Giving Pace and Poles Credit, Way Too Early Power Rankings, Is Dalvin Cooked? And Other Bears Bullets
Today is a tip-top day for television watching. Netflix’s Love Is Blind Season 4 live finale goes on at 7 p.m. CT, while HBO’s Succession has a big episode of its own tonight. There are NBA playoffs and MLB games, too. But the night caps have my attention.
- I thought The Athletic putting Bears left tackle Braxton Jones in the first round of its 2022 re-draft was one of the best compliments it could pay a player. And it also says something about the Bears’ scouting staff and coaches to ultimately get Jones to the point where he is after one year as a pro. But as someone who pounds the table for equality, I guess I have to do the same for Ryan Pace and his staff. Because while browsing through another one of The Athletic’s re-drafts, two Bears second-round draft picks in 2020 (and three members of that class in total) land as first-rounders in the re-do. It’s a fun little journey to go down on a Sunday morning. Join me.
- Cornerback Jaylon Johnson and tight end Cole Kmet — Chicago’s second-rounders in 2020 — go in the first round of the “if we had to do it again…” draft. Johnson and Kmet have been solid contributors. So much so that both arguably deserve second contracts with the Bears. Also, receiver Darnell Mooney goes in Round 1 in this re-draft. Mooney was a fifth-round pick. A reminder that it’s not about where you’re drafted, but what you do with the opportunity.
- But also, kudos to Pace and his staff for putting together a class with multiple starters. Had he done that with more consistency, he might still be the Bears’ GM. Not that I’m complaining about the two sides parting ways. However, it goes to show the importance of nailing the draft with some semblance of consistency.
- Looking into the future, Pro Football Focus put together a way-too-early (for my liking, at least) set of power rankings. To my surprise, the Bears don’t rank dead last. Chicago’s football team still has a climb ahead, but the spin here upon seeing the 26th ranking is that the arrow is pointing up. At least, when compared to where we were when the season came to an end in January.
- As PFF’s Amelia Probst points out, GM Ryan Poles has made significant upgrades to four positions in the front seven. And in various ways, too. It is easy to dap up Poles for handing out big paper to bolster the linebackers. Signing high-profile players at the position Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards signified the building portion of the rebuild was underway. But don’t sleep on the under-the-radar defensive line additions of DeMarcus Walker and Andrew Billings. Just because a player’s contract doesn’t look like it could be a bank-breaker it doesn’t mean that the player isn’t a serious upgrade. There is still work to be done, but this off-season has been more about building and less about tearing down.
- Fun little factoid: Running back David Montgomery is listed as the Bears’ biggest offseason loss. And yet, the team filled his spot with a running back who ran for more years and had a higher per-carry average than Montgomery. In other words, the Bears’ biggest loss is a bit of a wash. Then again, I’m not ready to put that in ink because there are intangibles and things that aren’t in box scores that Montgomery brought to the table that we’re not sure who (if anyone) will be able to pick up in his absence. But we can cross those bridges when we get to them (eventually).
- Fun little factoid II: The Bears added the players listed as the “biggest loss” of the Eagles (LB T.J. Edwards) and Bills (LB Tremaine Edmunds). Bringing in big pieces from 2022 playoff teams feels like an offseason win in my book. I just don’t know how Sam Darnold is the Panthers’ biggest loss. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- I love how much fun DJ Moore is having watching Chicago baseball this week:
- Cubs fans and Sox fans don’t agree on much. But I think we can all sign off on the Cherry Red Jordan 11s Moore is wearing at Wrigley are #fireemoji.
- Circling back to running backs we’re familiar with in the NFC North, there’s been some buzz about Dalvin Cook and the Vikings parting ways at some point this offseason. And more of that buzz popped up on Saturday:
- There was a time I would’ve made a pitch for the Bears to inquire on Cook if he were to make it into free agency. On paper, a four-time Pro Bowl back who has run for at least 1,100 yards in each of the last four seasons would be a nifty player to add to this offense. But we’ve seen Cook’s yards per carry (and yards per touch) tick down in each of the last two years. And with the Bears already rocking with D’Onta Foreman and Khalil Herbert, I’m not sure where the fit is for another veteran back.
- This isn’t to say I wouldn’t be open to adding a running back via the draft. I’m always down to add another playmaker on offense. But threading the needle to add a soon-to-be free-agent running back when there are glaring needs at more important positions on the gridiron is a challenge I’m not up to conquer at this time. Bring one on via the draft? Sure. Sign me up.
- Patrick chimes in on Budda Baker’s trade request in this round of NFL Bullets.
- Cody Bellinger robbing Jason Hayward of a homer was a highlight of last night’s Cubs game and I hope there are more to come:
- The Bulls have a mountain to climb this offseason. However, blowing it up (while a popular idea) isn’t in the cards:
- It’ll be a busy offseason for the Blackhawks, too. And all eyes will be on how the draft shakes out:
Bears President Kevin Warren Met with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to Discuss Their “Commitment to the City”