis

            Haha, I don’t know about that. But I did find it interesting. Petty has all the traits though, from what my amateur scouting eye can see. He’s big enough, tick under 6’3″, and can make all the throws and has all the leadership qualities you look for. So he’d intrigue me.

            Anywho, I read that Lovie went with Koetter as his OC over Trestman, because Lovie and Koetter prefer Winston, while Trestman prefers Mariotta. Certainly interesting. The whole “system QB” is kind of burning the candle at both ends for me. On one hand, yeah, Oregon’s system is QB friendly, very quick reads, some built in improv, etc. On the other….don’t you want your QB to run the system to the max? That’s his job. But looking at him, first he passes the eye test. 6’4″, 210 (could stand to add 10 pounds), very athletic, strong arm. So he has the raw goods. By all accounts is a strong leader, and intelligent kid. But the type of leader he is, at least from what I’ve seen/read, much more of an example type. Doesn’t have that “alpha” aura about him, not a real rah rah guy, which is fine. If your team responds to that. But I think he has the abilities to be a very succesful player at the next level. It would be ideal for him to end up somewhere he doesn’t need to play day 1, or Philadelphia. If he goes to NYJ, I think he’s in trouble. If he goes to Cleveland, I think he’s in trouble.

            Glennon on the other hand, I thought could be a decent player, and he’s shown flashes. Really no excuse for Lovie not to play the guy the last handful of games last year. He reminds me of a poor mans Drew Bledsoe. I’m sure there is a team out there willing to part with a 4 to get Glennon. They aren’t discussed, but Houston would be a good fit. Buffalo would be a good fit. Jets. Cleveland. Either way, I do not expect him to be in Tampa.

            1. frank

              Yeah–but Lovie has always been a character guy–and so far, Winston has shown an utter lack in that department. I think Greg Gabriel said that Lovie would have to go against the grain of his entire coaching philosophy to draft a guy like Winston. So–if he does–that’d be very interesting indeed.

              I sometimes understand the “system QB” thing–the spread offense was designed because college coaches couldn’t find the offensive line talent to run a traditional pro-style offense–so they had to find a way around that talent deficiency. But although that makes it a bit more difficult, a scout should be able to tell whether a guy has the attributes to run a pro-style offense and not just stick him with the “system QB” label. In any case, I think he doesn’t drop past the Jets at #6 anyway.

              1. mdavis

                I agree with Lovie having to go against the grain…but he’s coming off a 2-14 season. He doesn’t think Glennon is the answer, so he needs a QB, and needs one now. Winston, for all his off field shenanigans (and for the record, I wouldn’t draft this kid at all), is the most pro ready. One thing I’m interested in seeing, it seems a lot of the draft pundits are defending his INT total (17) by pushing it off on WRs; route running, deflections, etc. To me his mechanics have always been a bit long. He’s has a dip in his arm action where he drops the ball down and loops it up. Its not nearly as dramatic as Byron Leftwich was, but it does remind me of that a bit.

                1. frank

                  Or Tim Tebow? I remember Tebow having that long loopy release as well. But that is the question–what do you give up? I don’t know if Winston just needs to grow up, or if he’s a certifiiable head case who can ruin a locker room–at least where pros are involved. And what does he do when he’s away from the protection of the college program? That’s a lot to weigh. From what I’ve seen, he may have issues that go past “simple” immaturity–and I wouldn’t go anywhere near him.

                  1. mdavis

                    Yeah, I just wouldn’t go near the kid. and I saw a picture of twitter this week where he looks pretty out of shape. Now, I don’t get too caught up in body type when it comes to QBs, but, he’s 21(?), and a 2 sport athlete. You’d think he’d be in prime shape.

  12. mdavis

    Sounds like McCown is in Buffalo today working on a deal. Would be interesting if he goes there, considering everyone thought Mark Sanchez was destined for Buffalo. I think that would take them out of that market. McCown would be a good mentor for Manuel, though I’m not convinced he will ever be a quality starting QB. Don’t think it affects the Bears in anyway, they need a #2, but I don’t see them going after someone that will make us think “oo competition for Cutler”, because frankly, that someone doesn’t exist. Someone like Jake Locker, TJ Yates, would intrigue me, and then I’m still hoping they pick a Petty or Hundley day 2 to start developing the next guy.

    1. frank

      Agreed–I don’t think there’s an “heir apparent” type out there. That’ll have to come through the draft. But yes, Locker or Yates would provide some quality at the backup position.

      I don’t know that Manuel will ever be more than a bottom of the middle tier type guy–if he even gets there.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah, I think Locker would be an interesting #2. He’s young still, his problem is accuracy. He doesn’t have the same abilitiy as Cutler, but kind of a similiar-ish mold. Both about the same size, are mobile, so you’d think they’d kind of have the same type of scheme fits. But we will see. Maybe they htink Fales is the guy (highly doubt it).

        1. frank

          Greg Gabriel said that Fales was a 3rd round talent, and if the Bears put him on the practice squad, he’d get picked up for sure. Well, they did, and he didn’t, and you have to wonder why he dropped in the draft. From what I’ve seen, admittedly very little, he didn’t show anything that says he’s going to be a solid NFL starting QB some day. So, I too have to doubt that they think he’s the guy. I guess another question is whether they want someone with the same scheme fits as Cutler. It would make things easier in the short term, but may not where they want to go in the long term.

