- Nice to see Jay Cutler back in the public eye. Most of us would like to see him back in Halas Hall working with offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He told Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times that the players will start working out on their own if the lockout continues:
“‘Right now, we’re not in a huge rush,’ Cutler said, noting that the emphasis is for players to begin getting in shape. ‘April was still a month that we ran and lifted.
“‘If we’re locked out by May, we’re definitely going to have to make something happen.’”
Jensen goes on to do one of his personal profile specialties by describing the lessons learned in Cutler’s trip to Kenya.
- Matt Williamson at Scouts Inc. breaks down Chester Taylor’s situation. Its not good. Taylor needs to put up some numbers this season.
“[Matt] Forte produced rather well behind the same blocking, averaging 4.5 yards per rush. In fact, I am having a difficult time coming up with a running back who had a worse 2010 season than Taylor. He will turn 32 during the 2011 season, and it is conceivable that we have already seen the best that Taylor has to offer and that his signing in Chicago will go down as a massive mistake.
“In a way, Taylor is too much like Forte — but lesser in all regards. Taylor has been at his best when he can thrive on third downs and use his receiving skills. But Forte is the superior route runner and overall weapon in this department, which is of extra importance in Mike Martz’s offensive scheme.”
- John Mullin at CSNChicago.com writes about North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin’s character issues. Austin has been connected to the Bears in at least a couple mock drafts.
- Mullin believes that the Bears are targeting Green Bay Packer Cullen Jenkins in free agency. I’m not sure how Jenkins would do as a nose guard in the Bears version of the 4-3 but no one would know better than Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.
- Jeff Dickerson checks in with the number one and number two rated Bears draft busts and draft steals. Dickerson certainly hit these on the head. But much as I despise Cedric Benson, I think I would have reversed it and put first rounder Michael Haynes as the number one bust. At least Benson performed in tandem with Thomas Jones, if only for a short period.
- Albert Breer at NFL.com describes the developing trends in this draft. Its apparently a good year to be drafting late as the Bears are:
“’You might have five players you’re comfortable with in the top five, and the other guys are a projection based on potential,’ said an AFC personnel director. ‘But 17-32, it’ll be very strong. You could get a defensive lineman who could start immediately at 25. You could get a left tackle at 27 or 28 who’ll start for you. And those are premium positions. They’re not elite, but there are guys who’ll play and play for you for a long time in those groups.’
“The NFC personnel exec said there are ‘Jordan Grosses, not Jonathan Ogdens’ to be had late in the first round. Good if you’re, say, the Steelers with a need for a tackle at No. 31. Not so good if you have that same need and you’re the Bills at No. 3, though it might mean teams in that position can wait until the second round to get their man.”
- Chad Reuter at NFLDraftScout.com asks one of the most vital questions about the draft if you are a Bears fan: How many quarterbacks will be drafted early? Teams looking to get a QB will a) provide potential trading partners for the Bears at the end of the first round and/or b) gobble up picks in front of the Bears leaving better non-quarterback prospects to fall to them.
- We welcome back ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert from vacation by citing his look at who was taken in the last seven drafts in the positions that the NFC North teams currently sit in. I generally agree with his take on the Bears spot at 29:
2010: Cornerback Kyle Wilson (New York Jets)
2009: Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (New York Giants)
2008: Defensive end Kentwan Balmer (San Francisco 49ers)
2007: Offensive guard Ben Grubbs (Baltimore Ravens)
2006: Center Nick Mangold (New York Jets)
2005: Defensive back Marlin Jackson (Indianapolis Colts)
2004: Wide receiver Michael Jenkins (Atlanta Falcons)
ANALYSIS: The bottom of the first round is a great place to find starting-caliber guards and centers. The top tackles are usually off the board. Fortunately for the Bears, they could use a guard or center just as much as a tackle. While coach Lovie Smith wants to bring back veteran center Olin Kreutz, a free agent, he will have to be replaced some day. And more depth at guard could allow the Bears to move 2008 first-round draft pick Chris Williams back to left tackle.
- Rafael Vela at the Cowboys Nation blog rates the tackle prospects. Bear in mind that the Cowboys really need someone for the right side. J’Marcus Webb is a known quantity on the right and an unknown quantity on the left. In addition, Chris Williams also probably better at right tackle than than anywhere else. So the Bears are stacked there and if they draft a tackle, they should probably be looking left or not at all.
- You can add defensive back Mistral Raymond to the list of prospects which has developed due to rumors of a South Florida-Chicago Bears connection. He’s got a scary story coming from what sounds like a scary neighborhood. Via Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune.
- Mullin, again, this time as he wonders if Da’Quan Bowers could drop into the Bears range. If he did it would be a mixed bag because it would mean that he got very bad news on his NFL Combine medical re-check.
- Omar Kelly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel talks Drew Rosenhaus and his opinions on the destructive nature of the NFL lockout. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the quality of play we’re going to see in 2011 (assuming there is any) is going to be affected if this drags on.
- Tom Silverstein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out the long-term effect of the lockout on player fitness:
“’We talked a lot about that,’ said former Green Bay Packers strength and conditioning guru Dave Redding, who retired in February, fully turning over the reins to associate Mark Lovat. ‘Some guys who don’t have structure are going to have problems.
“’I’m not naming names, but you’re going to have guys who shut it down and don’t do anything. Then when they come back, I think you’ll see an issue in training camp. The bigger linemen will have more problems. You’ll have muscle pulls and more fatigue injuries. You’ll see issues with hamstrings and quads.’”
- Charlie Waters at the Pioneer Press thinks Donovan McNabb will be a Viking.
- Kelly gives 12 things that NFL scouts and fans look for or should look for in prospects. Most of these are good points and this one was totally new to me:
“10. Offensive and defensive linemen with a wrestlers background get bonus points. That’s the hardest sport on earth because there’s no six minutes in sports that’s tougher. Those with wrestling backgrounds (I wrestled in high school) know how important leverage and hand placement is, and so do position coaches. So if you’re a former state wrestling champion you get brownie points.”
- Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press addresses an interesting and on going debate amongst NFL experts and fans about whether the Detroit Lions need an offensive tackle. Few draft gurus have offensive line ranked higher than third on their list of needs and even then its usually to call for an interior lineman. Birkett quotes Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki:
“I think they’ve had a glaring need at left tackle for a number of years, but they feel comfortable with Jeff Backus there, and they’re going to have to live with an injured quarterback if they continue to believe he’s going to be able to hold that left tackle position for them.”
- Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is one of the more intriguing prospects that has been falling on boards around the league. Pete Prisco thinks Fairley is a victim of the classic “paralysis-by-analysis” syndrome that takes place every year as personnel men around the league sit around a pick prospects apart.
- The Washington Redskins are on the clock at ESPN:
- As are the Dallas Cowboys:
- I guess baseball fans at the ball park have to take their entertainment wherever they can get it. From the Sports Pickle:
One Final Thought
In the “ask a stupid question…” department , we have this Tweet from a UConn fan on the day of their NCAA tournament game (again via the Sports Pickle):