I’m beginning to get the sense that the three most important positions in this draft are going to be pass rusher, defensive back, and quarterback.
And while this upcoming crop of signal callers may not provide especially warm feelings, the depth of the defensive playmakers in the secondary and along the defensive line should intrigue everyone.
And that includes our Chicago Bears – even though they spent aggressively in free agency to attract three new members of the defensive backfield.
This draft is just going to be so darn important, and it may all start on the defensive side of the ball.
But even after all of that, let’s start with some QB draft notes.
- Things seem to be lining up for Mitchell Trubisky to be the first quarterback taken in the Draft. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that it can happen despite Trubisky’s inexperience after starting just one season at North Carolina. Trubisky has a lot of tools (athleticism, quick release, accuracy on the move) but could still stand to learn some of the nuances of a pro-style offense. And if he doesn’t start right away, it wouldn’t be the first time Trubisky learned his craft as a backup. It’s exactly what he did while at North Carolina.
- If the Bears are going to draft a quarterback, it’s most likely going to be later in the draft. The analysis team over at Pro Football Focus writes up a scouting report on Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, a player the Bears coaching staff should be familiar with because of the time he spent at the Senior Bowl. PFF sees Beathard’s fit as more of a developmental quarterback in this class (something we recently suggested might make the most sense for the Bears). He has some strengths (good arm action, strength, and understanding of timing/routes), but his other weaknesses drag him down into the realm of developmental quarterbacks. Even still, PFF considers Beathard to be a valuable late-round pick.
- A tough break for Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, who was snubbed from the NFL Scouting Combine. In-person private interviews with teams will more than likely determine his draft status and future:
Chad Kelly threw 12 or 13 balls before shutting down with an apparent hand/wrist/finger injury at Ole Miss' pro day.
— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) April 3, 2017
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly aggravated his throwing wrist while working out this week, per his agent, Duray Oubre. No structural damage.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 3, 2017
And drifting away from the QBs …
- Over at CBS Chicago, Greg Gabriel puts together a scouting report on Gareon Conley, who might go down in this class as the other talented Ohio State cornerback. Conley is a player who won’t be in play for the Bears with the third overall pick, but could be targeted if the team moves down in a trade. Conley started two years at Ohio State and performed admirably on the field both in workouts at the Combine and at Ohio State’s pro day. There is a hint of physicality in his fast-paced game with the ability to make plays against the run, while also showing quality coverage skills in both man and zone defenses. Gabriel writes that he plays on the field like he tested in drills, which is quite the compliment.
- Ike Taylor played 12 years at cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he probably knows a thing or two about defensive backs. As an analyst at NFL.com, Taylor provides unique insight into who might qualify as sleeper picks in this draft class. The former fourth-round pick splits the group into light and deep sleepers, featuring two safeties, two cornerbacks and a player who could fit into either position. Overall, it’s a good read and a nice reminder of how deep the draft seems to be among defensive backs. Even though the Bears spent aggressively to sign a handful of defensive backs in free agency, the group could still stand to add more talent and depth to the room.
- Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp might turn out to be the new Exhibit A in trying to prove the value of postseason college all-star games. Jordan Plocher of Pro Football Focus writes that Kupp performed so well in practices and in games, that he deserves a shot at the next level where some of his best skills should play up.