- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers this interesting question:
“If Quinton Coples begins to fall in the draft, should Chicago trade up and select him? If so what would it take for the Bears to move up five to seven selections? — Scott Dennler, Columbus Junction, Iowa
“I wouldn’t move up for Coples, and I’m not even sure I would take him if he fell to me if I was picking 19th. He has top-of-the-draft talent, but Coples doesn’t always play like it. NFL scouts question his motor, his passion for the game and his coachability. I think he is going to drop in the draft. To move up five to seven picks in the first round probably would not be cheap, either. It depends on how badly the trading team wants to move and if there is competition, but I would say it would probably cost a third-round pick for such a move.”
This answer surprised me because I’ve read a lot of good things about Couples. He’s currently at number nine in the Scouts Inc. Top 32 and number 13 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board at ESPN (though he’s slipping). So my initial thought was that the Bears would be extremely happy to have him. But obviously there’s a strong difference of opinion among scouts and where he goes could be one of the more interesting stories of the draft.
- ESPN’s draft expert KC Joiner has Stephen Hill as the best wide receiver in the draft. He has Ruben Randall as the second best. The Bears would likely trade down to target Hill but Randall is a legitimate possibility in the second round. Via ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert.
- Jeff Hughes at chicagonow.com makes the case for drafting LB Dont’a Hightower.
- Todd McShay at ESPN has the Bears taking OT Jonathan Martin in the first round. He has them getting TE Dwayne Allen in the second.
- Meanwhile Mel Kiper, also at ESPN, has them taking DE Whitney Mercilus from Illinois in the first round:
“Quick off the edge, Mercilus utilizes great anticipation and some natural gifts as a pass-rusher, with closing speed and long arms once he has the quarterback in sight. He’s coming off a brilliant final season for the Illini, and Rod Marinelli could do wonders with him. The Bears could use some pass-rushing insurance with Julius Peppers not getting any younger.”
He has them taking Randall in the second round.
- And Los Angeles Times columnist Sam Farmer came out with his mock draft:
“Chicago: OG David DeCastro, Stanford — Andrew Luck says DeCastro plays angry, and that’s just the kind of player who can help Chicago’s line. This also could be a spot for a receiver.”
I think most scouts would agree that DeCastro would be good value at this pick and the Bears would consider themselves luck to have him. They really need a tackle more than a guard but if they are going to be serious about drafting the best player available DeCastro’s probably their guy in this situation.
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune assesses the current state of the Bears:
“Anyway, [Brian] Urlacher’s point was that [GM Phil] Emery filled so many needs in free agency that the Bears don’t have to make the killer mistake of drafting for need, which leads to reaching for a player, which leads to bad evaluation, which leads to empty drafts, but enough about [former GM] Jerry Angelo.”
Its worth noting that Angelo worked this way, too. The problem is that, though he could often take the best player available, he couldn’t identify him. That’s know as a problem in execution, not planning.
“I know it’s still early and J’Marcus Webb hasn’t given up a sack yet, but I see a lot of Bears momentum right now. The arrow is pointing up for a team coming off a death spiral. I don’t just see them as a playoff possibility, but I expect them to challenge Green Bay and the Packers’ sloppy defense atop the division.”
“No, Stevie Sunshine isn’t smoking anything. Fortunately, the Detroit Lions are.”
- Mike Kliss at the Denver Post thinks Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Bates are a good fit for the Bears as they become the Denver Broncos east on offense.
- Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com reports that the Bears are interested in veteran guard/center Eric Steinbach.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams doesn’t seem too thrilled by the fact that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraged his players to hit his son in the head. His son plays for the 49ers and he has a history of concussions. Via Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune:
“Personally, suspension or not, it’s probably best I’m never in a room with Gregg Williams and wonder if such an order crosses the line of the aggressive, competitive spirit we all know and love about the sport; and leans closer to a criminal act and therefore a litigious matter.”
- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Bears will be wearing new jerseys made by Nike. The best news? No more orange uniforms will not return.
- Congratulations to Urlacher for not screwing this up:
- The Chicago Tribune reports that the new Nike uniforms will have built-in foam padding in the knee, thigh and belt. Many players remove such padding to increase their speed on the field. Though the story describes the padding as being “adjustable” one wonders if these players aren’t going to be forced to keep those pads in now.
- Though I believe the Saints deserved the punishment they got from the NFL over the “bounty scandal”, there is a part of me that figures that they aren’t the only guilty parties out there. As a Bears fan, you just hope it isn’t everybody and, in particular, you hope it isn’t your team. So it was nice to see ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert’s post which seeks to destroy the “happens all the time myth”.
- From Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com we have this abject lesson for the Bears with their apparent recent change in philosophy regarding finding guys with “football character”:
“Three of the Lions’ five draft picks last year have been arrested for possessing marijuana since the season ended, and that’s bringing into renewed focus what many observers said about the Lions’ 2011 draft class at the time: Detroit brought in some talented players, but some questionable characters.”
- On a related note Detroit’s Mikel Leshoure really needs a change in his diet. Via Siefert.
- The New York Post reports that owner Zygi Wilf wants Bill Parcells to come to Minnesota to run the organization. “Fat chance.” Get it?
- There are rumblings that the USFL may return as a true NFL minor league system. Via Florio.
- The “Christmas Ape” at Kissing Suzy Kolber goes off in this rant aimed at the Washington Post’s Michael Wilbon:
“Today’s shining example of Wilbon repugnance began with a rant about the Redskins. There’s nothing wrong with going off about the Redskins, per se, but when Wilbon does it, it’s usually in the service of defending a player for the wrong reasons or because it’s a player Wilbon claims he’s friends with. In this case, it’s Donovan McNabb, who last week got all pissy in saying he wasn’t used properly by the team, a story that clashed with the reality that McNabb had nothing left by the time he arrived in D.C.’His blast was the same as mine; it was great,’ Wilbon said. ‘I called him and said ‘Good, I’m glad you had the guts to say it. I know you’re getting ripped. Good.’ I’ve said it on our show. The Redskins, if the next Joe Montana fell out of the sky, why would anybody look at them and give them the benefit of doubt that they could get it right?’ Their quarterback utilizing skills are JUNK. Did you know that Wilbon is friends with McNabb? Has it dawned on you since the last four dozen times that Wilbon mentioned it? Makes sense; you would have to be extremely close with McNabb to compare him as a faded 34-year-old to a Hall of Famer in his prime. If you can’t gameplan for bounce passes to a receiver, what can you do?”
- From The Onion: Ryan Leaf Somehow Worse At Crime Than Football.
- And here’s Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino moments before his crash. Via The Sports Pickle:
One Final Thought
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears appear to be unlikely to resign Amobi Okoye.
“The Bears missed adding a defensive end in free agency when Jeremy Mincey re-signed with the Jaguars. They were successful in bringing back starting end Israel Idonije but now they could be faced with trying to add a third end and finding a replacement for Okoye and nose tackle Anthony Adams, who was released. That’s work that likely will have to be done in the draft.”
Biggs conclusion would appear to be further supported Vaughn McClure’s report, also for the Chicago Tribune, of the signings of cornerbacks Kelvin Haden and Jonathan Wilhite. Hayden is very experienced in the cover two defense from his days as a Colts. Unfortunately he’s also been often injured.
These were low risk, on year signings that weren’t for much money. But they were sorely needed. The depth at CB was practically non-existent and now that they Bears have some insurance at the position, they can take the best players available. As Biggs points out, the Bears obviously believe one or more of those players will likely be defensive linemen. McClure also points out that the Bears do plan to add depth at safety so that’s a real possibility as well.
In any case, one look at the roster tells you that the Bears are looking to draft a fair number of defensive players this year.