The NFL Scouting Combine is ongoing, with top defensive prospects taking the stage today. Until then, Bullets …
- In addition to re-signing quarterback Connor Shaw, the Bears have also re-signed long snapper Patrick Scales to a one-year deal. Scales, 29, appeared in all 16 games for the Bears last year after first joining the team in 2015.
- With those two now under contract, and earlier having re-signed guard Eric Kush, the Bears project to have 25 free agents when free agency opens up, 17 of whom will be unrestricted free agents: WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Marquess Wilson, WR/KR Deonte Thompson, QB Brian Hoyer, QB Matt Barkley, guard Ted Larsen, tackle Mike Adams, OL Nick Becton, OL Matt McCants, OLB Sam Acho, TE Logan Paulsen, CB Jonathan Banks, CB Brandon Boykin, S Chris Prosinski, DE Cornelius Washington, NT C.J. Wilson, and K Connor Barth.
- Players become free agents on Tuesday, March 7 at 3pm CT, and may begin negotiating with new teams, but they cannot sign with a new team until Thursday, March 9 at 3pm CT. Yes, you can expect a crazy week ahead.
- Meanwhile, the Combine is still underway, and many prospects are already standing out from the pack and improving their draft stock. Todd McShay runs down many of the Day Two standouts, including Clemson Deshaun Watson, who he says had the best day from the quarterbacks, demonstrating fluidity under center and good touch. Mitchell Trubisky (he goes by Mitchell now) also stood out to McShay, as did a wide receiver we’ve mentioned around here before, since the Bears’ coaching staff got to know him well at his breakout Senior Bowl: Zay Jones.
- Watson and Trubisky, by the way, clocked the same impressive 40 time, at 4.67 seconds. You get the sense overall that, if any of the quarterbacks separated themselves from the pack this weekend, it was probably these two, though I have also seen very positive reviews for Patrick Mahomes (and Nathan Peterman, for that matter, though he’s still likely to top out in the second round, at the highest). Questions persist about DeShone Kizer, who had a mixed day, though everyone can still see the upside. That is to say, the Combine may prove only to keep us guessing at whether the teams at the top of the draft will tab a QB in late April, and how many QBs will go in the first round. Still quite a bit of time between now and then, including a free agency and trade period that could change things further.
- Bucky Brooks offered his take on Combine Day Two, also offering praise for Watson, and noting that Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram turned heads with his athleticism. It’s starting to look like the draft will have no fewer than three very high-end tight ends (Engram, Alabama’s O.J. Howard, and Miami’s David Njoku), as well as a ton of quality depth thereafter (and a high-risk, high-reward injury comeback in Michigan’s Jake Butt). That’s good news for the Bears, who’ll likely hope to land an impact tight end at some point after the first round.
- Both write ups also – obviously! – mentioned this guy:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 4, 2017
- That’s Washington wide receiver John Ross breaking Chris Johnson’s longstanding Combine 40-yard dash record, which had stood since 2008. Obviously speed isn’t the only thing that matters for a wide receiver, but, hey, all else equal, you’d love to have a burner. Ross probably cemented himself as one of the first wide receivers off the board in April. Clemson’s Mike Williams is still probably at the top of the class (he’s waiting to do his 40 at his pro day), but Ross is gonna get some helium now.
- A report from the Washington Post indicates that the perception of the Washington Redskins organization at the Combine is that it is in “disarray,” with agents and other teams not entirely sure who is calling the shots or what the direction for the organization will be.
- The Raiders’ possible move to Las Vegas isn’t dead just yet, with a new champion apparently helping the cause:
— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) March 4, 2017