Conor Cook as a First Round Pick Sounds Like Trouble for Someone

I found the answer that Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune gave to this question to be interesting:

“Will the Bears take Connor Cook if he is on the board with their second-round pick? — @TommyGlodo

“I spoke with two scouts earlier this week and both are projecting Cook to be a late first-round pick at this point. If Cook were to slide into the second round, I don’t know if he would make it to the Bears. Given the value of the position and the number of teams in need, it’s easily conceivable that four are selected in Round 1 with Cook folowing Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch (put those three in whatever order you would like). Cook has plenty of game experience from Michigan State but will probably take some time to develop. He’d be interesting if he’s still around when the Bears are on the clock in Round 2 but that might be a longshot at this point.”

Having just participated in a mock draft with representatives of 32 teams, I can say with some certainty that observers on the outside looking in don’t entirely agree with Biggs’ scouts. Most seem to think that Paxton Lynch will be the player to fall to late in the first round with a team trading up to get him in the usual manner, possibly into the 17-19 range to get ahead of the Jets at 20.  Lynch cold use a year of seasoning behind a veteran.

Having said that, as someone who likes the top three quarterbacks better than most, I could easily see Lynch going as high as the top 10 picks. If that happens, a desperate team could target Cook, who is large step below those three to my eye but who does have the physical stature to give the hint of some potential. But his intangibles are questionable and, even worse, his accuracy is very suspect. Strangely, it seems to be the short throws, rather than the intermediate routes, that trip him up.

I pity the team that pulls off this trade should it come to pass. Cook with a couple years of development as a third round pick could – maybe – eventually become a decent NFL quarterback. At least he’d have the chance. But as a first round pick who is likely expected to start in a high pressure situation immediately? This would be a problem for Lynch but a disaster for Cook.

Under those circumstance, Cook looks to me like he’s got the potential to break hearts and kill coaches anywhere he goes.

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Brian Hoyer Could to Be a Bear by the End of the Week

Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports is reporting that former Texans (among others) quarterback Brian Hoyer “is expected” be a Chicago Bear by the end of the week. Hoyer is waiting around to see if the Denver Broncos will sign him as a potential starter first.

My first inclination was to scoff at this report. Hoyer is 30 years old and the Bears have been looking for younger players with upside in free agency to this point. And it would seem to me that there are plenty of teams out there with bigger needs at quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys come to mind, as their season was literally tanked by a fragile Tony Romo collar bone.

But I’m gradually coming to terms with this possibility now. The Bears probably don’t have a lot of confidence in either David Fales or Matt Blanchard as a number two quarterback at this point. A veteran back up might well help ease the transition for new offensive coordinator in Dowell Loggains.

Should Hoyer be signed it will set up a very interesting and intense competition between Fales, Blanchard and a potential draft pick as the developmental back up.

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Talking Tantalizing Tayo Fabuluje

Yeah, I know.  The title.  I stink at titles.

Anyway, Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune is kind enough to answer a question from this ignorant blogger:

“Competition seems to be intense at guard with the acquisition of Ted Larsen and Manny Ramirez. But not so much at tackle where Charles Leno and Bobby Massie seem to be penciled in with little behind them at the moment. True, the draft is still ahead of us. But is part of it that the Bears anticipate that Tayo Fabuluje will take a step up and provide competition for a job this summer? Is it possible he’ll win one? – Tom S., Chicago

“You make a good point and the Bears are no doubt expecting more from Fabuluje this summer. He was not in adequate shape when training camp opened last year and then missed time during the season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. In a perfect world, Fabuluje can be the swing tackle. I don’t that they’re going to get there with him this season. It’s possible but it could take some more time. Let’s remember he was a sixth-round draft pick from TCU. I think he’s probably best suited at right tackle and don’t know if he has the feet and agility to play on the left side. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll certainly be worth watching in training camp. I’d bet the Bears look to add a tackle at some point in the draft (earlier than sixth round) or see what kind of veteran possibilities there are to compete as a swing tackle after the draft. Fabuluje is definitely worth keeping an eye on entering Year 2.”

I might be exaggerating this but I think (pre-draft) that what Fabuluje does this summer might be the most interesting issue of training camp along with how wide receiver Kevin White performs.

Fabuluje has very quick feet for a guy that big (6’6″, 353 lb). Are they quick enough to fill the right tackle position? Very hard to say. It may be a bad assumption to make but I expect a guy with that size to be able to run block naturally. I also can imagine guys rushing quarterback Jay Cutler and being engulfed in that bulk. If he can pass protect, he’ll be a fascinating prospect.