          1. mdavis

            Yeah, if Fales was ready to play last year, there was no reason for him not to against the Vikings. Telling that he still didn’t in a meanigless game. We’ll see, I’m sure he will go to camp, and I’d assume with another young QB. Gase will probably pick his own guy.

            Read that Gase was the 49ers guy, until he refused to have Tomsula forced on him as DC (he wanted to keep Fangio)…makes me like the guy more. Everything I’ve read about him is he’s a tough guy, and doesn’t take bs from anyone. I like it,

            1. mdavis

              Matt Moore would be a QB I’m very interested in as a #2. We will see if he leaves Miami. Has a history with Fox as well from Carolina days.

              1. frank

                Heard that Mayock said that if Mariota is there for the Bears at 7, they should pass. First round talent maybe, but later–says he cannot read defenses or progressions (at least right now). Also said that the Bears could pick up Hundley or Petty on day two without reaching–knock on both of them is that they have no pocket presence, they are indecisive and hesitant if the first read isn’t there, and they don’t throw with anticipation–but there’s a lot to like and they’ll both need at least a redshirt year. Problem is they need live snaps and not 7 on 7 snaps during practice. He also mentioned Garrett Grayson and Sean Mannion.

                I wouldn’t want Tomsula forced on me either if I already had one of the best DCs in the game. That move by San Fran is — curious.

                1. mdavis

                  Yeah I read an article in the tribune about Mayock going into that. Very interesting. Mayock is still a Cutler supporter…said something along the lines of “its hard to move on from someone like Cutler…When he plays well, he plays at a high level…” something to that affect. Which yeah, I think if Fox/Gase deploy the RUN THE BALL strategy, and work in some bootlegs, and play action, etc. to the point where Cutler is only throwing 25 times a game, he’s going to be successful.

                  Anyways, Mariotta would be very tantalizing at 7. He has the raw tools, and just because you draft him, doesn’t mean he starts this year. You can give him 1, or even 2 years behind Cutler. Then again, I obviously like the thought of both Hundley and Petty on day 2. The thing with Hundley, yes, he’s jittery in the pocket and took off early. However, if you watched the first several games, he got the hell beat out of him because of poor O-line play. Which could contribute to that. But both guys bring tremendous leadership abilities, athletic, good size, and can make all the throws. Would really like them to grab any one of those 3 guys.

                  Mannion, he’s somewhat interesting I’ll say. He doesn’t wow me. He has the prototypical size, can make the throws, but really regressed as a Senior, and not very mobile in the pocket. To me, if they want this type of player, just send a 4/5 to Tampa and pick up Glennon.

                  Grayson, I have some questions about his arm strength, and the talent level he played against. A little shorter, he’d really have to wow me at the combine on the field and on the grease board to get me interested.

                  Looking at it, if they don’t take Mariotta, Petty, or Hundley, I’d rather they pass on the QB class altogether, and go for one next year when you could have: Cook, Hackenburg, Cardale Jones, Prescott, Boykin.

                  1. frank

                    Well, there really are no viable alternatives to Cutler either in the draft or in free agency. Bill Cowher said basically the same thing–the Bears can win with Cutler if they don’t expect him to throw the ball 45 times a game. Balance the offense, move the pocket, and let him do what he does best. Of course, that’s what the Bears’ offensive coordinators said they were going to do–but none of them did it.

                    I don’t know about Grayson or Mannion. I’ve heard that Grayson does everything well, but not at an elite level–given the competition level he’s faced, I don’t know if that’s good enough. I only saw Mannion play once; I believe it was the game against Oregon–and he was not impressive. The broadcasters had all kinds of good things to say about him, so my expectations were up–but he was not good, at least not that day.

                    In any case, I fully expect Cutler to be the QB this year, and maybe next. Even if they do get Hundley or Petty or Mariota, he won’t be ready for this year, and maybe for a couple of years.

                    1. mdavis

                      Oh I agree Cutler is the guy this season, and I’m fine with that. I believe they can be successful with him, but by taking more off his plate, not putting more on. I’m just thinking if they grab a QB now that isnt pressured to start for a year or 2, it could set them up for a smoother transition.

                      It seems Fowler is becoming a popular choice among some draft guys for the Bears at 7. He brings good size at 6’2.5″ and 270, his wingspan will be important, and while most say he was good against the run and pass (but not great at either), I think part of that was the fact Florida moved him all over the place. I think he and Houston at OLB could be a strong tandem, but we’ll see.

                      Another position I’d like to see them address (in addition to DL, LB, CB, S) is a slot WR. Wilson didn’t really show me much last year, and I feel like the top 3 on the depth chart are too similiar. All big/tall, lengthy types. Devin Smith would really be ideal I think. Stretches the field, a tremendous deep threat and can work out of the slot, though everything I read has him real high on draft boards (probably too high). Nelson Agholar fomr USC, Philip Dorsett from Miami, and Tyler Lockett from KSU all kind of jump out at me that could be nice mid round picks to fill that role.

