- Pat Kirwan at NFL.com doesn’t think the Bears are going to be filling their needs along the line of scrimmage in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. He has them picking Texas cornerback Aaron Williams in the first round and Boise State wide receiver Titus Young in the second round.
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune writes a profile of Matthew Smith, who is Bears head coach Lovie Smith‘s son and his agent:
“It’s valid if you disagree with a particular play call, but to say my dad is dumb because he doesn’t do what you do in a situation, that’s what gets my blood boiling. Nobody gets to my dad’s position being dumb. My dad is very, very smart.”
- The Tribune‘s Brad Biggs makes the point that the Bears, who have excellent special teams, will be hurt by the new kickoff rules which are being proposed by the Competition Committee.
- The Bears are lucky in some respects. Bart Hubbuch at the New York Post thinks its a good year to need a corner in the draft.
- Bear fans who are still hurting from the Chris Williams fiasco won’t be too happy to hear that Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi has knee problems. Many mock drafts have the Bears taking Carmi in the first round. Via Dan Pompei writing for The National Football Post.
- Sad news as doctors have discovered that NFL Films president Steve Sabol has a tumor on the left side of his brain.
- ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert answers your questions. Here’s a really good one:
“Andy of Chicago writes: Much has been made about the Packers’ roster depth. Along with the 53 they had at the end of the season, they could return as many as 15 players from IR and perhaps Johnny Jolly from suspension. Throw in another 8 or 9 draft picks, and those first-year gems that Ted Thompson seems to find outside of the draft before the season (Sam Shields, Frank Zombo, Ryan Grant, etc.) and that’s a lot of bodies in camp. Figuring they’ll probably lose 7 or so players to free agency, do you think Thompson might change his strategy and package picks in the draft to prioritize quality over quantity, i.e., move up on the board?”
“If the Packers think (Texas A&M linebacker Von) Miller is as good as media analysts suggest, would it be worth them to trade multiple picks to get into the top 5 and draft him? The idea would be that any players the Packers take on the second and third days of the draft are going to have a hard time making their roster.
“It makes some sense, but I it would require a significant departure from the way Thompson has built the team in the first place. I think the chances of him staying course — adding more and more talent on annual basis — are much higher than a one-time philosophical shift.”
- Darin Gantt at the Charlotte Observer interviews former Bronos and Falcons head coach Dan Reeves. Reeves thinks the Panther’s decision to take Cam Newton first over all should be a no brainer:
“I think that guy is going to be a great player.
“You can’t win without one, and trust me, when I lost them, I got fired.”
“I can teach a guy to get up under center. But I can’t teach a guy to throw. He has a tremendous arm, and I think he’s going to be really effective no matter what he was doing in college.”
- Gantt addresses the question of whether the Panthers should trade the number 1 overall pick. He also looks at the previous history previous history of such trades . I’d say the results are equivocal.
- Pompei also writes about the Patriots draft strategy. In some ways its pretty simple. For instance, here’s what head coach Bill Belichick had to say about trading draft picks:
“The concept of trading for next year’s picks value wise is pretty good. Generally speaking, if you can bump up a round, that’s pretty good value.”
- Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press wonders if the lockout will affect the Lions draft strategy. As is the case with the Bears, the Lions can’t be sure that they can fill thier needs in free agency, which has preceded the draft in the past:
“General manager Martin Mayhew has long championed taking the best player — within reason. For instance, the Lions won’t take a quarterback in the first round.
“But if that yields an offensive lineman as most mock drafts suggest, the Lions could be left with the same gaping holes at linebacker and defensive back they finished with last season.”
- Omar Kelly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel thinks that despite doing due diligence on the top quarterbacks in the draft, the Dolphins are unlikely to take a quarterback that high. The entire organization is thought to be facing a win-or-else mandate that makes trading for a veteran more likely.
- Sheil Kapadia at the Philadelphia Daily News does a pretty good job of evaluating the market for Kevin Kolb. He says (and I agree) that, unlike other flash in the pan backups who teams have over paid for in the past, Kolb has a pretty good chance to be a solid starting NFL quarterback in the right situation.
- Joe Fontenbaugh at The National Football Post has started an interesting series in which he examines the draft trends of each of the NFL teams over the last twn years. He starts with the New York Giants.
- You have to wonder if the quarterbacks aren’t falling down draft boards into the positions where they actually belong. I’ve commented on Wes Bunting‘s report for The National Football Post on Cam Newton. Here’s what he had to say about Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert:
“A number of coaches throughout the NFL have been turned off by the overall way Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert has handled himself this post-season. They did not like the fact he didn’t workout at the NFL Combine and cited his overall demeanor and body language as turnoffs. The more info I gather on Gabbert the less I feel like he’s being endorsed as a high first round pick. He could end up being the one quarterback to slide a lot further than many think come April.”
- Well, the Packers didn’t lose defensive coordinator Dom Capers as I’d hoped they would after he did such an excellent job in 2010. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a significant shake up in the Green Bay staff. Pro Football Weekly‘s Dan Arkush reports:
“But team insiders believe [new wide receivers coach Edgar] Bennett, in particular, will have a very tough act to follow in Jimmy Robinson, who left for a position on Jason Garrett‘s staff in Dallas. Robinson, who commanded great respect as a former NFL receiver, is widely considered to be the best WR coach in the business. While Bennett could not be more eager to prove himself in his new role, the consensus seems to be that he definitely will have his work cut out for him.”
- Can’t imagine Staley doing this. And I don’t want to:
One Final Thought
“We know the business and we know that one day we all won’t be together. It was tough to see Alex (Brown) go last year, and now it is tough to see that Tommie is not going to be there in the locker room and sharing laughs. I have been in Chicago ever since Tommie was drafted, and we developed a relationship on and off the field. That’s how football players grow, being able to trust that man next to you to do his job.”