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Greg Hardy Is Angry that Aldon Smith Was Signed Before He Was

Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com notes that Greg Hardy got upset when he saw that fellow free agent Aldon Smith got signed before he did.

“Who’s worse, Hardy or Smith? That’s a hard question to answer. But Smith got no signing bonus and nothing guaranteed from the Raiders, and Smith remains suspended by the NFL and won’t even be eligible for reinstatement until November. So the Raiders weren’t taking much of a risk when they signed him.

“NFL teams do think, however, that signing Hardy is a risk. He was suspended after an ugly domestic violence accusation in 2014 with the Panthers, he clashed with teammates and coaches in 2015 with the Cowboys, and he showed no remorse for his actions in an interview that aired this week on ESPN.”

It’s evident that Hardy has no idea just how radioactive he is right now. Smith has had a long list of legal issues but they’re nothing compared to a remorseless animal who beats women. The NFL wears pink in October in support of breast cancer victims and is trying desperately to increase its appeal to women. signing Hardy sends a bad message that dmages not just the reputation of the team that signs him, but that of the whole league.

There is one other thing that is affecting Hardy’s ability to find a team to take him on and it is arguably more important to at least some of the teams with a reputation for signing dodgy players. Given a chance to show that he can still perform on the field, Hardy produced just six sacks and only 1.5 after Thanksgiving.

It was bad enough that Hardy found a place with the Cowboys last year. But combine his performance in 2015 with his past and the bet here is no team will sign him now no matter the financial risk.

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Charles Leno is Your Left Tackle. Deal With It.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“Why does it seem like the Bears are always one change short to better the offensive line? They have improved their backups with experienced lineman and got Bobby Massie but why the heck don’t they get another tackle on the other side where Charles Leno is a career backup at best? Tell me where is the other tackle to complete the moves they made on the line? They have plenty of money and are well under the cap. So what’s the deal? — Paul B., Arlington Heights”

“The Bears believe Leno is much better than a career backup and they’re willing to give him an opportunity to prove it. I thought he was pretty solid in 13 starts last season and I don’t remember re-watching games last season and thinking, ‘this guy is totally out of place.’ It was quite the opposite. Did I miss something in evaluating him in 2015? The Bears had far bigger problems than their left tackle in a 6-10 season.”

Biggs didn’t miss anything. I would say that most people with eyes understood that Leno had a solid year.

Fans and members of the media who believe that left tackle is a priority because Leno isn’t good enough fall generally into three categories:

1. People who see what they expect to see.

Leno was a seventh round pick and people just assume that he won’t be up to the task of playing what is one of the more difficult positions on the field. So that’s what they assume is happening when they watch the games. I have little patience for fans like this and I’m guessing that Paul B. is one of them.

2. People who saw Leno play right tackle in the preseason last year and just assume that he can’t play on the left.

This is a completely false assumption. In fact, Leno seems to have been born to play on the left side. His athleticism seems to come out and shine when he plays against the more athletic pass rushers that he sees on that end of the offensive line. On the other hand, he wasn’t the kind of big, bruising player that is going to be as effective on the right.

You might also need to account for the fact that a light may have come on for Leno after the preseason causing him to simply play better once the real games started.

3. People who see a solid performance from Leno in 2015 but don’t trust him to continue in 2016.

This one, I understand. And for that reason I think the Bears are undoubtedly looking to bring in at least one other tackle that they think can compete for a spot, play reasonably well if Leno regresses or fails to progress, and act as a back up. And, of course, if they see someone in the draft that they think can upgrade the position, they may do that.

But short of this, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Charles Leno is your left tackle in 2016 and fans are just going to have to deal with that reality.

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What Do the Bears Really Think of Their Running Back Situation?

Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com answers your questions:

“From @Blackhawks1963: What do [Ryan] Pace and [John] Fox REALLY think of their current running back assortment?”

“[Jeremy] Langford showed enough as a rookie to believe they have something to develop there, but he still averaged a half yard less per carry than Matt Forte did on a like number of carries, in the same offense and behind the same O-line. He is still a prospect they found in the fourth round.

“[Ka’Deem] Carey is a situational back at best, possibly their short-yardage and between-the-tackles guy, but he’s a liability in the passing game and dangerous in pass protection. Carey appears to be a No. 3 at best.

“Their alleged move on [C.J.] Anderson suggests they’d agree with that breakdown.”

I don’t think they would.

Arkush characterizes Carey as a “situational” back but that’s not how they used him. He and Langford and Forte were used in all situations for whole series up and down the field.

The truth of the matter is that it was Carey’s development in pass protection and, in particular, on special teams that made Forte available. They couldn’t put a back up running back who didn’t play special teams onto the field. Once he showed that he could perform there, Forte’s fate was sealed.

The Bears obviously believe that a team of Langford, Carey and Jacquizz Rogers is adequate. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved and if the right guy comes along, either in free agency or the draft, they’re going to try to try to create competition there.

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Bears Working Hard on the Interior Offensive Line. Offensive Tackle Still an Area for Improvement.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reports on the signing of free agent guard/centers Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen.

“The addition of Ramirez and Larsen effectively replaces Will Montgomery and Vladimir Ducasse from a year ago. It’s expected the Bears will give Hroniss Grasu, the third-round pick from a year ago, the first opportunity to claim the starting center job. If he falters, they have two experienced options in place and a potential backup for guards Kyle Long and Matt Slauson.”

Given that Montgomery spent most of last season on IR and that Ducasse left a lot to be desired at guard, each of these signings at once both upgrades the depth and creates legitimate competition for spots along the interior of the offensive line.

However, you now have to wonder if quite a bit of work is left to create the same sort of situation at offensive tackle. Recent signing Bobby Massie is penciled in at right tackle and represents an upgrade not so much because of his own abilities as that because it moves of Long back to guard. We’ll have to wait until the team hits the field to know for sure but Massie leaves a lot to be desired in pass protection by reputation.

Similarly Charles Leno was a pleasant surprise last year on the left but there’s little guarantee that he’ll take the next step and go from adequate to good or great.

The most promising back up possibility is Tayo Fabuluje, a massive raw talent that will need to show that he has developed a great deal to justify the back up spot, let alone compete with either starter.

The lack of activity at offensive tackle is by no means alarming and there’s plenty of time to find alternatives. But it does make you wonder if the team doesn’t see the possibility of taking one reasonably high in the draft, perhaps Ronnie Staley or Jack Conklin.

Generally speaking, what the Bears do in the next month will tell us a lot about what they see as the direction the draft may take them in.

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Ten Thoughts on the Bears Offseason Midway Through Free Agency

Spring brings renewal and never more so than with major league baseball and spring training. Like most sports, the offseason in baseball is a time to unwind and relax. The suspense builds as another season draws near because fans miss the sport after literally not thinking about it for at least four months.

Not so with professional football, which has a yearly calendar like no other sport. Football fans find interesting things to think about year around and it’s often the happenings in the offseason that introduce the issues that are most interesting to follow as the season begins. Football fans never stop thinking about football.

With that in mind, here are ten thoughts on the Bears offseason midway through free agency.

1. The Bears now have two long snappers on the roster: the newly signed Aaron Brewer and the long snapper that the Bears finished with last year, Patrick Scales. Scales, a journey man who has bounced around the league since he went undrafted to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, was signed in late November by the Bears to replace Thomas Gafford in as effort to upgrade the position. He’s still on the roster and apparently will be given a chance to compete to win the starting job but it’s now evident that the Bears still aren’t happy with the performance at the position since Patrick Mannelly retired before the 2014 season.

The Bears evidently hope that the 25 year old Brewer, who spent the last four seasons snapping for the Broncos including three under Bears head coach John Fox, will solve the problem though it isn’t obvious that he will have the edge going into camp. It isn’t evident why Brewer was released by the Broncos.

“There are always decisions being made at the end of the season as you get ready for free agency,’’ Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. “Aaron did a good job for us. … He’s been a consistent snapper. We’ve got to go replace him and it will be tough.’’

Scales is slightly older at 28  and has a salary of only $525,000 this year and none of that is guaranteed while Brewer signed a one-year deal for $760,000, also not guaranteed.

Long-snapper is an underrated position in that you never notice it until something goes wrong. It may be instructive to pay a bit more attention to the fine details this year like the strength of the snap and the ball placement as fans handicap the competition. In the end, though, consistency will be the major factor and that will come across only in camp as each man makes snap after snap under the watchful eye of special teams coordinator Jeff Rogers.

In any case, may the best man win.

2. Two things are worth noting about the Bears approach to free agency this year. The first is that the Bears have been unrelenting in their pursuit of strictly young talent.

Danny Trevathon (26), Jerrell Freeman (29), Bobby Massie (26), Nick Becton (26), Akiem Hicks (26), Jacquizz Rogers (26) and Mitch Unrein (29) are all under the age of 30 and the three major signings (Trevathan, Massie and Hicks) are 26 years old. Only Zack Miller (31) and Tracy Porter (30) are 30 or older and the Bears have extensive experience with both as resignings.

It’s now evident that the Bears are trying to make up for poor drafts in the past in a particular way. Had those drafts from a few years ago been good, the Bears would now be trying to sign their own rather than dipping into free agency. So they’re doing the next best thing – signing young players as if they were signing their own draft picks to second contracts.

The Bears are basically betting on their coaching staff to get these players in and to make them into better values than they were with their previous teams, who chose not to re-sign them.

Given the way the team over achieved last year given their talent, I like the approach.

3. The second thing to note is that the Bears approach to free agency has been a cautious one and, to their credit, they haven’t overpaid for some of the young talent that they’ve signed. But it’s also worth pointing out that they have kept the price down by addressing easy to find needs in free agency.

Inside linebacker has been a major focus and rightfully so. It was a major weakness last year and Trevathan and Freeman will be huge upgrades this season over Shea McClellin and Christian Jones. Addressing right tackle with Massie could pay huge dividends if for no other reason than it move Kyle Long back to right guard, at minimum making that position considerably stronger. Massie will be no worse than Long was last year in his first year at right tackle. and promises to improve the run game considerably.

But holes remain at the hard to find positions, pass rusher, defensive back, and, Unrein and Hicks aside, defensive line where an impact player is still needed.

For instance, assuming the Bears wanted to stay young at the position, the price of a pass rusher would have been unbelievable. Olivier Vernon only had 7.5 sacks last year but signed a contract for an astounding $85 million with $52.5 million guaranteed with the New York Giants. Admittedly most of those sacks came late in the year in an fantastic salary drive in a contract year for Vernon. If he keeps up the pace he finished with, he’ll earn that money. But most people think the Giant overpaid and I tend to agree. It’s a huge risk and the Bears evidently wanted no part of it or anything like it.

Look for the Bears to remain economical by drafting heavily at these positions in April’s main event.

4. Speaking of defensive backs, the Bears apparently liked Tashaun Gipson of the Browns but the sense was his market went higher than they were comfortable with when he signed in Jacksonville for $35.5 million over five years. If the Jaguars get the Gipson that was a Pro Bowl performer in 2014 for the Browns, it’s money well spent. If they get the Gipson that was on the field last year, it’s not going to end well.

This will be a situation to keep an eye on next year as it will interesting to see if the Bears should have pursued Gipson harder, particularly given their troubles at the safety and that they haven’t made any signings to fill the hole.

5. Tight end also remains a position to be addressed in the draft. Khari Lee came over in a trade with the Texans just before the start of last season and Gannon Sinclair was the only player to spend the entire season on the team’s practice squad. Both of them are more blocking tight ends than they are receivers like Zach Miller. Veteran Rob Housler can also block a little.

The obvious assumption is that the Bears will draft a tight end this year and though the draft is thin at the position, there is talent to be found there.  It’s just a risky pick because very few players are asked to block in the spread offenses that are predominant in college.

In particular, Ohio State’s Nick Vannett impressed me at the Senior Bowl as a guy who has the skills to be a receiving threat and at 6’6″, 260 lb, has at least the size to be a blocker.

The 6’4″, 230 lb Lee was a disappointment last year. He came for a sixth round pick and the assumption was the he would contribute immediately. He did play in each of the 16 games but his impact on the offense was minimal. Apparently last year was a red shirt year for the 24 year old and I’m looking for a major jump from Lee this year.

6. One major reason that the Bears are remaining economical in free agency is that they have the contract for Alshon Jeffery yet to be worked out. The efforts to resign Jeffery are ongoing and persistent.

“We’re actively and aggressively negotiating right now,” Pace declared at NFL scouting combine.

The Bears placed a $14 million-plus franchise tag on Jeffery on Feb. 29. The fact that Jeffery signed that offer was critical to his offseason because his salary is now fully guaranteed against skill, injury and salary cap maneuvers.  If he gets hurt, he still gets paid.  Though Jeffery might still fail to show up for workouts because his salary will not be guaranteed beyond this year, the fact that he signed the offer indicates to me that he probably will.  Otherwise there’s little reason to sign the offer and give up the right to negotiate with other teams.

Jeffery has had soft tissue problems over the last few years and there is a plan in place to solve the issue.

“I think being in Year 2 with a player helps a lot in just understanding his body and his body mechanics,” Pace said. “I know (Alshon) and his agent are doing some things, too, to improve on that. So when he gets back, we’ll have a plan in place. It’s important.”

It is.  And getting Jeffery in for those workouts will undoubtedly be a part of it.

Dez Bryant signed a 5 year contract for $70 million with $45 million guaranteed before the 2015 season and Jeffery’s contract will likely equal or exceed that. Presumably some of that will appear as easy to reach incentives for Jeffery to remain with the program to avoid injury.

7. Look for Jeffery’s contract to be at least a little front-loaded in terms of the cap hit.

First, this is the way that the Bears like to work anyway. It allows them to easily get out of any contract with minimal dead money on the cap. But there is an even better reason for it this year than that.

The last season of Long’s four year rookie contract is 2016. Though the Bears will undoubtedly pick up Long’s fifth year option, it is highly unlikely that they will allow him to play out that contract and hit the market in 2018.

The Bears are undoubtedly thinking about the extension that they’ll be negotiating for Long next offseason and they are planning their cap space, which should still be ample, accordingly.

8. The running back situation for the Bears is a curious one.

The Bears spent a good part of the offseason convincing us that their future lay with 2015 fifth round pick Jeremy Langford and hold over Ka’Deem Carey. For a long time there was doubt that Carey would remain on the team but his development on special teams allowed the Bears to get him onto the game day roster the second half of the season and he responded by running well. Rogers was actually ahead of Carey on the depth chart last year before getting hurt.

The Bears will undoubtedly continue to favor the multi-back system that they ran last year and based upon their comments the assumption was that Langford, Carey and Rogers were the guys.

But the Bears pursuit of Denver running back C.J. Anderson changed all of that and many are wondering now if they might be interested in picking up another running back in the draft.

Indeed, Pace has a history of collecting running backs and he’s been known to pull major surprises by drafting players such as Mark Ingram in the first round of the 2011 draft (under general manager Mickey Loomis).

With this in mind, I’ve seen some thoughts floated that the Bears might draft Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. Indeed, the NFL Network‘s Charles Davis has Elliot going to the Bears with the 11th pick.

but I very much doubt that will happen as my gut tells me that Elliot will be gone before the Bears are on the clock. Although there are some who think that it is a mistake to draft a running back that high, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Elliot isn’t the reason why the Eagle traded up with the Dolphins to the eighth position as free agency began this year.

Many have looked at where Todd Gurley was drafted last year and figured that is the highest Elliot will go, putting the Bears in a position to draft him but I don;t believe it. Gurley is a wonderful runner but Elliot is a smooth, all around athlete that can do it all: run block and catch. He’s not just a running back. He’s a weapon.

I might add that after years of being de-valued, the running back position is experiencing something of a renaissance this year. Anderson, Matt Forte, Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, and Bilal Powell to name a few all got signed in a decent market this year.

The Eagles have already traded running back Demarco Murray and they have reportedly made it known that remaining running back Ryan Matthews is also available. Though Andy Reid often threw the ball an inordinate amount of the time as the Eagles head coach, he relied much more heavily on the run when current head coach Doug Pederson was his offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Expectations are that Pederson will carry that philosophy over from the Chiefs. But that can’t happen if he trades his starting running backs away. The bet here is that he has Elliot in mind as a replacement and will draft him at eighth overall.

9. The NFL’s 32 owners were busy when they convened in Florida last week for their annual meeting given the number of proposed rule changes that had to be considered.

One rule that is not changing despite a mass of confusion is the catch rule.

One of the most memorable quotes of the 2015 season was uttered by frustrated Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy after a playoff game against Arizona in January.

“I don’t know what the hell a catch is anymore,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Despite this statement and many like it, the NFL persists in believing that the relevant people associated with the league understand the rule. They believe that the problem might simply be in communicating the rule more clearly to fans and to the broadcasters who influence their opinion.

The league might continue to delude itself but the rest of us are more apt to believe the evidence of our eyes.

The good news is that, despite their declarations, the league might be taking steps to clarify the situation for the referees on the field. The first of those was having Dean Blandino on the phone for replay reviews to inject some consistency into the interpretation.

