Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t think the Bears voluntary minicamp, which starts today, will affect their draft much:
“It’s difficult to imagine that much of what happens on the field will affect plans for the draft. General manager Ryan Pace isn’t going to lay eyes on Jay Cutler throwing the ball and decide he needs to be in position to choose Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota.
“Coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio aren’t going to size up candidates at outside linebacker and come to the realization they’re a young pass rusher away from being where they need to be. Draft preparations have been made, and those opinions have been shaped by long meetings and longer hours spent doing film work. Three practices leading directly into the draft are not going to turn the team’s board on its side.”
Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times says pretty much the same thing. One question neither bothered to answer is this: If it won’t affect the draft, why have it now? The Bears are the only team in the NFL having their first minicamp before the draft, not after.
I don’t have any doubt that all of the preparations have been made and the board has been stacked. But there is a reason the Bears are having that minicamp now. Fox has said repeatedly that he won’t really know anything about anyone until he sees the players hit the grass. Today, that’s what they’re going to do. It’s only positional drills but its live and they’re going to get to see them.
The Bears want a look at what they’ve got before the draft starts because it might affect what decisions they make in later rounds when they are choosing positions to make a priority. That makes the next couple days reasonably significant.