Jordan Howard’s Bears-related images have returned to his Instagram, and there was much rejoicing throughout Bears Nation.
- Trading Howard would have created a need at running back the team really didn’t need. So, what positions are on the Bears’ radar now that we have a bit more clarity:
Who do you think the Bears are targeting? 1st and 2nd round!
— Quenton Nelson ➡️ Chicago (@BearsEst1920) April 9, 2018
OL and either LB or EDGE https://t.co/Mfttll2bZL
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) April 9, 2018
- The Bears are expected to find a pass rusher at some point in this draft, but it’s unlikely that North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb will be an option at No. 8.
- With that in mind, we should probably start looking at other prospects elsewhere in the draft. Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus has just the piece for those of us in search of a draft prospect whose pass-rushing skills should translate to success in the pros. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma), Kemoko Turay (Rutgers), Genard Avery (Memphis), Shaquem Griffin (Central Florida), and Arden Key (LSU) are among those who are possible Day 2 and Day 3 options for a team looking to upgrade at the position. But should the Bears be in a position to trade down, they could target a player like Marcus Davenport (UTSA) or Harold Landry (Boston College) if they were to move out of the top-10 and into the middle of the first round.
- Speaking of Davenport, he’ll make history by becoming the first player in University of Texas-San Antionio history to be invited to the NFL Draft. Carter Karels reports Davenport is one of 22 players invited to attend after a record-setting career for the Roadrunners where he set school records in sacks, tackles-for-loss, and quarterback hurries. Davenport wrapped up his college career with 8.5 sacks in his senior season, which has helped launch him to the top of many draft boards. It might be viewed as a reach if Davenport goes in the top-10, but he is one of the draft’s top three pass rushing prospects. Scarcity at the position could push him up draft boards.
- Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage had some high praise for one of the most highly regarded linebackers in this draft class, saying that Georgia’s Roquan Smith reminds him of a recently inducted Hall of Famer. “This kid is a reincarnation of Ray Lewis,” Savage said of Smith in an interview with Sirius XM Radio. “He’s got passion, energy, burst, accelaration. He makes players around him better.” This is a noteworthy comp, if only because Savage was the Director of College Scouting for the Baltimore Ravens drafted Lewis with pick No. 26 in the 1996 NFL Draft. Savage certainly has an eye for talent, which makes his Smith-Lewis comp that much more interesting.
- Judging by Pro Football Focus’ grades, the arrow is pointing up for Mr. Smith:
Roquan Smith just kept getting better in college! pic.twitter.com/fkf2mWQABQ
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2018
- Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who has been often connected to the Bears on the mock draft circuit was in for a visit with their longest-standing rival. Edmunds met with the Green Bay Packers, according to Aaron Nagler. Edmunds is one of the best linebacker prospects in this class and is versatile enough to play inside or out. The Packers own the 14th pick and could target Edmunds as a potential pass-rusher in their revamped scheme under Mike Pettine. But because of Edmunds’ current standing as a projected top-10 pick Green Bay would probably have to trade up if they want to get their hands on one of the premier talents this draft class has to offer. Especially if they want to do it before their rivals.
- Mike McGlinchey is often viewed as “the other guy” when it comes to Notre Dame offensive line draft prospects, but maybe he shouldn’t be:
Quenton Nelson gets the headlines, but don't sleep on Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey in this offensive line draft class pic.twitter.com/0wzbDcKOWW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2018
- Not on Chris Trapasso’s brief list of targets is cornerback. Still, you can’t have enough of those when your team is facing Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins twice a year. Over at The Loop Sports, Kedar Raman breaks down the possibility of Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson being a fit for the Bears. Jackson is one of the the better cover corners in the draft, but a slower-than-expected time in the 40-yard dash will likely keep him from being a top-10 pick. Raman sees Jackson as a candidate to be drafted by the Bears should the team trade down from No. 8. Jackson recently visited the Bears and has been sent to the team in prior mock drafts.
- Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward met with the Bears last week, but Chicago isn’t the only team interested in the Buckeyes defensive back. After visiting the Bears, Ward had meetings with the 49ers, Browns, Dolphins, and Bills scheduled in the coming days. There is even a case to be made for the Colts to draft Ward with the No. 6 pick. Considering his meetings have been with teams in the top-12, it’s difficult to imagine Ward dropping out of there. Ward has been linked to the Bears in various mock drafts leading up to the real thing, but there is a chance he might not even be available when it’s the Bears’ turn to pick.
- Legendary call from a legendary Chicago voice:
Sad news in the Sports Broadcasting world as former @ChicagoBears & @whitesox play-by-play announcer Joe McConnell has died at 79. Here's his most famous call in Chicago – @walterpayton breaking the NFL Rushing Record vs Saints on October 7, 1984 at Soldier Field. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/zhpeb7N8r8
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) April 8, 2018