Faster Than the Speed of Television

I was talking to a friend the other day about Game of Thrones.  I told him that, as is the case most of the time, the books are better than the show and that he should consider reading them.  He looked at me like I’d just suggested that he do the Iditarod with a team of schnauzers in his bare feet and said, “Dude, they’re about 900 pages long.”

Sometimes I feel like that’s what modern life is all about.  Progress isn’t about doing things better as much as it is about doing them faster.  Instant gratification is never instant enough.

We’re wrapping up,  the mock draft I’ve been participating in and the Bears picks are in the books.  To review, I took linebacker C.J. Mosley in the first round and Deone Bucannon in the second.  The Bears have their safety, albeit an imperfect one, but they desperately need a defensive tackle that can start .  That means I either pick one in the third round or they burn me in effigy all over Chicago.

Here’s what my board looked like:

Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
Daquan Jones, DT, Penn State
A. J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
Trai Turner, OG, LSU
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice

I think you see the problem.  The first four are, once again, offensive players (I love McCarron).  Jones will be a good defensive tackle but he’s strictly a two gap nose guard that can’t rush the passer and wouldn’t fit the Bears defense.  Then more offense until we get to Breeland, the best cornerback available.  There wasn’t another defensive tackle that I thought would fit the Bears for another 10 spots down my list (Shamar Stephen).

What could I do?  I took Breeland.

Once again, Breeland is a good value here.  He’s a jack of all trades cornerback who does everything reasonably well. He’s a tad short for my tastes but his versatility would fit in with the new Bears defensive philosophy, he’d provide much needed depth at the position and he’ll be ready to replace an aging Charles Tillman when the time comes to do so. Tillman was injured for a good part of last year even when he played. The odds are good Breeland would see some time on the field this year and provide immediate help.

I don’t regret the pick.  But I was left to take the best fourth round defensive tackle available.  Unlike the third round, there were several that I knew would fit and would be worth the pick (Stephen, Kelcy QuarlesWill Sutton and maybe Zach Kerr in that order).  And, indeed, Stephen fell to me, once again providing good value for the pick.

But you find your starters in the first three rounds and without a an early defensive tackle, the consequences were obvious.

The problem is that as the Bears general manager I have to draft for the long haul.  You can’t really judge a class until 3-5 years after the picks and if Breeland and Mosely become good starters with just one of those first three picks making a Pro Bowl, people would say that my draft was a pretty good one.

But no one waits that long.  My draft gets a C- from Mel KiperTodd McShay gives it a D and it gets a “You suck” from the Belgian judge, all on national TV.  And everyone will be at least a little bit irritated that they had to wait until the last day of the draft to get the grades.

Such, I guess, is the way of life.

Safety May Not Be in the Bears’ First Round Future

Hub Arkush, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, looks at the Bears situation in round 1 of the 2014 NFL draft:

“Half the world wants to match three-technique defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the Bears, but for every list you’ve got that has him somewhere between 10 and 14, I’ll find you a list that has him somewhere between 22 and 40.”

I think you’re going to have a hard time finding many up to date lists that have Donald that low. My question about Donald is fit not talent.

“The last two members of the top 20 are probably safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, but the problem for the Bears is they fall somewhere between 19 and 24 on almost every list.”

Truth. I know the Bears need safety help but I don’t think Bears fans should get their hopes up that they’re going to get one in round 1. Having recently gone through the mock draft process I can tell you that reaching for a safety was not something I wanted to do. And according to almost every site out there with up to date rankings, it would have been a reach. I’ll be surprised if Bears general manager Phil Emery wants to do that any more than I did.

Bears Have to Stay Healthy on Offense to Thrive in 2014

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“What do you think is the more likely scenario: 1) With nearly the same offensive personnel returning, the Bears offense is even better this upcoming season in the second year of the Marc Trestman offense. 2) With a year of the Trestman offense on film for D-coordinators of the league to review more heavily, the Trestman offense will offer fewer surprises and revert to the mean. –Kevin, Chicago

“The Bears were very potent on offense last season, averaging 27.8 points per game to rank second behind the Broncos. Trestman has a better feel for his collection of talent now and certainly there is room for growth across the board on offense. Defenses probably have a better idea of what the Bears are doing too but I don’t see a significant drop off coming, especially if quarterback Jay Cutler remains healthy, which is a legitimate concern. Keep in mind the Bears were very healthy on offense last season with the exception of Cutler, who missed five games. That is always a wild card for every team on both sides of the ball.”

The last point is a huge one and one I’ve been worried about since the season ended. Expectations for the Bears offense are sky high this year but I think its possible that Beas fans should temper them.

Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all stayed healthy last year. I have my suspicions that Martellus Bennett had some issues but if he did, he played through them. I feel a little better about the offensive line but no one should feel comfortable with the back ups at any of these other positions.

The depth of the talent pool on offense is disturbingly shallow.