                      And I’ll throw it out there again, I like Tony Lippett from MSU….but at corner. Dantonio says he feels that could be his best position, and at close to 6’3″ 195, with the ball skills of a WR, he could really develop into a nice compliment to Fuller. 4th-5th round type.

  13. mdavis

    Fox and Pace had breakfast with McCown this morning.

    1. frank

      Courtesy? McCown just isn’t the answer long term–and maybe not even short term. Great locker room guy, but they need someone who will be around for awhile. McCown is what? 36?

      1. mdavis

        Fox said they had legit interest otherwise they wouldn’t be talking to him.

        Pace said he sees McCown as both a starter or a back up.

  14. mdavis

    Fox’s presser, was pretty noncommittal to Cutler/Marshall. Confirmed a 3-4.

    1. frank

      I didn’t see the presser–they confirmed a switch to a 3-4 for next season? That’s interesting. Especially given the personnel on the roster right now. Either they think a number of guys have the ability to play in a 3-4 scheme, or we can expect a lot of personnel moves–may mean that Paea isn’t coming back.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah confirmed it. I think Paea is gone. Pace said there are 2 guys they see as NT (Ratliff and Ego would be my guess). Houston, Young, Allen are seen as OLB. But they said the players will dictate the roles and what not. I think base 3-4, but we’re still going to see a hybrid type of look.

  15. frank

    I agree about picking a QB–this year or next–no later. And I think Cutler can be successful too–exactly as you say–by taking more off his plate and relying on the entire offense. He can make a play when needed, but he can’t be expected to do it all the time.

    I’ve seen that about Fowler–I think they need a difference maker at 7, and am usually concerned when they say that a potential pick, in that spot, is good but not great at what he was asked to do. Maybe keeping him in one place will allow him to show what he can really do. But they have to hit on this pick. I like Lippett too–not sure when he’ll be available though.

    I know you’re looking at the draft–but I’d love to see them sign Randall Cobb for that slot receiver position.

    1. mdavis

      100% on Cobb. I’m just not convinced he’s going to be allowed to walk. I read he’s looking for $9m/year….wouldn’t be shocked if GB slapped him with the franchise tag. He’s a special talent.

      1. frank

        Yeah, I don’t see gb letting him go either. But it would be interesting to see what he could do alongside Marshall, Jeffery, Forte, and Bennett (provided they’re all back too).

        1. mdavis

          Oh I think Gase would love him. I’d see him in that Emmanuel Sanders type of role, outside, inside, screens, down the field, etc. That’s something they lack right now is a guy who can take the top off. Jeffrey can go deep, and is a long strider, terrific ball skills as we all know, but not that true burner. And they don’t really have a shifty quick guy you can throw an underneat route to and he shake n bakes for an extra 15.

          1. frank

            Hmmm—isn’t that what Martz wanted to do with Hester before Lovie said that Hester is a #1 receiver and will line up on the outside? I think Martz said that Hester would be “stupid good” in that role . . .

            1. mdavis

              Yeah Atlanta used him properly. He was productive from a 3/4 WR spot. 38 Rec, 504 yds, 2 TDs, 6 rushes 36 yards TD.

  16. frank

    A report says that Philadelphia will do “whatever it takes” to get Mariota. I never heard this, but it also said that Chip Kelly has likened Mariota to Peyton Manning (persoanlly, I can’t really see that). Seems to me that if the Bucs don’t draft Mariota, the Jets will, so the least Philly will have to do is trade out of their #20 spot to #6. But there’s no doubt he’d be a great fit in Philly–no worries about how he’d fit the system there.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah if Philly thinks he’s the 1 missing piece then ok. To move up that far in the draft, they’re going to have to mortgage a good chunk of their future. I like Mariotta….but I don’t love him. He certainly has a great set a tools, and if anyone can coach the most out of him, Chip Kelly would be that guy.

      1. frank

        Well, how often is a QB drafted into a situation where the team runs the exact system that he ran, with great success, in college? Kelly is running the Oregon system, and there’s probably no one better suited to it than Mariota. They’re going to have to trade up from 20 to at least 6, because after Tampa, I don’t think anyone else will take him until they reach the Jets at 6. The question is whether Tampa goes with him or with Winston–I’ve heard rumors both ways. Also heard that Cleveland might try to move up to get Mariota, and they have more picks than anyone else, including two first rounders.

        1. mdavis

          Browns definitely have the firepower of 2 #1s this year to move up. I think the Jaguars would be a team to target in terms of moving up. I think Titans stick with Mettenberger. But never know.

  17. mdavis

    QB measurements starting to come in, and I found interesting…

    Winston: 6’3 3/4″ 231: smaller than expected
    Mariotta: 6’3 3/4″ 222: bigger than expected

    Waiting to see where Petty and Hundley check in.

    1. mdavis

      Hundley had the biggest hands at 10.5″ which is good. Apparently Mariotta’s hands .5″ bigger than Winstons.

      1. mdavis

        Hundley: 10.5″
        Petty: 10″
        Mariota: 9 7/8″
        Winston: 9 3/8″
        Mannion 9″

        That’s a bit of a strike on Mannion for me.