In January, during the divisional round playoff game between the Packers and Cardinals to which McCarthy is referring above, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught a pass while going to the ground. He lost possession when he hit the ground, and the official on the field determined that Fitzgerald had caught the ball. Unlike previous calls which had been reversed in such a situation, this one stood as the referee (and Blandino) ruled that “indisputable visual evidence” to overturn the ruling on the field that Fitzgerald had the ball long enough to become a runner was lacking.

The situation caused confusion because it was exactly the same as one that existed in the playoffs the previous season. In that case, the ruling was incorrectly reversed and Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was ruled to have not made a crucial catch. It arguably cost them the game.

The truth is that though the league never acknowledged that the Bryant ruling was incorrect, the Fitzgerald catch was effectively an admission of it.

Bottom line, the key to clarifying the catch rule isn’t educating the fans and broadcasters. It’s educating the referees. Once that’s done, the standard will be consistent and complaints will tail off.

10. The Browns have decided to hitch their wagon to Robert Griffin III at quarterback. They signed the still young 26 year old to a two-year, $15 million contract with $6.75 million in total guaranteed money.

Most assume that the Browns will still draft a quarterback with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft and, indeed, they might. Conventional wisdom says that the odds of rediscovering the player that took the league by storm in 2012 are not good. Drafting a quarterback to play behind Griffin, Josh McCown, Connor Shaw and/or Austin Davis to develop for a year would seem to be the way that most teams would play it.

But the Browns aren’t most teams and that may be especially true this year.

The Browns hired Paul DePodesta away from the New York Mets as the team’s chief strategy officer. DePodesta is expected to help members of the team’s player-development, sports-science, high-performance and analytics departments maximize their efforts – think money ball for the NFL.

This development could be a fascinating one because it indicates that the Browns may be going all-in on analytics, something that other teams are experimenting with but which is combined with the more traditional approach to building a team.

So though conventional wisdom says draft a quarterback with the pick, what if the analytics say “No”? There have been plenty of busted quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the draft and its generally ruined multiple careers from the general manager down when it’s happened. What if DePodesta has run the numbers and his version of reality indicates that the odds are better of developing a recycled quarterback into a success?

And better yet, what if he’s right?

Things are never dull with the NFL.

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Defensive Backfield Still a Major Area of Focus For the Bears

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers more of your questions:

“I never hear the Bears talking about a hard hitting safety. Is this in the plans? — @Kcprof926 “

“I’m taking a wait-and-see approach with the safety position. The Bears might be looking for a younger and speedier replacement for Antrel Rolle but they’ve yet to add that player.”

I would say that’s a good bet.

One thing is certain. The Bears still have a lot of work to do in the defensive backfield and I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a focus in the draft.

Name Pos Height Weight Age
Bausby, De’Vante
CB 6-2 179 23
Callahan, Bryce CB 5-10 185 24
Fuller, Kyle CB 6-0 194 24
Glenn, Jacoby CB 6-0 180 22
McManis, Sherrick CB 6-1 197 28
Porter, Tracy CB 5-11 190 29
Amos, Adrian FS 6-0 218 22
Hurst, Demontre S 5-10 183 25
Jones-Quartey, Harold S 5-11 215 22
Rolle, Antrel S 6-0 206 33 12
Jefferson, Anthony SS 6-1 198 23

Your starters are Fuller, Porter, Callahan (nickel), Amos and Rolle. There are some other good, young players on this list but they are mostly still unknown quantities. In particular, a safety with more range than Rolle should be at the top of the Bears list. Callahan is also still developing and no one really knows what he’s going to be yet. At minimum, depth at corner is still an issue.

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Over 30? Bears Are Not Interested.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“Would James Jones make any sense for a year? I’m not comfortable with just Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White leading the way given limited appearances. — @garretson_jeff “

“I don’t believe the Bears have any interest in him right now. What happens when you bring in a player like Jones is it limits opportunities for younger players that could be developing. The Bears would like to see more from Marquess Wilson and then you’ve got options like Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy that are worthy of a look this spring and summer.”

It always surprises me when someone asks a question like this because, with all due respect, it often means that they’ve completely missed the point of what the Bears are doing.

The Bears are in full rebuilding mode right now. They aren’t interested in players over 30 years old. In fact, the only player that they’ve signed this offseason that is 30 was cornerback Tracy Porter and their previous experience with him probably played a factor there.

The Bears aren’t interested in players on one-year deals. They want young building blocks that will be around for years to come. Perhaps they’ll be signing some older players to one-year prove it deals after the draft to plug remaining holes. But those will be out of absolute necessity because they can’t find value elsewhere and the definitely aren’t interested right now.

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