A Peanut Punch Birthday Party, Digging into the Draft Talk, Hometown Free Agent Fits, and Other Bears Bullets

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A Peanut Punch Birthday Party, Digging into the Draft Talk, Hometown Free Agent Fits, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Kanye West turning album releases into a mesh of absurdist art, fashion shows, and a listening party is an intriguing development. He still doesn’t seem quite right, and I hope he gets the help he needs for his sake (and for his family/friends). We’ve seen way too many stars flame out in a big way because people were too late to lend a helping hand to someone who was clearly in need.

•   A new general manager and head coach has Bears fans wishful for a brighter future. And one of the first steps in building a better tomorrow is by hitting bullseyes in free agency. Not every add will be a game-changer, but Chicago’s football team could put some pieces in place to help dig out of the mess left behind by the prior regime. With that in mind, I found this read from The Athletic’s Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain to be fascinating:

•   So many needs. Receiver, offensive tackle, interior offensive linemen, and tight end stand out. So many names.

•   The number of plausible targets the Bears could reach out to has varying levels of intrigue. The free agent receivers from the 2018 draft class (D.J. Clark, Christian Kirk, and Michael Gallup) should pique everyone’s interests. Whether you’d like to pair Cole Kmet with a veteran (Zach Ertz), younger player (Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki), or reclamation project flier (Evan Engram) at tight end, there are options worth digging into for possible Bears fits. My favorite potential fit might be a move for guard Laken Tomlinson, a Chicago guy who went to Lane Tech High School (full disclosure: I, too, graduated from Lane Tech). Tomlinson was a starting guard on that 49ers team that ousted the Packers from the playoffs. So there is a certain number of Bears fans who already spent time this year rooting for Tomlinson.

•   And, hey, bringing Chicago products home seems to be working for the Bulls. Just sayin’…

•   You’ll want to take some time to listen to this at some point soon:

•   It feels good to get the draft-centric conversation rolling this time of year. Obviously, our short-term focus will be on free agency with the new league year beginning three weeks from today. But there is never a bad time to chop it up and talk shop about the draft. The three of us discuss draft crushes, possible Bears options, the pre-draft process, and more.

•   Brent Sobleski (Bleacher Report) underscores one mistake each of the NFL’s 32 teams must sidestep on NFL Draft weekend. And for him, it is ignoring the defense to build around Justin Fields. That is a sensible angle. Sure, the Bears *SHOULD* be building their offense around Fields. Duh! But Chicago shouldn’t ignore the other side of the ball to do so. This front office should be trying to build a well-rounded team. Doing anything else would be dangerous and could set the Bears up for a painful fall.

•   Mason Crosby is probably quaking in his cleats. The Packers announced the signing of kicker Dominik Eberle, who was a practice squad participant with the Panthers and Texans last year. Crosby, who was part of a woeful Green Bay special teams unit last season, was true on just 73.5 percent of his field goal attempts last season. Or to put it differently, Crosby’s success rate on field goals last year was worse than Connor Barth’s during his two seasons in Chicago. Yikes.

•   Barth was good on just 74.4 percent of his kicks over 26 games in 2016-17. The guy he replaced (ever heard of Robbie Gould?) made 96.1 percent of his kicks in the same 26 game span over the 2016-17 seasons, and has hit on 88.9 percent of his attempts in 83 games since leaving the Bears in 2016. And, most importantly, he delivered the strike that blew up the Death Star eliminated the Packers from this past postseason. In any case, the Gould cut remains a big ole whoopsiedoodle on Ryan Pace’s record.

•   The NFL celebrated Khalil Mack’s birthday yesterday by sharing his workout highlights from the NFL Scouting Combine. Even then, Mack had the look of someone special:

•   An official transaction in the books: The Bears have brought linebacker Noah Dawkins onto the roster. Dawkins, 24, has played just 18 defensive snaps in three years as a pro. And that’s over 17 games with the Buccaneers (2019) and Jets (202-21). It isn’t much of a sample to dig through. However, Dawkins has been on at least 58 percent of special teams snaps in two of the last three seasons. This is a good time to build out depth by taking fliers on guys here and there. The roster churn that comes between the end of the Super Bowl and the start of training camp makes for a fascinating watch. I fully expect plenty of turnover from this group in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

•   One of the best cornerbacks to ever do it is celebrating a birthday today:

•   Today feels like a good day to casually mention that — because of his game-changing contributions with his invention (and perfection) of the #PeanutPunch, Charles “Peanut” Tillman should get Hall of Fame consideration. Just saying. That guy was the truth!

•   Luka Dončić has some questions:

•   And, Luka, he hasn’t. So keep that in mind when you hit free agency and are thirsting to join a contender.

•   There is a fine like the Blackhawks will be walking as they approach this trade deadline:

•   “Luxury Tax” isn’t just a slept on cut from Rick Ross’ “Trilla” album. It’s also a point of contention when it comes to MLB’s work stoppage.

•   For your listening pleasure:

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Author: Luis Medina

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