        1. mdavis

          Hundley: 6’3″ 226
          Petty: 6’3″ 230
          Mannion: 6’6″ 229
          Grayson: 6’2″ 213 (10″ hands)

          Still keeps Hundley and Petty in my “Preferred QB options” for the Bears.

          1. frank

            Yeah–at least the physical attributes are there. Mannion’s hand size is a bit of a strike–after all, it’s harder to keep a grip. But Russell Wilson has the largest hands of any QB in the playoffs and fumbled the most, likely because he runs more. Brady, otoh, has smaller hands but hardly ever fumbles (questions about deflated footballs aside for now). So much revolves around what each QB is asked to do as well.

            1. mdavis

              Very true. I think minimum is 9.5″ throughout the league. And especially playing in a cold, bad weather city such as Chicago it’s important. Then again, I’m kind of looking through the lens of “who could be the starter in 2016-17″. And Mannion, I just don’t see it. Same with Grayson. I think they could develop into decent back up QBs, but I’m not interested in that.

              1. mdavis

                From all accounts both Petty and Hundley were very impressive in the media sessions. I really think both of these guys bring those intangibles and leadership to the table. I’m not convinced the Bears would take one, but if they did I think that would be a terrific selection.

                Another guy I’m liking more is Nelson Agholor of USC. He’s a 2nd round guy, but I really like his skill set.

              2. frank

                Yeah–even though I’d like to see Cutler here past that–because it would mean that he’s being used properly and the offense is productive–they have to look to a future that can start that early. But I think looking for that franchise QB is an exercise in frustration–so very few of them even exist–so they have to look at who will be a productive starter given the things that they want to do offensively.

                1. mdavis

                  Agreed. I look at the Broncos, Pats, etc. These guys used 2nd round picks on QBs when they have 2 of the best all time on the roster with retirement not really in sight yet. That’s how ya do it.

                  1. frank

                    I think Ted Thompson said that his plan was to draft a QB every year–then there is always someone being developed and you can trade the others away to help meet other needs.

  18. mdavis

    top rush guys measurables coming in:

    Fowler: 6’2.5″ 261
    Gregory: 6’4 3/4″ 235 (pretty light)
    Ray: 6’2 1/2″ 245
    Beasley: 6’3″ 246

  19. mdavis

    Another free agent target I’d really like to see, and not sure how I missed him initially, is safety Rahim Moore. He’s just 25, brings protoypical size at 6’1″ 200, had 4 ints last year, and was there with the Fox regime in Denver. Would be a lot more affordable than McCourty, and is a really solid player.

    1. frank

      Sounds like he might be a good target–a solid player and still young. That defense needs some young talent. I think Mundy played at an acceptable level most of the year, but the safety play (and the line play, and the LB play) has to improve. Right now, the cap isn’t much of a problem, but we don’t yet know how many of their own free agents they’ll sign and for how much. For example, Paea’s in line for a payday–but he just may not fit the plan anymore.

      Aside from any other possible free agent acquisitions, this is why I find the talk about Suh so interesting (undisciplined play notwithstanding for right now). He is a huge difference maker. And they need difference makers. They may even have the money to sign him. But they have so many holes to fill–is it better to get a big time playmaker who will solidify the line and (theoretically) make the entire defense better, or to get lesser pieces that represent smaller improvements across the board? If they sign Suh, they likely wouldn’t be able to afford McCourty or Moore or maybe anyone else. I’m not sure where I stand on this right now–I’m inclined to say get the across the board pieces, but to get better, you need talent. Bringing in a bunch of average players to replace bad ones still equals average. Upgrade big at a couple of spots or upgrade small (but still upgrade) at more spots?

  20. frank

    235? That’s light alright–that’s almost safety size these days. They said right now, they’re planning on using Allen in what looks to be much the same way that gb used Peppers last year. That wouldn’t be bad, if he can do it. I’m not sure Allen is the rush LB type. Interesting that they said they could build around Fuller and Ratliff–and those were the only names mentioned. That implies an awful lot of holes on that defense–but that’s no real surprise either.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah real light. Now he has the frame to pack on some weight, but he seems liek a boom/bust type of guy. Beasley intrigues me too. Not at 7, but if say they moved back for someone who wanted Mariotta, he could be in that 12-20 range. I think he played mostly at Clemson in the 225 range, so I’ll be interested to see what his number look like.

      Yea Allen will be interesting. How does he adjust, his $12m is guarenteed so cutting him really isnt an option.

      Yeah Fuller for sure, not Ratliff is someone you “build” around, being in his 30s already. But yeah interesting, considering Bostic and C. Jones are guys I view as having good potential. Also, Demontre Hurst signed a 2 year deal. So he’s back,m Al Louis-Jean is back, a couple young corners that got some playing time last year.

      1. frank

        I think they were speaking in terms of players already on the roster who can play in a 3-4 scheme. Ratliff, although he’s not of an age to build around (34 when the season starts?), has played in the 3-4 at a pro bowl level. He would be one of the keys to transition around. Plus, he showed last year that he can still play at a high level when healthy.

  21. mdavis

    getting some 40 times for DBs coming out.

