The Chicago Bears added four defensive backs in free agency, but I would be on board with the decision to grab a fifth (or sixth, for that matter) via the upcoming NFL Draft – especially if that player was Marshon Lattimore.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 9, 2017
Lattimore talks-the-talk and looks the part of a game-changing cornerback. And last year at Ohio State, he walked-the-walk and played the role to the tune of four interceptions and a pick-six in 13 games. To put it in perspective, Bears defensive backs combined to pick off eight passes in 2016, an all-too-low number for a unit that was supposed to thrive on turning the ball over.
But like most high draft picks, Lattimore comes with his share of baggage. Hamstring injuries quite literally hamstrung his collegiate career, and hamstring surgery in 2014 cost him his freshman season at Ohio State and caused him to take a redshirt that season. Lattimore was a starter for the Buckeyes for just one year, which means his inexperience could show early at the next level. However, his upside and high-end athleticism could help mitigate those concerns.
There are only 18 days until the NFL Draft. But now, enjoy Sunday’s Bullets.
- In the lead up to the draft, ESPN has graded each team’s best and worst draft classes ever, in what gives us an idea of what the best (and worst) scenarios could be for a franchise that needs to have an impact draft. The Bears’ best ranks among the league’s best, but that game all the way back in 1975. It’s a draft that sent the team its greatest player when it chose Walter Payton with the fourth overall pick, officially setting the foundation for the Super Bowl XX winners. The 1965 draft deserves an honorable mention as the Bears grabbed Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers with consecutive picks, but came before the common draft era.
- On the other side of the coin, the Bears’ worst draft also ranks among the worst in league history. When you’re hot, you’re hot. And when you’re not, you’re on the wrong end of an important list. The Bears traded their first selection in the 1978 draft for quarterback Mike Phipps – 52.5% completion percentage, 2,806 yards, 15 TD-27 INT in 31 games, including 20 starts with the Bears – and their second-rounder for defensive end Tommy Hart – who played his age 34 and 35 seasons in Chicago before moving on to New Orleans and retiring after the 1980 season. Ouch.
- Hopefully the Bears can avoid any comparisons to the 1978 draft by making some value picks in the 2017 draft. Over at CBS Chicago, Greg Gabriel put together a scouting report for defensive lineman Chris Wormley. The Michigan product could be a potential second-round pick for the Bears, who still could stand to add some depth and talent along the defensive line. If the Bears don’t use their first-round pick on Alabama’s Jonathan Allen or Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, Gabriel believes the team could use their second-round pick to address the position. There is some familiarity with Wormley, who the Bears coached at the Senior Bowl. Wormley collected 17.5 sacks (12 of which came in the last two seasons) in 42 games in his four-year playing career. If he plays to his strengths, Wormley is the kind of player who can be a solid contributor as a rookie – something the Bears need from whoever their second-round pick turns out to be.
- The Bears can go in several directions with the No. 3 pick, and nothing captures that like Larry Mayer’s list of the best and worst players to be picked third overall at the Bears’ official website. Odds of a future All-Pro being available third overall are high, and that’s good news. Names such as Barry Sanders (1989), Larry Fitzgerald (2004), Joe Thomas (2007), Cortez Kennedy (1990), and Matt Ryan (2008) allow you to dream on the idea of drafting a player who will be a franchise cornerstone.
- Unfortunately, having the third pick doesn’t guarantee your team will always pick that player. Three of the worst five picks on Mayer’s list have come since 1999, and two of those came recently in consecutive years when the Browns took running back Trent Richardson in 2012 and the Dolphins chose defensive lineman Dion Jordan in 2013. And in case you’re curious, three of Mayer’s worst five picks were quarterbacks. So, maybe the Bears are truly better off waiting to fill that quarterback of the future job with a later pick.
- Not only is there no consensus on who the top quarterback of this draft class will be, there isn’t much of a feel for how many quarterbacks will go in the first round. NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah asked five pro football executives to put a number on how many quarterbacks will be selected in Round 1, and received a variety of answers. The consensus is that one still can’t be reached. We could see as few as two or as many as five. The idea of teams trading into the back end of the first round to take a flier on the top-rated quarterback on their respective boards throws this entire exercise for a loop.
- This was a very nice gesture by the Bears, current players, and alumni:
— Bears Outreach (@BearsOutreach) April 8, 2017