We are still living through a pandemic. Which means there are still hurdles to clear before this becomes officially official, but the plans for a baseball season are locked into place. THERE WILL BE BASEBALL. And while I am obviously happy as a baseball fan, I’ve been thinking about my friends who work in and around ballparks, have side-hustles that are aided by baseball, and others whose lives are impacted by the game. Here’s hoping this abbreviated baseball season is played safely and responsibly. Hopefully, that isn’t too much of an ask.
• A recent top-10 list of active NFL safeties did not include Eddie Jackson. So rather than amplify that tweet (again), I feel as if this should serve as a reminder of how good Jackson is:
• Three years into his pro career and Jackson has 15 total turnovers (10 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries), five defensive touchdowns, two Pro Bowl appearances, and a first-team All-Pro nod under his belt. Maybe Jackson was snubbed because he expanded his work load in 2019 to include slot cornerback duties and time at both safety spots. But shouldn’t that help him climb up the list? I can understand if someone doesn’t agree with my assessment that Jackson is the best safety in football. To each their own, I suppose. But for him not to be among the top-10? C’mon man.
• It’s almost as if Eddie Jackson is good at football:
Highest 3-year PFF grades on defense from the 2017 NFL Draft
1. Marcus Williams – 90.7
2. Desmond King II – 90.5
3. Eddie Jackson – 90.1
4. Jamal Adams – 90.0 pic.twitter.com/3E4HyqDygY
— PFF (@PFF) June 24, 2020
• On the flip side, this is a pleasant surprise:
Top 10 Linebackers in the NFL
(According to @seanjwagner)
1. Bobby Wagner
2. Eric Kendricks
3. Darius Leonard
4. Demario Davis
5. C.J. Mosley
6. Lavonte David
7. Leighton Vander Esch
8. Roquan Smith
9. Fred Warner
10. Tremaine Edmunds
▶︎ Does not include edge rushers pic.twitter.com/9y8qCTK2lM
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 22, 2020
• Not only does Roquan Smith find himself in good company as he cracks this list of top-10 linebackers going into the 2020 season, this collection of talent is loaded with young players. Think about it. The NFL Draft class of 2018 produced Smith (8th overall), Tremaine Edmunds (16th), Leighton Vander Esch (19th), Darius Leonard (36th), and Fred Warner (70th). That’s half the dudes in this top-10.
• Over at the Chicago Audible, Matthew Peterson points out four Bears players who have the most to prove as they enter the final year of their respective contracts. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and wide receiver Allen Robinson are obviously at the top of the list. However, Peterson brings Tarik Cohen into the conversation. Cohen vows to change his ways in 2020 after a less-than-stellar 2019 that saw his numbers dip below what we saw from him as a rookie in 2017. This figures to be an important season for Cordarrelle Patterson, the special teams ace whose athletic ability needs to be showcased on offense more often, in my opinion.
• The navy blue and orange color scheme will make anyone look good. But this just looks right:
Justin Fields will be a Chicago Bear. pic.twitter.com/2GtoLzkK4m
— Ｊａｄｅｎ (@PlayoffRobinson) June 23, 2020
• I maintain the Bears won’t be bad enough to be in a position to tank for Ohio State stud Justin Fields unless all of the worst-case scenarios (poor play, injuries, Matt Nagy unexpectedly turning into Abe Gibron overnight) play out.
• It’s still too early to go down that road. But I can’t help but look at this roster construction and see a team that is best positioned to move forward with a quarterback on a rookie contract.
• But it’s not too early to point out that pundits are already mocking quarterbacks to the Bears in the 2021 NFL Draft.
• Even then I’m not sure the Bears need to bottom out in order to get a top tier quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s not like the Chiefs or Texans did so to secure their signal callers in the 2017 draft. The Ravens didn’t have to do so in 2018 either, and they landed an MVP candidate with the 32nd pick in that class. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision Bears GM Ryan Pace mortgaging future draft capital to select someone like Fields or North Dakota’s Trey Lance. Perhaps Jamie Newman (Georgia) or Brock Purdy (Iowa State) does enough this college football season (if there is one) to create a mega-class of QB prospects. But for now, it’s Fields, Lance, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence at the top of the wish list for anyone in search of a long-term QB option.
• Nightmare fuel:
The Bears offense topped 20 points only four times in 16 games last season.
The Bears offense failed to score multiple TDs in eight of 16 games.
The Bears offense is going to have limited time for on-field clean-up when practices are finally allowed again.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 23, 2020
• Remember when Brian Griese was a Bears QB?
Devin Hester is fast! pic.twitter.com/zNx9wkBNpv
— This Day in Chicago Sports (@ChiSportsDay) June 23, 2020
— Chicago Bears (@BearsOutreach) June 24, 2020
• Shoes, athletic gear, and blenders are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad