Oh, to have two linebackers graded as highly as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs in 2006:
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 16, 2017
- With the next stop in the offseason being Bourbonnais for training camp, Dan Durkin of The Athletic looks at three positions that will have some of the hottest competition. The Bears’ busy offseason resulted in the team having 11 wide receivers, 10 cornerbacks, and six tight ends slated to slug it out this summer. To get an idea of how fierce the competition should be, the Bears opened the 2016 season with six corners, six wideouts, and three tight ends on their roster. In the end, some familiar names are going to get cut.
- The early reviews on rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky are in and … mostly positive, writes ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. Trubisky, who still hasn’t signed his rookie contract, has been praised by coaches and teammates for how he has worked during the offseason training program. Trubisky was recently elevated to second string duties in the wake of Mark Sanchez’s knee injury. The spotlight will shine brightly on the No. 2 overall pick from last April’s draft in six weeks when training camp rolls around – even if he isn’t expected to take any significant regular season snaps with Mike Glennon penciled in as the starter.
- Even though tight end Adam Shaheen and Tarik Cohen aren’t projected to be starters in 2017, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the Bears expect both to be impact players from the get-go. The Bears ranked 15th in total yards last season, but finished 28th in scoring. Dowell Loggains’ unit didn’t take full advantage of its scoring chances, so any boost two skilled rookies could provide would be greatly appreciated. With Cohen’s pass-catching skills and speed out of the backfield and Shaheen’s size making him a potential mismatch waiting to happen, the 2017 Bears have two pieces the 2016 squad didn’t have to offer.
- Hroniss Grasu was lined up to be the Bears’ starting center in 2016 before tearing his ACL, an unfortunate injury that opened the door for Cody Whitehair’s emergence at the position as a rookie. Over at Pro Football Weekly, Kevin Fishbain writes Grasu is healthy and ready for 2017 and the challenges ahead. Grasu, a third-round pick in 2015, started eight games at center as a rookie. And while seen as a center-only prospect coming out of Oregon, Grasu says he has been working at guard – a move that could increase his value because of added versatility. Grasu won’t move starters Kyle Long or Josh Sitton out of their spots, but it’s worth noting both players missed games in 2016, so any bit of help the Bears have in reserve would be welcome.
- The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh writes that the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list, which was completely lacking a Bears presence, is an example of how the Bears are more motivated than talented entering the 2017 season. Jordan Howard (listed on Pete Prisco’s top-100 over at CBS Sports) was an obvious snub, but the other Bears who could make an argument are fringe prospects at best. Perhaps Cody Whitehair makes the cut next year if he follows up his strong rookie season with a solid sophomore year. Pass rushing outside linebackers such as Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee could potentially make a case if each can stay healthy and play to their lofty expectations. Ideally, quarterback Mitch Trubisky makes that list when he’s ready to lace them up.