At this time next week, we’ll be preparing for the second round of the NFL Draft – after what will hopefully be a successful first round of action.
With less than a week to go before the first round gets underway, the Chicago Bears still have plenty of questions to answer – and they aren’t limited to … “Who’s it gonna be?”
For example: 1) Will the Bears entice another team to move up into their 3rd overall pick in exchange for more picks later on? Can General Manager Ryan Pace maneuver his way back into the first round to take a quarterback if necessary? And/or if the Bears hold steady with the third overall pick, which of the talented defensive prospects fits best in Chicago?
So many questions, so many potential answers, so little time to get things done.
- CSN Chicago’s John Mullin wonders what kind of priority the Bears should put into drafting a tight end. The Bears have added a bunch of depth at the position for competition, and also signed free agent Dion Sims with the hope that he develops into a true two-way threat after being primarily a blocker with the Miami Dolphins. Zach Miller is a contributor when healthy, but he will play 2017 at age 33 and is coming off a significant foot injury. The Bears won’t be in a spot to draft Alabama’s O.J. Howard, but could find value in a Day 2 player like Michigan’s Jake Butt.
- Adam Hoge of WGN Radio revealed his annual top quarterback rankings, with Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina listed as the only quarterback he would be comfortable taking in the first round. The projected sleepers – like Ivy League product Alek Torgensonare and Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs – are the more intriguing names, though. The former played his college ball at Penn and could be a late-round target, and the latter graduated with an Aerospace Engineering major, making him one of the most scholastically accomplished players in the draft.
- DeShone Kizer isn’t short on confidence. The Notre Dame product, who at one point was Mike Mayock’s top quarterback prospect before slipping in his most recent ratings, believes he can be the best to play the position. To be fair, it’s impossible to fill the quarterback role without being confident (in fact, a little bit of overconfidence is sometimes a good thing); HOWEVER, telling the USA Today you have the 1-2 punch of Tom Brady’s brain and Cam Newton’s body is setting yourself up for some lofty, difficult-to-fulfill expectations.
- Chicago’s beat guys took a cursory dive into the Bears’ 2017 schedule (which was released yesterday) and offered up a snapshot of what they believed would happen in the future. You can see their work at ESPN Chicago (Jeff Dickerson), CSN Chicago (John Mullin), the Sun-Times (Adam Jahns), Pro Football Weekly (Hub Arkush), and the Chicago Tribune. There isn’t much in terms of optimism, but maybe a strong draft can change some minds. Or not. The Bears have a the fifth hardest strength of schedule in the first eight weeks, according to the NFL Network. No matter which way you cut it, there’ll be an uphill battle from the start.
- Tickets for home games go on sale April 24. That’s Monday, for those of you who can’t wait to get back to Soldier Field to watch the Bears try to make that climb.
- And in case you’re curious:
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) April 21, 2017
- Creating the NFL schedule is more fascinating than you could ever imagine. According to Peter King, the schedule wasn’t decided until it saw its 52,129th option – something that took into consideration events such as the Chicago Marathon and games overseas that leave with an unenviable travel schedule. The depth the NFL goes into schedule creating is detailed over at Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback. Among the quirks: The Patriots’ travel to high-altitude destinations to play the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders (in Mexico City) in Weeks 10 and 11, respectively.
- The Colts signed former Bears linebacker Jon Bostic, adding to the group’s positional depth. Bostic was a second-round pick (50th overall) in 2013 by the Bears, but he only played two seasons with the team. He played in 29 games (made 17 starts), but was traded to the Patriots in 2015 for a sixth-round pick. Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins was drafted by the Patriots two picks after the Bears chose Bostic, who did not appear in any regular season games in 2016.