Cereal crusted chicken tenders is a concept I’m vaguely familiar with, but one I’m willing to try out because I’m always looking for new ways to eat chicken. Anybody hungry?
• College football Saturdays are back in full swing today, but nothing ushers the return of collegiate pigskin like #collegekickers:
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) September 4, 2021
• I’ll say this about college football’s return: It sure will be nice to not have to watch these games hoping to unearth quarterback prospects in search of the Bears’ next savior. At minimum, that is refreshing for us (and I imagine readers and fans feel similarly). Don’t get me wrong. I’m still lining up to watch the cream of the crop sling it on Saturdays. It’s just that I won’t feel the need to hawk over them and obsessively follow their draft stock.
• And yet, I know I’ll find other things to keep tabs on this fall. For instance, PFF’s preseason top-100 draft prospects list is in my bookmarks for the long-haul. This collection of talent appears to be loaded with defensive talent. Based on the contracts coming off the books, it would be nice to replenish the “D” with players on rookie-scale deals. Additionally, I’d like to keep eyes on offensive line talent. The PFF list has which features 14 (!) offensive tackles and 4 interior offensive linemen in the top-100. That is a total of 18 offensive linemen in the top-100. The Bears should *TOTALLY* take advantage of that if they can with their second-round pick next year.
• To really drive home my point, I’d like to highlight how Dane Brugler (The Athletic) has 10 offensive linemen (including 8 tackles!) in his top-50 prospects list ahead of this college football season. The Bears need offensive line help. There is no team in football that can’t use more line help. And with Justin Fields under center, the best thing they can do for his development is make sure he has blockers who can keep him upright in front of him.
• Because it’s never too early to look at a mock draft, the folks at Tankathon have the Bears taking Ohio State cornerback Sevyn Banks with the 43rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. I’m not sure what irks me more: Banks not checking in anywhere in PFF’s preseason top-100 (or Brugler’s top-50, for that matter) or that the Bears project to have the 11th pick in the round. For what it’s worth, Ohio State has put out some awesome defensive backs in recent years. So maybe it will be worth watching Banks’ stock as the year progresses.
• Tankathon also has Purdue WR David Bell going to the Bears in Round 3. And, yeah, this will play:
DAVID BELL 89 YARDS
Purdue coming back…
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2020
• Bell is PFF’s No. 94 overall prospect and has 30 contested catches over the last two years, which makes him worthy of the watch list. Considering how Darnell Mooney is the only receiver under contract for 2022, it would be nice to address this position in the draft.
• Worth noting for future reference: Wrigley Field is on tap to host a Purdue-Northwestern game this year. That’s neat for those of you who support either of those teams.
• On Friday, we found ourselves exploring when it would make sense to start Justin Fields. Over at Bleacher Report, Alex Kay predicts when each rookie QB will make their first start. If Kay is on the nose with his pick, then keep your schedule open for Week 2.
• We would love to see it:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 4, 2021
• Roquan Smith was snubbed from top-100 lists by PFF and NFL Network, and I’m not sure which hurts more. Would you rather get the cold shoulder from the analytics gang or miss a list your own peers vote on. Remember, Smith had (1) more solo tackles than Bobby Wagner, (2) more sacks, QB Hits, and tackles-for-loss than Darius Leonard, and (3) more total tackles than Fred Warner in 2020. Put some respect on Roquan Smith’s name!
• Long hair don’t care when it makes the roster:
Bears TE Jesper Horsted said he hasn’t gotten his haircut since before last year‘s training camp. Says he wasn’t going to cut it until he made the team. Says he’ll get a trim this week.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) September 3, 2021
• I guess this will hold us over for the next 8 days:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 3, 2021
• While we’re counting down the days until the Bears kick off, our friends at BN Bulls have their eyes on calendars, too:
48 days until the Bulls play their home opener in front of a packed United Center again. Can’t come soon enough.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 4, 2021
• It will be nice to see NHL players representing at the Olympics in 2022:
Version 2.0: Which Blackhawks Could Represent Their Countries at the 2022 Winter Olympics?https://t.co/nlrbtJpHoe
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 3, 2021
• I’ve always said I’ll start believing something is real in baseball after 100 ABs. Over at Bleacher Nation Cubs, Brett gave Frank Schwindel 100+ PAs to show something — and what the Cubs first baseman has put out there is quite impressive. There was an era of baseball in the 2000s where you could throw out someone at first who could hit enough to be slightly above league average, while catching enough balls to not be a black hole at first. Maybe that era will come back and allow Schwindel to hang around (especially if he can keep hitting like this).