Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Roquan Smith said most of the items stolen from his car during a weekend break-in were recovered and that a suspect has been identified. Hooray!
Smith shared his thanks via Twitter to the Athens-Clarke County police department and everyone who helped spread the news over social media that helped in the process:
— Quan (@RoquanSmith1) May 9, 2018
Unfortunately, the Chicago Tribune reports that the team-issued iPad that contained the Bears’ playbook has yet to be recovered. At least the Bears were technologically savvy enough to delete the valued information remotely. Here’s hoping the team did it in a timely manner.
- After the 2017 NFL Draft, there weren’t too many great expectations thrown at the feet of first-round pick Mitch Trubisky. After all, Mike Glennon was entrenched as the starter and Mark Sanchez was listed as the early favorite to enter the season with QB2 responsibilities. That’s not going to be the case for Roquan Smith, who showed up on Chris Trapasso’s list of rookies expected to make an instant impact for their respective teams. Smith was a top-5 prospect on Trapasso’s big board, and the CBS Sports analyst has the Georgia product down for 125 tackles as a rookie. To get a top-5 prospect who can make that kind of impact upon arrival shows the kind of value the Bears received by getting him with the No. 8 pick. Shoutout to those teams who were so quarterback thirsty that were drafting ahead of the Bears!
- I found it interesting that a handful of our favorite receiver prospects who were drafted by other teams landed on this list. Michael Gallup (Cowboys), D.J. Chark (Jaguars), Tre’Quan Smith (Saints), and James Washington (Steelers) pop up as potential instant impact players for their respective teams and there was a case for each of these players to be on the Bears’ radar. Chicago could have drafted any of these players when they moved up to pick No. 51 and drafted Anthony Miller. It makes you wonder if Miller would have made the list had the Bears not drafted Smith or if he was selected by any of these teams who ended up with a different wideout. My gut feeling says “yes” and “yes.”
- Over at NBC Sports Chicago, JJ Stankevitz offers up one reason why Miller could provide an instant spark to the offense. Miller’s polished route-running skills are a plus, and Stankevitz introduces the idea of receivers “setting the angle” with sharp route cuts that allow quarterbacks to throw the pass a hair quicker. This puts defensive backs at a disadvantage and receivers in a spot to make catches and move the chains. Route-running was not a strength of the Bears’ wide receivers corps as a whole, and the team’s best route-runner from last season (Kendall Wright) is with the Vikings now. Wright and Trubisky built a connection last year, in part because of his route-running ability. It will soon be up to Miller to do his part in creating a bond with his quarterback. Surely, his ability to set the angle will help.
- Yesterday, we discussed how Kylie Fitts was the kind of player who could help restore the reputation of the Bears’ defense as the Monsters of the Midway. Fitts has the necessary measurables, a relentless motor, and all the motivation in the world after being a sixth-round pick despite having the talent of a second- or third-round player. Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune spoke with Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham, who discussed Fitts’ upside at the next level, the challenges that lie ahead, and the elephant in the room – his durability issues.
- We also spent some time discussing how one set of football analysts believe the Bears have some kinks to work out in the secondary. Add Will Brinson of CBS Sports to the list of insiders who aren’t completely sold on the Bears’ defensive backfield. In fact, Brinson calls the Bears’ secondary its fatal flaw. Scary stuff. While Brinson says “that’s a fine group if they’re playing to their potential” he also notes that things could go south quickly if Fuller or Amukamara goes down with an injury. Well, duh. I can’t think of too many teams that could lose their top coverage corners and not have their defensive backs be viewed as a weakness.
- To be fair, the Ryan Pace regime hasn’t prioritized the cornerback position in the draft and instead has decided to piece together a group mostly through free agency and UDFA additions. In fact, the only cornerback drafted by Pace (Deiondre’ Hall in 2016) has already been converted to safety. Chicago had ample opportunity to draft a cornerback a few weeks ago, but prioritized needs along the offensive line (James Daniels) and at wide receiver (Anthony Miller) before making it a priority when signing undrafted free agents.
- For my money, the outside linebacker/edge defender situation is one that still sticks out the most. If the quarterback position is the most important on offense, the players responsible for pressuring him are the most important on the other side of the ball. The Bears don’t have a kick-butt pass-rusher right now, and it’s not like that player was available to them in the draft or free agency. So instead, it looks like the defense will try to bank on a rotation of players who will throw different looks at offenses in order to bring the heat. This is where a player like Fitts can be a solution, especially if he can stay healthy. Of course, health has been an issue for Bears players the last few seasons … but the hope is a new training staff and some upgraded amenities at Halas Hall will be helpful.