The Bears Are Stacking Positive Offseason Momentum and Other Bullets

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The Bears Are Stacking Positive Offseason Momentum and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears’ draft class of 2018 appears to be absolutely stacked:

  • Praise continues to roll in for the team’s efforts in the 2018 NFL Draft. Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus give the group an overall “good” grade for their seven-player class. PFF seemingly gave the Bears two thumbs up for their Day 3 haul of Bilal Nichols (who “graded well” in limited games and was impressive in the East-West Shrine Game) and Kylie Fitts, who put up 41 pressures in 2015 when he was healthy. Hitting in the later stages of the draft is what makes good draft classes great. And the thing is, GM Ryan Pace has had some quality late-round picks if you consider the contributions of players like Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson, and Adrian Amos. What would really round out the Bears draft would be if the team was able to hit on some of its earlier picks.
  • Reading William Moy’s observations at PFF regarding some of the Bears’ Day 3 picks makes me feel better about that part of the class as a whole and also makes some sense of what some perceived to be questionable picks. Moy projects Western Kentucky inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe to be a rotation linebacker and special teams contributor. He wasn’t much of a pass rusher in college, but the Bears don’t figure to use him in that capacity. “Iggy” appears to be a strong run defender, an area where the Bears struggled at times last year.
  • Nichols figures to be a rotational player along the defensive line, especially if he can prove to be able to fill in at multiple positions along the defensive line. The Bears needed depth at the position after watching starter Mitch Unrein leave for Tampa Bay, and to get it in the draft rather than pay for it in free agency feels like a win.
  • And then there is seventh-round receiver Javon Wims, who was the 224th player selected but PFF’s 99th overall prospect. Wims could be the steal of the draft if he continues his development path. We can’t help but love the highlight-reel grabs on jump-balls, but Wims was a force when he had the ball in his hands and was running after the catch. According to PFF, Wims forced 10 missed tackles on his 46 receptions in 2017. That’s quite impressive.
  • What a difference a year makes. It’s wild to think about where we were at this time last year trying to make sense of the 2017 draft class. What was Mitch Trubisky’s future with Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez ahead of him on the depth chart? Where was Adam Shaheen going to fit after the team invested a ton of money in Dion Sims as a free agent? When could Eddie Jackson and Tarik Cohen crack the lineup with established starters ahead of them? Here’s the thing, football has a way of answering all of our questions simply by playing out as it naturally does. Players will play their way in and out of roles in the coming months. That’s why getting it right on draft weekend is so important.
  • Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times writes the Bears’ draft represents a step in the right direction for a team that has been easy to criticize and point out how often they were out of touch with modern football and heading the wrong way. This isn’t to say all is well in the Bears’ world. The team still has holes on the roster and games are played on the field, not with projections. However, it’s impossible to deny the growth that has come with the change of direction and the execution of the offseason game plan. The fact that the Bears’ offseason is garnering as much praise as it is should make Bears fans feel better about a franchise that hasn’t produced a winning season since 2012 and hasn’t made the postseason since 2010.
  • If things are truly going the way the Bears want after this draft, it will begin with Roquan Smith living up to his potential. Take some time out of your schedule to read Brad Biggs’ profile of the All-American Georgia linebacker, who truly is a one-of-a-kind person and talent.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  • And if things are going really right for the Bears, they’ll get some surprise contributions along the way. After seeing Dubuque product (via Oswego) Michael Joseph pop up on the Bears’ list of undrafted free agent signings, I found myself going back to what Kevin Fishbain wrote about Joseph’s path to the point where he was on the NFL’s radar. Joesph wasn’t drafted, but has been a fighter at every level and showed off an ability to be a playmaker in the secondary. Every bit helps when you’re expected to face Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins twice a year.

Author: Luis Medina

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