It’s a good thing when the Bears and the players they drafted avoid being on a list of a draft’s worst picks. Sure, it’s ridiculously early to be grading drafts in this manner. But you’d rather not be on a list like this one from Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda.
- And if it’s way too early for that, it’s really way too early to be looking at 2019 NFL Draft prospects … but a pair of Northern Illinois products show up on Pro Football Focus’ early watch list and both play perceived positions of need for the Bears. But because we have plenty of time until these names become a top priority on our radar, we’ll move on to the rest of our Bullets.
- The Bears’ future need at the edge rusher position could very well be decided by how Kylie Fitts performs as a rookie. JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago outlines what the Bears should be expecting from Fitts in his rookie season. It’s that time of the year where it’s OK to dream big, so I’ll allow you envision Fitts out-performing the expectations that generally come with a Day 3 pick. Fitts was a sixth-round pick because injuries kept him off the field too often at Utah for a team to take him higher than he was drafted. That doesn’t mean Fitts doesn’t have potential and upside, especially if the Bears find a role for him early in camp.
- One rookie we’ll all have high expectations for is first-round pick Roquan Smith. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson talks to NFL insider Matt Bowen, who believes the Georgia product is an every-down player for the Bears. “I don’t think Roquan Smith ever comes off the field,” Bowen said. Smith certainly plays with the kind of speed and intensity it takes to play on every down, so I’m definitely not going to bet against a Butkus Award-winning All-American linebacker. Nope. Sure won’t.
- No pressure, kid: Dan Wiederer and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune can see why Smith will be the heart of the Bears’ defense moving forward.
- On the other side of the ball, Mark Talarico of Da Bears Brothers blog writes about Anthony Miller, the second-round receiver who projects to make Matt Nagy’s offense “dangerous” in 2018. The Bears were aggressive in acquiring Miller, sending their 2019 second-round pick to the New England Patriots to get the deal done. If Miller lives up to his potential and takes the Bears’ offense to new heights, a 2019 second-round pick will be a footnote and an afterthought in the grand scheme of things.
- Miller’s success will be tied to Mitch Trubisky’s ability to get him the ball. Trubisky’s ability to get Miller (and others) the ball will depend on how well the offensive line plays at the line of scrimmage. Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom sees the Bears’ offensive line plan as a smart one, even if the team drafted a center with the intention of moving him to guard. Getting younger and more athletic at guard while maintaining familiarity that Trubisky and Cody Whitehair have with the center-quarterback exchange makes all the sense in the world.
- Also at Da Bears Brothers blog, Chris Bocker sees Daniels as a “phenomenal fit” in Nagy’s offense … especially once new offensive line coach Harry Hiestand gets his hands on him.
- I’m not one who usually wants to fast forward through spring and summer, but a part of me is looking forward to taking in training camp and seeing how Hiestand works with his line.
- Chicago’s late-round choices have come under a fair amount of scrutiny, but there is still a feeling the Bears did well on Day 3. Add Wanda Wiedman of Our Turf Football to the group of those who see the upside in the team’s late-round picks. The Bears really did well to add depth on defense via the draft, and doing so with some players who can contribute on special teams and at positions of need. And if it turns out the Bears added second- or third-round values with picks in the fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh rounds, then this could be Ryan Pace’s best draft since joining the Bears. The players the team drafted here aren’t name-brand guys, but if they fit a role and play well then we won’t think twice about the household names they passed on Day 3.