As the many prospects continue to work their way through the 2017 NFL Combine, the Bears continue to evaluate possible draft paths.
While, yes, free agency comes up sooner (March 9th), the draft isn’t too far behind that (April 27th), and is likely to be more impactful long-term. Moreover, the two routes for acquiring players are obviously interconnected.
Either way, the next couple of months figure to be particularly important to a rebuilding team like the Bears, so it’s important we pay close attention to what they decide to do.
- And whether it’s through the draft, free agency, or trade, the Bears will need to find a replacement for Jay Cutler sooner or later. If they pass on a QB in the first round of the draft, for example, there might be an interesting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, available in the second. At the Chicago Sun Times, Patrick Finley writes about Mahomes as a possible Bears target in the second round. “Mahomes, a 6-3, 215-pounder, led the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense in each of the last two seasons before deciding to declare for the draft after a junior season in which he threw for 5,052 yards. In 32 college games, he threw for 93 touchdowns and ran for 22 more ….” The only problem (to the extent you think it’s a problem) is that Mahomes draws strong comparisons to one Jay Cutler. Read more about Mahomes and the Bears’ plan for the draft at the Sun Times.
- At the Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs writes that the Bears should adopt the quarterback search-strategy employed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. That is, grab as many QBs as possible and keep doing the “bridge thing” until the right guy emerges. But if the Bears pass on a quarterback with the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft – which is certainly possible – Biggs suggests an alternative to waiting until the second round: trade for another first round pick. The additional upside and extra team option year of control that comes with a first round pick could be especially valuable and be the way to go. Biggs has much more at the Tribune, check it out.
- Even if the Bears do manage to get an extra pick at the back of the first round, there’s no guarantee that any of the more prominent QB prospects – DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes – will still be on the board. But for more on each of those four, check out Rich Campbell’s piece at the Tribune. Therein, each QB addresses his strengths and, more importantly, his perceived flaws from the NFL Combine. If you don’t know a ton about these guys, that’s not a bad place to start.
- If you missed it earlier, the Bears re-signed quarterback Connor Shaw.
- But there’s more to life than quarterbacks … or at least more to the draft. And although the Bears appear to be in a good place with running back Jordan Howard, there are some interesting names at the top of the draft. The top four, according to the analysts at NFL.com, include Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara. But it’s the former two, Fournette and McCaffrey, that NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is especially fond of. Read about each at NFL.com.
- Also at that same link, you’ll find additional combine notes on many players like Western Kentucky guard Forest Lamp, USC offensive lineman Damien Mama, and many more. And near the end, you’ll find a selection of Mayock’s “best takes on the big bodies and tailbacks that worked out Friday.” There’s plenty to dig through, so get digging.
- And finally, one bizarre story out of the Combine: Reuben Foster, a potential top-10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, is being sent home from the Combine. Apparently, the former Alabama linebacker got into a “heated altercation” with a hospital worker and was sent home for “personal reasons.” Foster was the top-graded linebacker for a bunch of teams, but will now miss all of his team interviews tonight after having already missed all the ones from yesterday. The league is still looking into exactly what happened and how to proceed from here.