Let’s spend some time checking out highlights from the Bears’ top rookies and dream about the brighter days ahead with Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen, and Eddie Jackson leading the way:
- When football starts up again this spring, we will be four years removed from Bears GM Ryan Pace using his first ever draft pick on West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White. It can be difficult to find someone who still has faith that a healthy White can turn his career around in Chicago, but the Bears’ receiver doesn’t have to look far for support. Kevin White’s younger brother Kyzir White is at the Senior Bowl working out and hoping to boost his stock as a safety. JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago writes White’s younger brother believes the minor setbacks are setting up for a major comeback. Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the once-prized receiver prospect, who has played on less than 10 percent of the team’s offensive snaps since the start of the 2015 season. But as we learned with Kyle Fuller in 2017, giving up on a player simply because of injuries can be short sighted.
- With Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton being underclassmen, and thus ineligible for the Senior Bowl, we’re going to use this week to get acquainted with some other receivers who could spring up as a Bears target when the draft rolls around. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic highlights a handful of Senior Bowl wideouts who stood out for one reason or another. My favorites from the list are the Go-Up-And-Get-It (Or GUAGI, as WSCR-AM’s Matt Spiegel has succinctly put it) guys who have big frames and big play-making abilities. The Bears have drafted just two wide receivers in GM Ryan Pace’s three years, so the team is due to pluck one and there is no better time than this upcoming draft.
- At least the Bears aren’t looking for a quarterback in this draft:
Josh Allen overthrow. Drink. #SeniorBowl
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) January 24, 2018
- To be fair, Josh Allen looks and sounds the part. He has ideal size, a rocket for an arm, and two years of starting experience in a pro-style offense at the college level. Everything looks great … and then Allen throws the ball. Yahoo!’s Pat Forde writes about Allen’s inaccuracy, which is one of those things that might be a wee-bit important for a quarterback. And while Trubisky has his own accuracy issues (we’ll get to those momentarily), at least he has a college sample where he proved to be an accurate passer. Allen has a 55.9 percent completion rate in his two years as Wyoming’s starter. Yikes.
- Johnathan Wood’s breakdown of Mitch Trubisky’s rookie year interceptions opens the window into a deeper look at the up-and-coming Bears quarterback’s 2.1 percent interception rate. Wood breaks the picks down into four categories (bad decision, bad throw, miscommunication, receiver error) and assesses the situation in which each pick is thrown. One of the big takeaways here is that accuracy was an issue for Trubisky despite having an interception rate that ranked as the 12th lowest among qualifying quarterbacks. You could chalk up as many as five of the interceptions to poor throws, which is a bit disheartening, but also understandable considering Trubisky’s status as a rookie. Some of these misfires were due to poor mechanics, something the coaching tandem of Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich can work out with their new signal caller.
- Helfrich will have his work cut out working with Trubisky, but as CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma points out, the Bears’ new OC seems to think quite highly of his new pupil. Helfrich sees Trubisky as coachable and believes the two can work together … he can literally see it in his eyes as he goes through his progressions. Nagy might have chosen Helfrich to add the variety of options that spread looks could bring to a West Coast offense, but his experience in grooming young quarterbacks and eagerness to work with Trubisky stand out as positives, too.
- It’s easy to get lost in the Nagy-Trubisky-Helfrich triangle and forget the Bears also have a new coach leading the offensive line, a position where improvement could greatly benefit Trubisky in Year 2. But if the Bears ultimately pass on a first-round talent on the offensive line with the eighth pick, the team might have to dive into the deep end of the talent pool to unearth a diamond-in-the-rough type talent who can contribute sooner, rather than later. Bryan Perez of BearsWire believes Humboldt State’s Alex Cappa could be the Bears’ next small-school project pick. Cappa is a 6-7, 305-pound tackle who gets a chance to go up against the big boys during Senior Bowl week. Cappa is the only player to be named the GNAC’s Offensive Lineman of the Year four times. If he can hold his own against the top competition, he could be the first Humboldt State product to be picked since the NFL Draft went to seven rounds.
- And here is some accompanying video with analysis from NFL Network guru Mike Mayock:
“This guy has the nastiest tape I’ve ever seen.”@MikeMayock talks Humboldt State tackle @AlexCappa 👀
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 23, 2018
- I often find myself intrigued by the paths players take to the professional ranks, so this piece from The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain highlighting Michael Joseph’s journey to the Senior Bowl obviously caught my eye. Joseph was a sparsely used player at Oswego High School in suburban Chicago, played Division III ball in Dubuque, Iowa, and is on the cusp of making it to the NFL as a defensive back. It’s a story of drive and perseverance and I can’t wait to follow it on draft weekend.