Drafting a playmaking safety with the third pick doesn’t seem like a reach, especially when considering the nature of the NFL as a passing league and how poor the Chicago Bears were at defending throws deep into the secondary.
Over at The Athletic, Dan Durkin (who already wrote a breakdown of what makes LSU’s Jamal Adams an ideal fit) takes on Ohio State ball-hawking safety Malik Hooker in his second installment of his series breaking down potential No. 3 overall picks.
Like Adams, Hooker has a combination of football instincts and skills that are easy to dream on. Comparisons to future Hall of Famer Ed Reed (overstated or not) don’t hurt, either. What makes Hooker stand out is his knack for making plays on the ball, something desperately lacking in the Bears secondary.
While it might be hard to stomach the Bears passing on a quarterback or an impact member of the front seven, remember that help at safety is long overdue.
And with that, enjoy the rest of your Bullets …
- Speaking of adding an impact member on the front seven, Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes that even though the Bears have many, many needs, the team could position itself best by adding to its defensive line, including by potentially drafting Alabama’s Jonathan Allen with their third overall pick (Allen goes to the Bears in virtually all current mock drafts, for what it’s worth). Emma adds that free agent Calais Campbell is another potential upgrade for the Bears at defensive end, given his consistent track record in Arizona. The Bears’ needs are plenty (especially on defense) so it will be hard to go wrong adding to Vic Fangio’s group.
- Emma’s article goes into a number of other routes for the Bears to upgrade their defensive line, and it’s worth a read.
- Interesting to see the Bears at the top of this particular list. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has each team’s number of snaps played by rookies in 2016 and it should come as no surprise to see the Bears near the top of the list. The 3,214 snaps played by Bears rookies were the fourth most in football. But settling in the slot below them is the Cowboys, whose rookies played 3,003 snaps. If anything, this list shows that teams stocked with rookies can make a playoff threat. For what it’s worth, six playoff teams found themselves in the top half of this list.
- Jordan Howard – the Pro Bowl Bears rookie running back who starred an an otherwise woeful offense – was one of 14 Pro Bowl players who said they would support openly gay teammates. Howard, who was one of the Pro Bowlers approached by Jeremy Brener of OutSports, said “I’m pretty sure we would be supportive. We’ve been bonding together and that wouldn’t change anything too much.” Former Bears tight end Greg Olsen added, “I think it’d be great. It’s a very open and honest group of guys. The locker room is a very understanding group and I think he would be treated no differently than everybody else.” NFC North Pro Bowlers Harrison Smith (Vikings), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Packers) and Matt Prater (Lions) said they would be in support of a gay teammate. OutSports has a complete rundown of the 18 players asked about the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, LGBT issues and what it would mean to have a gay teammate.
- Football analyst Matt Bowen takes to ESPN to draw up one of the go-to plays for Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan:
- Dowell Loggains has that somewhere in the Bears playbook right? Or maybe he could just find Shanahan’s playbook, which he lost on Media Day. It’s not likely another Patriots conspiracy, though, as a writer simply accidentally grabbed the wrong bag.
- Over at Pro Football Weekly, Hub Arkush writes how the NFL has priced out the average fan. Arkush goes into detail on how the common fan has been boxed out while the NFL has simultaneously gouged its richest ticket owners. Some of the dollar figures Arkush discovers are mind boggling, so I encourage you to read them yourself.
- The New York Jets had a rough year finishing behind the New England Patriots (again) in the standings, and it’s not like former Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall helped much either. According to research by John Gatta of Pro Football Focus, Marshall was one of three Jets players who had a drop percentage of 10 percent or higher in 2016. Marshall’s drop percentage was 10.6 percent – league average was 7.3 percent. Not ideal for a player entering free agency this offseason after his age 32 season.
- Speaking of former Bears wide receivers, the Bears now have a former wide receivers coach, if you missed the news last night.
- Marshawn Lynch seems happily retired. With Super Bowl week underway and Lynch having no playing obligations, he and Skittles went to Houston (in Scotland) to talk about the big game: