What if Marcus Mariota Actually Fell to the Seventh Pick? It’s Not an Easy Question Anymore.

Nate Atkins at chicagofootball.com makes the case for the Bears to draft Marcus Mariota if they get the chance:

“Mariota will need time to grow, which is just a continuation of the path he’s been on for years. In the two years between committing to the Ducks and becoming their starter, Mariota made football his life, transforming from an overly emotional teenager to one of the most stoic stars in the game.

“He drew Oregon’s gazillion plays on school notebooks so he could teach them to teammates in practice. He wrote his entire Heisman acceptance speech on a piece of photo paper so he could follow it in one of the toughest moments of his life. Process is his refuge.”

“You reach a point in staring into the eyes of a man that you start to see the person he’s becoming rather than the one he just left behind. In Mariota, you see all the tools – the 6-4, 225-pound frame; the 4.52 speed; the strong arm; and the instantaneous release – and maybe the question to ask isn’t if, but when?”

This is some nice insight in a well-written article. Mariota (below) has risen in the estimation of many evaluators in the media as they’ve had more and more time to study him.  It seems that many are realizing that he did more in the Oregon offense that translates to the pro game than they had originally thought.


Atkins seems to take seriously the idea that Tennessee would trade the second overall pick for the Bears pick and Jay Cutler. He doesn’t say so but I’m sure he realizes that the Bears would have to throw in more.

More likely the question of whether the Bears should take Mariota will come if he actually falls to the seventh pick. Last week I would have said, “Trade down and take the extra picks.” The Bears have needs all over the field and the opportunity to take more than one young, cheap playmaker with an extra pick or two would be too great to pass up.  But now I’m not so sure that Mariota isn’t going to be the answer at the most important position in football. For someone at least.

Forte’s Absence Strengthens the Possibility that the Bears Will Draft a Runningback

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune explains the situation surrounding runningback Matt Forte‘s absence from minicamp:

“Forte announced via Twitter that he worked out at Bommarito’s, an athletic performance center in South Florida, and after the Tribune reported he was not present at Halas Hall, he took to the social media site again.

“‘Relax everybody,’ Forte wrote. ‘It’s called voluntary W/O for a reason. I’ve always been there especially when it counts!'”

“It is a delicate situation for new general manager Ryan Pace and [head coach John] Fox, who has typically used a committee approach to the position. While Forte has been tremendously durable and productive, he’s a high-mileage back with 2,260 touches since his rookie season of 2008.”

As Forte suggests, I’m relaxed about this. I don’t doubt he’ll be in shape after working out in Florida – there are few players I would be so sure about.


However, Forte is missing the opportunity to work with coaches in the classroom as they install a new scheme. I’m not saying it takes a brain surgeon to figure out or that he couldn’t catch up. But it would be better if he were here getting familiar with new surroundings and new responsibilities.

With Forte not attending workouts and seeking what will be an expensive contract extension, you wonder if the Bears aren’t going to play hardball and have Forte play though the end of his contract. Its a good year for runningbacks in the draft and teams don’t like to take them too high. With Fox’s preference for a runningback by committee approach, and with Forte’s age and mileage, the Bears were bound to take one anyway. Based upon my experience participating in mock drafts and looking over existing ones in the media, I’d say there’s a very good chance one will be the best available player or nearly the best available player through the middle rounds.