    Jalen Collins, a 6’2″ corner from LSU that I like a lot: 4.48 and a 4.43 (1.5 10 yd). That’s impressive for a big corner. He was projected as a day 2 guy, but he just had the feel of a “combine riser”. 6’2″ 200 pounds, and now testing well, I think he can sneak into the first round. and twitter is raving about him every chance they get. damn.

    Landon Collins: 4.54, impressive for a guy who is 228 pounds.

    K. Drummond who I was interested in as a mid-round guy, 4.65/4.7. That’s no good.

    Eskridge: Safety from Syracuse, 6’3″ 210, turned in a 4.56/1.5. That’s real strong for a guy his size.

    Doran Grant: Ohio St. kid, ran in the 4.4s. he’s bulked up, but still a 5’10” guy, not sure he holds up on the outside, maybe more of a nickel guy. Bears have several options there.

    1. mdavis

      and holy smokes, Byron Jones. 6’1″ 200 pound corner out of UConn…44.5″ inch vert (unreal), and a massive record break of 12’3″ in the broad jump….that would tie an olympic record. He has a history of shoulder issues, and is coming off a labrum surgery. but wow. That size, that explosiveness, could be a real steal (if comfortable with the medicals) on day 2.

      1. frank

        Yeah, those are pretty insane numbers. A 6’1 corner with that vertical? That’s nuts. My question would be, “can he play football?” I’ve never seen him play, so I don’t know.

    2. frank

      Those times for Jalen Collins are impressive. When you add some speed to go along with that size as a corner? I think you’re right–we may be looking at late first round for him. Good times for Eskridge too–but at 6’3, might he end up playing corner, or is he strictly a safety?

      I didn’t realize Landon Collins went 228–for some reason, I thought he was a bit lighter. Good hitter?

      I heard on the radio that the consensus among Chicago media is that it’s about 50/50 as to whether the Bears keep Marshall–with a slight lean toward letting him go. They just don’t think football is his #1 priority anymore and he’s become a distraction in the locker room. Marshall hasn’t come out and said football is his main priority, and it looks like he’s angling to keep the Inside the NFL gig. No one said that his teammates don’t want him around, or anything like that, just that he is a distraction. If they do let him go, they might make a push for Randall Cobb. They may look to draft a receiver as high as 7, but that’s a big risk, even if they end up with someone like Amari Cooper.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah I think Collins (CB) is firmly in that round 1 now. Tested extremely well (the big question was his speeD). Yeah sounds like Collins can lay some thunder at that weight, and ran well for his size/positon. I think Eskridge is strictly a safety, probably in that 2-4 range.

        As for Marshall, yeah, I mean…I get it. He wants to be involved in all of these things, (and I think his mental health foundation is fantastic, and perfectly fine for him to be working with in season), but the TV gig, and this other stuff, yeah I could see where this FO is coming from. If they do release him, I think it will be very interesting to see what happens at 7, because that Best Player Avail strategy could really be put to the test. Cooper, White (had a monster combine) and D. Parker would be very appealing there. Obviously we wouldn’t know who they have higher on the board. I’m not convinced Cobb gets away from the Packers, but he should be a top offensive target if he does.

        1. frank

          That would be the test, wouldn’t it? Say they cut Marshall and Amari Cooper, who many think is a top 5 pick, is available at 7–but they have such huge needs on defense, with a scheme change to boot. I don’t know. If they cut Marshall, they undoubtedly weaken the offense on the field. So what’s the balance? Restore what they lost on offense, where they actually have some talent, or try to build the defense which has more holes than a pegboard? And suppose an offensive player tops their board is available at 7 — say he’s ranked as one of the top 5 in the draft — but the next player on their board, a defensive player, is also available, and he’s ranked, say, 7-10. But, as you say, we’ll never know exactly what’s on their board.

          1. mdavis

            Yeah it would be very interesting. And considering the little story Pace told at his presser, I’d have to think he goes WR (if thats the best player), as opposed to pushing up a “need” guy. Would be very interesting, because those top 3 WRs are freaks.

            Cooper: 6’0 7/8″ 211, 4.43, 33″ vert
            White: 6’2 5/8″ 215, 4.35, 36.5″
            Parker: 6’2 5/8″ 209, 4.45, 36.5″

            I think for me, Parker maybe is more in the 10-15 range, but if White or Cooper are there, and they released Marshall….very tempting.

            1. frank

              Yeah, it would be. But I couldn’t imagine though, that at #7, there wouldn’t be at least a couple of guys that they rate pretty equally on both offense and defense.

              1. mdavis

                Agreed. Taking a look at some updated post-combine mocks. I’ve seen Gregory, Shelton, and Beasley so far going to the Bears.

                1. frank

                  A bit ago, Shelton was the hot pick–opinions starting to diverge a bit?

                  1. mdavis

                    Sounds like almost everyone has Fowler now as the top edge rusher, ahead of Ray and Gregory. Gregory is so very tempting if he’s there at 7 because of the frame. He needs to add bout 25 pounds, but its there. Could be the Aldon Smith for the Bears. Beasley also has shot up the boards. I love his work ethic. the work he put in from the end of the season, til now, is so evident. He’s an intriguing player as well.

