Is there anything Brian Urlacher couldn’t do on the football field?
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 30, 2018
As the Chicago Bears’ Twitter page continues to share Urlacher’s best, we’ll continue to go down memory lane and remind ourselves why he is a hands-down choice to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
- John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago spoke with Lovie Smith, who coached Urlacher’s best years and whose scheme helped transform him into an all-around defensive menace worthy of first-ballot enshrinement. “It would be an insult if Brian is not a first-ballot selection,” Smith said. “Brian changed the way the middle linebacker could be played. First ballot for Brian is a no-brainer.” Seriously. This isn’t difficult. Brian Urlacher is an all-time great at his position who transcended the position. Same for Ray Lewis. Both should be in right away. What happens with the other three spots should be left up to the voters, but Lewis AND Urlacher should be locks.
- We’re not going to let our Hall of Fame nerves distract us from living in the present and looking forward to a better Bears future. It all starts with the coach, where Matt Miller of Bleacher Report believes Chicago is on the right side of a growing trend. Miller notes NFL teams like the Bears and Titans have dipped into college football to expand their team’s horizons. The Bears’ offense was often described as predictable, which hopefully won’t be the case for much longer with Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich working with Head Coach Matt Nagy to splice the spread and West Coast offenses.
- Miller’s scouting notebook from the Senior Bowl also features an updated top-50 big board of draft prospects. Of interest to the Bears, three quarterbacks rank immediately ahead of them in the 5-6-7 spots. Three quarterbacks going in the top seven would leave the Bears with their choice of top non-quarterback prospects and keep alive the possibility of trading down with a team that has its eyes on drafting a fourth quarterback within the top 10.
- In case you’re curious, Miller’s eighth-ranked prospect is Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward — who was recently mocked to go to the Bears.
- Over at SB Nation, Dan Kadar believes not much changed after the Senior Bowl (which is to be expected as one game isn’t necessarily going to change everything) but his latest mock draft has five quarterbacks going in the top-15. Kadar’s mock is one that will open some eyes as this rendition sends Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to Chicago. Fitzpatrick is a top-5 talent at safety or cornerback and was used all over the field for the title-winning Crimson Tide. Kadar has three quarterbacks going in the first six picks, which would definitely aid in the Bears’ hunt for a player of Fitzpatrick’s skill level.
- And if there Bears were to take a cornerback early, perhaps he could one day live up to Charles Tillman’s solid Super Bowl performance:
The highest graded Super Bowls by CBs since 2006! pic.twitter.com/P8hK3alJbW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 28, 2018
- WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell shared his post-Senior Bowl mock draft where the Bears go with a different Alabama stud — wide receiver Calvin Ridley. If you’re having a strange sense of deja vu, you’re not alone. For it was this time last year the Bears were often connected to an Alabama star player with the third pick. Remember when Jonathan Allen was a thing? Then again, it was also around this time last year when the idea of drafting a quarterback early in the first round was widely panned. Of course, we all know now that two quarterbacks went in the top-10 and three in the top-12. So much for that.
- Hey, maybe the Bears will go with an offensive lineman, we hear Notre Dame has produced a good one (and we mean a really good one) or two in this draft:
It’s silly the OL talent coming out of ND, this year and years past
— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) January 30, 2018
- And in recent drafts:
Seriously. Harry Hiestand has produced a complete O-line of (left-to-right) Ronnie Stanley, Zack Martin, Nick Martin, Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey. That's nuts. https://t.co/zdYDNEJtzL
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) January 30, 2018
- We’ll spend a healthy amount of time on the draft between now and the time the Bears are on the clock, but free agency comes first and GM Ryan Pace getting it right this time around is as important as doing so in the draft. Before we get there, the Bears will go through some internal evaluations. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune takes a look at some of the contract details for the newest Bear, CFL standout cornerback Jonathon Mincy, whose three-year deal has $30,000 in guarantees including a signing bonus of $15,000.
- Changes continue to occur within the Green Bay Packers coaching ranks, with Secondary/Safeties Coach Darren Perry leaving the team. Perry spent nine years with Green Bay and interviewed for the defensive coordinator position before it went to Mike Pettine and has spoken with other teams in the league about coaching positions. He will now be free to do so without having to check back in with the Packers.
- Elsewhere in the division, Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports tweets the Minnesota Vikings are expected to name a new offensive coordinator this week. The team has interviewed a handful of candidates to replace Pat Shurmur, who left to coach the New York Giants.
- As for the Detroit Lions’ new coach, Matt Patricia’s focus on Super Bowl Media Day remained on winning another ring. “I really just have one job,” Patricia said, via Newsday. “I’m the Patriots’ defensive coordinator. I’m just trying to get ready for the Philadelphia Eagles.”