NFL Draft Fallout, Grading the Picks, Poles Picks a Lane, and Other Bears Bullets
The NFL Draft kept me from watching the Cubs this weekend, so I’m thankful for that as I wake up on Sunday morning not nearly as mad about sports as Brett. This EBS really captures the spirit of the thing.
- Before I try to provide a ridiculously simple explanation of what the Chicago Bears did on NFL Draft Weekend 2023, here’s what the class looks like:
- I think they picked some winners. But that’s just me. I’m the optimist of the bunch.
- They drafted a plug-and-play right tackle (Darnell Wright) whose expectations are being a quality rookie starter (or, at a minimum, a true upgrade from what the team was throwing out there last season). No complaints here. Chicago addressed a serious position of need with a quality prospect *AND* got a 2024 fourth-round pick for funsies from the Eagles to draft a player with the 10th pick who they were going to take with the ninth selection. Perhaps Jalen Carter turns into a star. In that case, we’ll probably do some groveling about the decision at some point. Or maybe he won’t. The draft is a crapshoot. People forget that from time to time.
- So instead of rolling the dice on Carter to fill their DT needs, the Bears are taking a chance on developing Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens into monsters in the middle of the defense. And if we want to stretch it, we can add seventh-round DT Travis Bell to this conversation. Essentially, the Bears chose the draft the perceived sure thing for offense while taking players who will be seen as projects on defense. Tell me your GM trusts your defensive coaches and their development plans for young players without saying those words.
- The Tyler Scott pick was an inspired one:
- Daniel Jeremiah on the Bears’ rookie receiver: “Tyler Scott reminded me a little bit of Darnell Mooney.” Now, he and Mooney get to be teammates. That is fun!
- At first blush, the group of DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Velus Jones Jr., and Scott represents the most interesting collection of receiver talent the Bears have ever had in my soon-to-be 37 years on this planet. Yeah, I know that one year with Curtis Conway and Jeff Graham was legit. And that Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery tandem was tough to beat. But those two groups were top-heavy. The Moore-Mooney-Claypool-Velus-Scott quintet is — from top-to-bottom — infinitely more intriguing with loads more potential than any group I can remember. Is this what it’s like to be excited about offense? Is this how the other side has been living the whole time?
- Love that guys like Jaquan Brisker were chiming in with their support of new teammates:
- If he isn’t in that position already, give it til the end of the year and we’ll be talking about Brisker as a team leader moving forward. The combination of being a quality player who is out there like this has me thinking he’ll be in that leadership role in no time. Look no further than fellow safety Eddie Jackson to see what that particular path looks like.
- Also, the Noah Sewell pick is fun. It’ll make for a fun family affair when the Lions are in town.
- Had it not been for the Scott pick, taking Roschon Johnson would’ve been my favorite selection on Day 3. That the Bears got both on Day 3 counts as a steal in my book. There is a lot to love here:
- At the risk of putting the cart before the horse, the Bears appear to have laid groundwork for rookies to fill in for established vets down the road. But I don’t want to go too far down that road. Instead, I’m preferring to think of it as the Bears closed some gaps where injuries to key players revealed their lack of youth and depth.
- Think about it this way. It is easy to see Tyler Scott playing the Darnell Mooney role if Mooney isn’t ready to go (after having season-ending ankle surgery) for offseason training minicamps and whatnot. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson ended the year on IR. The Bears didn’t have the necessary CB depth to properly deal with it then, but with Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith, I’d say they’re better equipped to handle injuries at that position this year. And last year, we saw Khalil Herbert miss some time while on IR. David Montgomery held it down, but the offense was different without the rotation of backs. That’s where Roschon Johnson comes into play. Building useful depth is a good thing.
- One year after taking Elijah Hicks from Cal, the Bears ended their draft by taking Stanford safety Kendall Williamson. This front office must really like brainiac safeties. And we have been asking for Chicago’s football team to play a smarter brand of football. Just saying…
- Perhaps I’ll drop my own letter grade for this draft later. But for now, this is my default setting:
- I’ll say this on the Bears’ behalf: They found creative ways to address needs with young talent. And for that, you’ll get a passing grade from me. Leaving the draft without wondering WTF? is a wonderful feeling that I hope to experience more as the years go on.
- Ah, I see the Packers have already drafted Jordan Love’s replacement:
- The Jets and Patriots made a draft day swap that allowed New England to take a kicker. I’m calling my shot right now! Get to know the name Chad Ryland, because he is definitely breaking some Jets fan’s heart with a game-winning field goal at some point during his rooking contract.
- This really was Philly’s draft plan:
- And that’s wild to think about because GM Howie Roseman is a Florida Gator. In case you don’t know, the Florida-Georgia rivalry is INTENSE. Drafting (and acquiring) all those Georgia Bulldogs make for some fun banter at the Eagles team facility.
- Just when you thought you’d escape a weekend without a Taylor Swift reference, the Lions did some things:
- No, I don’t know what the Lions are doing. Neither does Google.
- Put Devin Hester in first, then we can have a conversation about Mel Kiper Jr.’s Hall of Fame credentials:
- The Blackhawks being a beneficiary of the Maple Leafs’ playoff series win isn’t something I was expecting to read today:
- Let’s leave on a laugh:
Let The Rooks Cook, Hopkins Not Chicago’s Best Fit, Wright Plan, Honoring Memorial Day, and Other Bears Bullets