                    1. frank

                      Sounds to me like they think Fowler is more versatile, and can be more productive almost anywhere they want to put him–and that’d be intriguing to anyone, but I think especially to this staff, seeing as that they’re in the midst of a scheme change. But I think any of those top guys could be a fit. The one thing that is certain is that they need this pick to come in and contribute immediately.

  22. mdavis

    Agreed. Though in most mock drafts, they have Fowler going in the top 5 now. 1 thing I think is almost certain, is 1 of Fowler, Ray, Gregory, Shelton, Beasley will be on the board, if not at least 2. So they will have options for who they want to go with….assuming thats the direction they want to go of course, which, who knows.

    1. frank

      That is the question. I agree at least one of those guys will be available at 7, and I’d think most likely 2. Heard that the packers cut AJ Hawk loose. I’m sure the Bears will at least kick the tires–might be a nice addition to the linebacking corps.

      1. mdavis

        Hawk is an intriguing guy, though his production dipped last year. I wouldn’t be opposed to a 1 year incentive deal for him. I guess I’m real curious where they think Christian Jones fits. Is he an ILB with Bostic? Is he on the outside? Is he a rush guy? I keep going back to Jamie Collins of the Pats as a possible comparable. They are both similiar in build (6’3″ 240-250) and I believe could maybe do some of the same. Collins, kin of moved around, sometimes he rushed off the edge, others he was in the middle, etc. As long as Jones can handle the mental aspect, I really think he could be a weapon in terms of his abilitiy to move around.

        Still, rumors they are interested in David Harris from the Jets leads me to think they would like a veteran to line up inside with Bostic.

        1. frank

          I was a fan of signing Jones from the start, and would also like to see what they do with him in this scheme. They’re going to need to carry at least 3 or 4 more linebackers (or linebacker types) than they have in the past, so I’m not opposed to looking at Hawk either–if he can still play, he’d be a good pickup as they transition to the new scheme. Of course, they may make Washington a LB, they may make Houston a LB, and they may make Allen a LB (or a situational 4-3 end–but they’d be paying an awful lot of money for that). I think I’m a bit concerned about Bostic and the mental aspect–he seemed to have a number of problems understanding just what was going on, and with a scheme switch, I’m concerned as to how he might handle that.

          1. mdavis

            Yeah they will certainly have some moving parts. Free agency will give us a glimpse, I would imagine, as well as the draft. Haven’t really heard them connected to anyone as of yet, other than Harris. But it sounds like Harris wants to go to a contender….Bears might be a tough sell to a team. Not saying they can’t surprise, because, I absolutely believe they can. Middle of the pack D and get the offense playing top 10 (capable with the weapons, and Gase), they could be one of those surprise teams. But not sure you can really sell that to a free agent.

  23. frank

    Just read that Randall Cobb is looking for $9 M per year–comparable to Jordy Nelson’s deal. That seems high to me–though one writer said they might franchise tag him–and that would be over $12 M. And gb has over $20 M in cap space–I think it’s about $23 M right now.

    1. mdavis

      He’s an elite talent, I’d pay it.

      Add Gruden to the list of guys who think Bears should move on from Cutler. Mentioned McCown (who sounds like will be a Bill by the end of the day) and Jake Locker specifically. Now first, I’m in the “Keep Cutler” camp, and draft Hundley or Petty day 2 to start developing. But, should they decide “Hey, he’s not a fit here anymore, we need to move on” then Locker would be probably the only guy I would be interested in (assuming they don’t trade for a guy: Osweiler, Garroppolo come to mind). And at that point, I’m thinking a 2 year, incentive heavy deal, but you better have a good #2 cuz the kid can’t stay healhty. He has abiltiies, and tools, and I think Gase could maximize those. But, risky, nonetheless.

      1. frank

        Did Gruden watch McCown play last year? He was awful–with a TD to INT ratio that was as bad as any in history. I’m in the “Keep Cutler” camp as well–I think he’s probably the best and only option for next season and maybe one more after that. Locker would be a stop-gap, I think, and probably the best one out there right now. But McCown? That’s just stupid.

        According to Spotrac, Nelson is only getting $4.6 M–so I don’t know which is correct; the first thing I read, or Spotrac. Paying Cobb twice what Nelson gets might cause problems, unless Nelson’s deal is up soon. Also according to Spotrac, they have $59 M in cap space taken up between Rodgers, Matthews, Peppers, Shields, and Sitton–that’s a lot of money tied up in a few players. But their adjusted cap is $149 M — so they could do it.

        1. mdavis

          I’m guessing, but I think both could be right. For exmple, could be a 5 yr, $50m, but with, say $20m guarenteed. and $12m is paid yr 1, and the next yr is $6m, next is $2m. Or whatever. But technically is a $10m/yr. But I have no clue. I read they are re-signing Bulaga, so that’s some cap space. I’d still be shocked if Cobb got to the free agent market though.

          1. frank

            Yeah, I don’t think they’re going to let him go either.

