As we mentioned earlier, free agency begins tomorrow at 3 pm CT (with players eligible to sign as soon as Thursday), but the 2017 Combine ends after today, and the draft will be here before we know it.
To that end, information continues to flow from the Combine, so let’s take a look at the latest to see what might be in store for the Chicago Bears come April 27.
- The Bears’ needs in the secondary have been well-documented since the end of their 2016 season, and the team might look to address those needs in the first round of the draft. According to Bryan Perez of Bears Wire, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore might just be one of the considerations for #3 overall: “Lattimore is the best pure cover corner in the draft who combines good size at 6-feet, 193 pounds, with elite movement skills and top-tier long speed, as evidenced by his blazing 40.” His 40-yard dash time, recorded earlier today, was a speedy 4.36 seconds. That’s just 0.14 seconds more than the Combine record set by Washington wide receiver John Ross (4.22 seconds) over the weekend. So, yeah, he’d be an interesting selection …
- … but we should note the following:
Ohio St. CB Marshon Lattimore suffered hamstring injury today, per source. Wouldn't be a big deal except he has… https://t.co/1mLRj76rb3
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2017
- Apparently, Lattimore has had hamstring issues before, which explains concerns about a potential injury, but he was quick to refute the report on Twitter:
Wasn't a hamstring injury, it's my hip flexor. I'm good y'all lol
— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) March 6, 2017
Reports bad info y'all gone have the teams scared to draft me lol
— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) March 6, 2017
- He may well be fine, but you can bet that teams will be eyeing Lattimore’s health closely going forward.
- The question persists about the top QBs in the draft: are any NFL-ready? According to Kansas City Chief’s GM John Dorsey, no, none are NFL-ready right now (including Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Mitchell Trubisky, and the rest). That sentiment has been growing lately, and really makes things tough for the Bears, who boast a top three pick in 2017 (and who, perhaps not coincidentally, have been increasingly connected to free agent Mike Glennon).
- For another example, Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan echoed those comments after watching the QBs at the NFL Combine: “A lot of these players put a lot of effort into this process, and you don’t want to dismiss or diminish any players,” he said. “I would say, when you look at this class, there may not be the depth of as many interesting prospects as some other classes I’ve been around and seen.” He added that there are still some good ones, they need a bit more “polish” than they have in other years.
- You can’t always take individual accounts like this at face value – especially from GMs that obviously have some skin in the game like the Jets and Chiefs (who could plausibly look to pounce on a QB in the first round) – but this has been a fairly very wide-spread take on the incoming QB class.
- Speaking about concerns:
Talking to scouts about Jonathan Allen. Definite concerns about shoulders. Feeling he'll drop to 12-17 range.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 5, 2017
- Luis previously touched on why Allen might be a good fit for the Bears in the first round, but things have been changing quickly since we learned about the arthritis in both of his shoulders. I wonder how far those reports will cause his draft stock to fall. Some team in the middle of the first round could wind up with a steal … or an injury-shortened career.
- Continuing along the lines of the top defensive players in the draft, Lance Zierlein suggests that Solomon Thomas, not Myles Garrett, could “end up being the best defensive player” in the entire draft. Garrett, you’ll note, is widely heralded as the top prospect overall in the upcoming draft. So that’s quite the compliment by Zierlein.
- Staying right there, Mike Mayock suggests that neither of the top two safeties, LSU’s Jamal Adams and Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, are top 10 picks in the draft. Adams has been connected to Bears in the past and is considered to be as NFL ready as any player in the draft. Safeties rarely go quite that high, though, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Adams, as well as Hooker, settle down into the 8 to 12 range when it’s all said and done.
- Combine records really are getting tested this weekend, aren’t they? Although Obi Melifonwu didn’t quite break a record, he came close. His 11’9″ broad jump was the second longest in combine history. He isn’t one of the top rated safeties, but the Bears staff got to work with him at the Senior Bowl, and his stock seems to be on the rise. It’s now a fair question whether he’ll even still be on the board when the Bears pick in the second round.
- What’s becoming increasingly clear is that the Bears should be able to address their secondary in a big way with this April, given how deep the draft is in defensive backs.
- As we discussed previously, Reuben Foster, a potential top-10 pick, was bounced from the Combine after reportedly getting into a “heated altercation,” with a hospital worker. On Tuesday, however, Foster will make himself available to NFL coaches and scouts to explain what happened. However, it’s difficult to determine just how much the bounce affected his draft stock in the first place, let alone what these three hours will do to recoup that lost value.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.