Celebrating the Bears Careers of Matt Forte and Devin Hester and Other Bullets

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Celebrating the Bears Careers of Matt Forte and Devin Hester and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Two of my favorite Bears players will retire as members of the team that drafted them, which is a pretty neat way for us to start our week. Let’s enjoy some highlights:

  • Over at the Chicago Bears’ official website, Larry Mayer has a by-the-numbers look at Forte’s career in Chicago and helps capture his excellence. The 8,602 rushing yards (second on the franchise’s all-time list behind Walter Payton) and the 12,718 scrimmage yards (the most of any play from 2008-2015) stand out the most. The 102-catch season in 2014 paints a picture of the two things Forte represented the most in Chicago – reliability and production.
  • Mayer does the same with Hester, which we could probably use as a starting point for an argument for the return ace’s Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy. Hester has a compelling (and frankly, rather unique) case considering the stats (20 total returns), his game-changing ability, and the fact that the NFL changed rules that totally tried to stifle his game. Hester retired ranking first in punt return touchdowns, non-offensive touchdowns, and in the top-10 in punt return yards, yards per punt return, kick return touchdowns, and total return yards. Best ever to do it at his position. Period. He should be in.
  • Celebrating the careers of Hester and Forte kicks off what should be a pretty busy week for the Bears that culminates with the NFL Draft, where the team will hopefully find players whose careers will be celebrating 10+ years from now.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
  • The Associated Press’ draft capsule lists the Bears’ needs as OL, WR, DL, LB, DB. No argument here, as each of those positions could use an upgrade in a starting role and as far as depth is concerned. It’s nice to see QB on the list of positions the Bears don’t need, that’s for sure.
  • JJ Stankevitz runs down the Bears’ entire list needs from No. 13 all the way down to No. 1. While it’s great that starting quarterback isn’t a concern, it’s also quite comforting to see placekicker rank as the lowest spot on the list of current needs. The team made a pretty significant financial commitment to Cody Parkey, who has been pretty good for several teams. Hopefully, that consistency remains now that he has a stable home in Chicago.
  • John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago sorts through GM Ryan Pace’s history and that of the teams that employed new head coach Matt Nagy in an attempt to uncover which direction the Bears will go in the draft. The feel, from Mullin, is that defense could be the priority. Sure, both Pace and Nagy come from backgrounds that stressed the importance of offense and developing quarterbacks. However, both come from teams that also prioritized the value of pressuring the quarterback. It’s all sensible if you think about it, but finding the type of elite defender who can stifle a quarterback isn’t as easy as you would expect – even though the Bears have a top-10 pick and could benefit from an early run on quarterbacks.
  • Mullin unearths an eyebrow-raising quote from Pace ahead of his first draft working with Nagy: “I think when mistakes are made in organizations, it’s when the personnel department and the coaches are not on the same page. That continuity is important; that chemistry is important. I think it’s already naturally existing with us in the concept dialogue that we have, and I think you eliminate mistakes when you do that. If you share a vision for a player, then it helps eliminate some of those mistakes.”
  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times believes the Bears should continue their offseason of building around quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the draft, particularly in the first round. Specifically, Morrissey believes the Bears should target a first-round wide receiver. Just the thought of using a(nother) top-10 pick on a wideout is going to bug some fans, especially considering the needs at other positions.
  • Speaking of which, Bob LeGere of Pro Football Weekly (correctly) points out that pass rusher is the Bears’ biggest need … and it’s not even close. The team has minimal depth behind Leonard Floyd, as Sam Acho, Isaiah Irving, and Aaron Lynch round out the position group as of this posting. Finding a top-flight pass-rusher who can play right away is easier said than done. North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb fits the bill, but he will likely be off the board when the Bears pick.
  • UTSA’s Marcus Davenport is a remarkable athlete with untapped potential and Boston College’s Harold Landry would have been regarded as the draft class’ best pass-rusher had he been able to repeat what he did in 2016. Both are first-round caliber talents, but neither seem projected to go in the top-10. Maybe the Bears’ need pushes them into consideration. Perhaps the Bears move back with the idea of taking one of them. It’s possible the edge-rusher the Bears draft is someone we’re not even talking about. The draft is always full of surprises.
  • I suppose the Bears aren’t considering re-signing Lamarr Houston to add to the depth at the position. Kevin Patra reports the Jets are working out Houston as part of a gang of defensive linemen who could fill some roster gaps ahead of the draft. The Jets have also brought in defensive tackle Jaye Howard, who spent time with the Bears last summer.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.