  24. frank

    Read that observers almost universally said that Beasley improved his stock at the combine, while Perryman’s dropped. I remember both being connected to the Bears at some point. Also said that Waynes proved to be the best corner in the draft.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah Beasley was very impressive. I usually try not to be overly impressed by numbers guys put up in shorts and t-shirts, but the big thing with him was the significant gians he’s made. He played this year in the 225-230 range. Weighed in at 246, so the question was how will he carry it. And then he puts on an explosive performance, and I think increased his vertical jump something like 9″….ya gotta love that work ethic. He certainly put himself in the conversation at 7.

      I dont’ love Perryman. He’s undersized, and from what I read lacks in coverage ability. If they are intent on adding an ILB day 2 (not convinced yet), I’m really hoping McKinney is there. 6’4″ 250 4.6s in the 40. Stephone Anthony from Clemson and Taiwan Jones from Mich St are a couple of other guys I’d maybe prefer to see iover Perryman.

      Waynes I think is certainly tops, but that CB class is deeper than I thought. Waynes, Peters, Johnson Collins, and then this Byron Jones kid shows up explosive as hell. Can definitely get a quality player at the positon.

      Saw a Bears only mock last night (think it was a bleacher report guy)
      1. Fowler (don’t think he gets past 5)
      2. Perryman (see above, don’t love him)
      3. Henry Anderson from Stanford, DE (don’t know anything abot him, 6’6″ 295 at combine)
      4. Petty (obviously love this pick, not sure if he’s around in 4th though)
      6. Joey Mbu (DT from Houston)
      7. Matt Jones, RB from Florida

  25. frank

    I saw one Miami game this year and they were talking up Perryman big time. I didn’t think he was as impressive as the hype. But that was only one game. I’m more comfortable with Beasley at 246 than 230, if for no other reason than I think 230 is awfully light for a LB these days, unless he’s going to be in coverage a lot, much like a safety. But the jump in the numbers says a lot.

    My guess is that in this draft, Petty’s not there in the 4th round. I’ve heard little about Mbu and Jones, and know nothing about Anderson. I expect they’ll go heavy on defense, and probably heavy at LB, but unless they’re expecting to pick up a free agent or two, I’d like to see some help for the secondary.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah I think Beasley said he’d like to put on another 5-10. 6’3″ 250-255 I’d be very comforatble with. He carries it well.

      Yeah, I’d agree. I think Petty is a day 2 guy, along with Hundley. If Bears want one of those 2 guys, it’ll have to be in rounds 2 or 3. Anderson is a big guy, and scouts inc on ESPN has him as #96 overall. So could be a nice player in that mid round area. Jones is more of a between the tackles type, not overly explosive, but could be more of a short yardage guy. 6’2″ 235. I’m kind of indifferent, I mean, 7th round you’re just taking a lottery ticket on these guys.

      Unfortuntately, they just don’t have enough picks for everything they need. A rush backer, a DE, a LB, a CB, S, QB, OT, WR. Free agency will be important. I think they can pick up a safety in FA, Rahim Moore being my favorite target. Sounds like they are looking at some ILB in Harris, maybe Hawk pops up there. We will see what they do at CB. I believe the free agent market starts up here in a couple of weeks, so that can give us a some good direction.

      1. frank

        That’s what an extended period of bad drafts will do. And to think Angelo said his major strength was talent evaluation.

        I think so too–the roster might look significantly different after free agency, and that might have a bearing on the draft. But if they truly pick the best player available, maybe not–the best players won’t change because of free agency. We’ll see.

        1. mdavis

          Yeah absolutely. And Emery didn’t exactly knock it out of the park, though he did a pretty good job of drafting impact (Long, Jeffrey, Fuller), his other guys have fallen flat, I could see an ILB and a S, possibly a NT in FA, and that sets them up to take the top edge guy on their board, whether its Fowler, Beasley, Gregory, Ray. As much as I would like them to address corner….I get the sense they have bigger issues. Fuller will continue to lock up the #1, Jennings, Hurst, Louis-Jean are under contract. Not great depth, and maybe they get lucky and a nice option rises there, but we’ll see. FA, and SMART FA will be important. Finding some of those bargain guys.

  26. mdavis

    Shaun King’s mock has Mariotta to the Bears. One hand, I don’t love it. The other, I think Gase could really mold the kid. But I think he would drive Chicago fans nuts with his personality.

    1. mdavis

      (and by that I mean he’s very quiet, and reserved, doesn’t show a ton of fire on the field)

      Also, re-signed preaseson stud Zach Miller today. If he could stay healthy, real nice #2. but he’s never been able to.

    2. frank

      Mariota? Really? Interesting, but I don’t think so. I saw a couple of Oregon’s games, and one of the most interesting comments about Mariota that I heard came from an opposing player. He said that he’s beaten us and I want to hate him for that but I can’t. He’s just too nice a guy. Personally, I don’t think they pick a QB at 7. Too many other needs, too many good players who can fill a more immediate need, and too many questions on Mariota.

      Honestly, I don’t care about the “showing fire on the field” thing, though I know a lot of fans do. There’s vocal leadership and quiet leadership, and there’s quiet apathy and noisy buffoonery. And I hate when it comes up in discussions about coaches. Landry, Noll, Shula, Seifert, Bud Grant, etc., weren’t screamers (on the field) but they were effective and successful coaches.

