In which the Chicago Bears’ second-round selection speaks about his “Baby Gronk” nickname:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 29, 2017
New tight end Adam Shaheen has a lot to live up to in being a second-round pick, seeing that most players picked in his range are expected to start or be significant contributors right away. Shaheen should get plenty of chances to do that in a Bears offense that is desperate for pass catching receivers. But touting the nickname “Baby Gronk” is one way to get expectations out of whack … but also allows you to dream on the idea of the Bears having an unstoppable tight end target making plays across the middle of the field. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?
Onward with Saturday’s Bullets …
- Long before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Bears were selecting Mitch Trubisky with the second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the groundwork for the trade that made it happen was put in place by Bears GM Ryan Pace and 49ers counterpart John Lynch approximately a little less than two weeks before draft day. The Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell has details how the trade came together over what Lynch told Campbell was a 1-1/2 week span. There was a bit of familiarity with Lynch and Pace, going back to Lynch’s time as a FOX broadcaster. The same can be said about Fox and Lynch, whose friendship goes back to when they competed against one another in the NFC South when Fox was coaching the Panthers while Lynch was playing safety for the Buccaneers.
- Trubisky’s time in Chicago got off to a surprisingly rough start, as he was booed during the Chicago Bulls’ playoff game at the United Center. It was a frustrating night all around as the Bulls were blown out by the Boston Celtics and sent home for the spring after taking a 2-0 series lead. It’s been a rough go for the Bears’ newest quarterbacks, as Mike Glennon heard some boos at an earlier Bulls game and at a recent Cubs game. Is this a new right of passage? I hope not.
- After insinuating that John Fox was left in the dark with regards to the process that led to the Bears landing Mitch Trubisky, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen walked back his comments in a tweet. “John Fox very involved in #Bears draft process w Mitch Trubisky,” Mortensen’s tweet said. “Decision crystallized for GM R. Pace as scenarios played out early eve.”
Mortensen’s original report went against what Pace had said the night before about he and Fox being arm-in-arm in the decision-making process. Making the timing of Mortenson’s report, which came the next day, all the more odd.
- As for the Bears’ second round prospect, ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson writes about how the team stepped outside-the-box by passing on defense to draft a Division II tight end. While drafting a defensive player in a deep draft on that side of the ball was something that was in play, Pace said doing so would have gone against his philosophy of drafting the best player on his board.
- Over at Scout.com, Zack Pearson writes about the mountain of a man who will line up at tight end and grow into a two-way player. Even though Shaheen wasn’t a well-known commodity coming out of Ashland University in Ohio, but he rated as high as the second best player at his position on some boards. Shaheen did everything you would expect a player of his frame and athletic ability would do at Division II, showing sheer dominance in the stat sheet and on tape. How that translates to the NFL remains to be seen, but a 6-6, 278 frame is a good start.
- And even though Shaheen will be making a significant jump when it comes to the talent level of his competition, GM Ryan Pace believes that won’t be an issue, dismissing the notion that Shaheen would have to wait a year to adjust. “I would disagree with that. I like his skill set.”
- Of course, not everyone is as high on the Bears’ new tight end as the team that drafted him. Luke Easterling at Draft Wire lists Shaheen as one of the biggest reaches of the draft’s second day. Despite being intrigued by Shaheen’s size and athleticism, Easterling believes the Ashland product is “another raw talent who needs a ton of development before he’s ready to be an NFL starter.” You can see where Easterling is coming from, in that Shaheen still has work to do as a blocker, as well as smoothing out other aspects of his game. Shaheen is one of two tight ends on this list, joining South Alabama’s Gerald Everett, who went one pick earlier to the Rams.
- NFL.com’s Chad Reuter provides a brief snapshot of the draft with grades through the first two days. And so far, things aren’t looking all that great for the Bears. Reuter has given the Bears a ‘C’ grade for each of the first two days, and that’s not a good thing considering the Lions, Packers, and Vikings each earned higher grades. It’s early, and the grades will ultimately be earned on the field. However, this isn’t the encouraging start fans had hoped for this offseason.
- Perhaps the Bears can turn it around by selecting some of the best remaining players on the board. The Bears still have needs at receiver, offensive tackle, defensive line, and secondary that need to be filled. At least they added some picks in this draft via their trade with the Arizona Cardinals.