      The Miller signing is a good move–but as you said, he can’t seem to stay on the field.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah I agree. I don’t think he drops that far, or if he does, the Bears should first call Cleveland (they have #12 and #19 this year), and then the Eagles. See if you can get a ransom, otherwise just let him pass by.

        I agree, too much is made of it, but we all know how the Chicago media/fan base is. First, Cutler didn’t show enough fire. Then he was a jackass for too much fire (shoving Webb, getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, etc).

        1. frank

          Yup–if he drops that far, they should bet on the phone immediately. Philadelphia did say they would do whatever it takes . . .

          Yeah–Cutler can’t win for losing with the fan base here. I listen to the Score when I’m in the car, and sometimes, I just shake my head when I hear some of the fans’ comments.

  27. frank

    So McCown signed with Cleveland, apparently to be their starter. Looks like they didn’t watch him play at all last year either. I heard that it’s a 3 year deal–but an NFL 3 years probably means one year.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah, he’s a good insurance policy for them. I’m thinking they brought him in partially for his mentorship for Manziel. He probably is the starter at the beginning of the year, and depending how things go, they will move on to Manziel…though I still don’t see him ever being a good NFL starter. The question now is, does this take them out of the running for Mariotta? There had been talks they liked him a lot. I’m not sure one way or the other.

      Taking a look at the FA QB market, Hoyer, Sanchez, Locker would be the top 3. I like Hoyer as a #2, but I think he still views himself a starter. Locker is interesting to me as well. I saw something interesting over the weekend that the Broncos were interested in drafting another QB high, or picking up Locker to stash….wonder if they have cooled on Osweiler? And if so, does Gase want him? Can’t say I’ve seen him play much, but he was a 2nd rounder, big big kid, and has some potential. Just spit ballin here.

      1. frank

        That’d be my guess too–he is that kind of player, and Lord knows Manziel needs mentoring. And I agree, I never thought Manziel would be a good NFL starter. With McCown at 36 years old, all the question marks surrounding Manziel, and the fact that they don’t seem sold on Hoyer, I’d guess they could still be in the running for Mariota, although there may not be the urgency anymore. I think it would depend on how far he falls. If it looks like he’s going with too early a pick, they pass and wait til next year, and if he falls far enough, they might make a move–whereas without McCown, they may have been inclined to trade up further.

        I don’t think I’d be interested in Hoyer or Sanchez–Locker, maybe. They could have cooled on Osweiler, or they could be moving to the “draft a quarterback every year” philosophy. Manning likely won’t be back after this year, and drafting one this year would give them Osweiler and a backup with a year in the system. Then, if they get a shot at a better QB next year, they trade one of Osweiler and whomever they draft, or let one of them walk.

  28. mdavis

    Also, looking at some of the mocks, Beasley is now the popular pick for the Bears. Bowen also reported he thought they would rank an edge rusher (Fowler, Gregory, Beasley, Ray) ahead of Shelton.

    Also, I’m curious if they go after “Pot Roast” Terrance Knighton. NT from Denver, obviously has history with Fox. Could free them up a bit, and bump Ratliff outside.

    1. frank

      Well, the nickname fits right in if they were to sign Pot Roast. And he’d fit a need. HAsn’t he had some other issues though? I can’t recall.

      Beasley’s shown he can handle the added bulk and perform well–I think I would like that pick. And I agree that they’d rank an edge rusher higher–both because of the versatility these guys are showing and because of the new scheme. Plus, Ratliff has been successful as the nose in a 3-4. He might not be the ideal body type–but he has had success there and because I think they’re looking at Ferguson in that position as well.

      1. mdavis

        As far as I can remember, Knighton is considered a great citizen, and a real quality leader in the locker room. Not sure if he’s had any off field issues, but none that I can recall.

        AGreed, I like Beasley, he’s very explosive, good length, I think I’d like him at 7 a lot. Plus it follows Fox’s trend when he gets to a new place, he brings in a pass rusher. Just more of an impact than NT, and they have Ego as a young guy they can develop into that spot.

        1. frank

          I may have been thinking of someone else. If I remember correctly, in an interview, he said he got that nickname because he fell asleep on the plane and when the attendant asked him something, the first thing he said was “pot roast” — something like that anyway . . .

          Yeah, that rush backer is probably the highest impact piece of that scheme. I’d expect them to go with a rush LB over a NT — depending on who’s on the board at that time.

  29. mdavis

    doesn’t sound like Cobb will get the franchise tag, and McCourty with the Pats may no get it either. Those would be my top 2 targets, though I like Rahim Moore at safety as well. Cobb would be a double whammy to the packers.

    1. mdavis

      and confirmed McCourty didn’t get the tag. Going to be a lot of competition for his services if the PAts don’t sign him. Top S on the market.

    2. frank

      I’d love to get Cobb away from the packers. McCourty may end up getting Jairus Byrd money, and that may be more than they’d want to pay–but I’d be satisfied with Rahim Moore.

      1. mdavis

        Agreed. Cobb would be a perfect fit, and also hurt the Pack obviously. If it came down to McCourty out of the price range, and Moore being the guy I would be pleased with that. Moore is 3 years younger anyways, and bigger.

        1. frank

          Agreed on all counts.

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