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Ten Thoughts on Chicago’s 2016 Draft & Aftermath

| May 1st, 2016

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(1) The Leonard Floyd pick will be the most heavily scrutinized moving forward but he will actually have little pressure on him in 2016. With Houston, Young and McPhee already situated at OLB, Floyd will be able to assimilate into Vic Fangio’s defense by doing what he does best: getting after the quarterback.

(2) Cody Whitehair is ready to play right now and the Bears should start him at left guard immediately. What does this mean? It means the team should follow the old offensive line maxim and play their best five. Leno. Whitehair. Slauson at center. Long. Massie.

(3) No, I’m not confident Hroniss Grasu is the future at center for the Bears. And that’s fine. You’re allowed to swing and miss in the name of athleticism. Giving him another season to develop, with Slauson at center, is probably the best thing for him.

(4) I like Pat O’Donnell. I really do. But North Dakota State’s Ben LeCompte – who accepted the Bears invite to camp – is a special player and a special kid. Don’t be surprised to see an actual competition emerge this summer. (The Bears didn’t go out and invite the best punter in the land to camp for no reason.) Read this piece on one of the best punting performances I’ve ever seen.

(5) I won’t be surprised to see Jonathan Bullard have a more productive Bears career thanFloyd and that’s not knocking Floyd. Bullard is a grinder. Staying away from all the draftspeak, Bullard just made life horrible for offensive linemen and he went up against some terrific ones in the SEC.

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Thoughts on Round One (With a Significant Bears Slant)

| April 29th, 2016

#1. Do I like the Bears selection of Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall pick in the draft? Honest to goodness, I have no idea. Adam Jahns spelled out the reasons this selection is no sure thing but the reasons the Bears made the move are clear: they wanted more speed and athleticism on the edge. They got it.

#2. The Bears moved up to get Floyd because the whole world, especially the whole world here in New York, knew the Giants coveted the Georgia linebacker. If the Giants value a pass rusher enough to make him a top ten pick, chances are he’s a damn good pass rusher. The last time the Giants got that position wrong in the draft was pre-George Young.

#3. This wasn’t the Bears choosing from what was left on the board when their time came to pick. This was the guy they wanted and they aggressively pursued him. For that, Ryan Pace should be applauded.

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Bears Select Leonard Floyd, Edge, Georgia

| April 29th, 2016

Linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) (Photo by Sean Taylor)

My thought:

He’s a freakish athlete and Pace/Fox/Fangio knew the Giants wanted Floyd. (It was not a well-kept secret in New York.) I love when organizations get the guy they want and the Bears did just that by trading up and getting the deal done. If he becomes a double-digit sack guy, the Bears will look back at this as one of the great trades in organization history.

The notes from CBS:

STRENGTHS: Has the requisite burst to surge past tackles as a speed rusher with underrated strength. He is surprisingly powerful at the point of attack, flashing dynamite in his hands with an effective hand slap to knock away blockers attempting to gain control.

His first-step burst and acceleration get him into the backfield quickly off the edge or knifing inside. Excellent movement skills for his tall, lengthy frame. Relentless nature and speed to collapse the pocket or chase down plays from behind. Because of his agility and closing speed, could move to a more traditional linebacker.

WEAKNESSES: The two major knocks on Floyd are weight and durability. Has lean bone structure with twig limbs, thin torso and scouts have concerns about how much weight he can add – looks like A.J. Green in his Georgia uniform, which isn’t a positive comparison for a pass rusher. Below-average functional strength.

Struggles to generate movement at the point of attack or convert speed to power. Too easily controlled on the edges. Can be eliminated by blockers when he doesn’t effectively use his length.

COMPARES TO: Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns – Neither players is known for ideal power features. Floyd and Mingo have lean athleticism and get-off quickness to threaten the edge and keep blockers guessing.

IN OUR VIEW: A highly intriguing size-length-athleticism prospect, Floyd can stab, dip and flatten around the edge, maintaining his balance without losing speed to the pocket. He is deadly in space, but Floyd’s lack of functional strength and growth potential are glaring concerns. One of the best athletes in this draft class, his is not one of the best football players and would need to land in a scheme that protects him in a niche role.

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The Possibilities at Eleven: Volume I

| April 18th, 2016

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The Bears website catalogued the players being mocked to the team by analysts across the country. Andrew Dannehy weighs in on each. This is the first of four volumes.

Prospect Profile: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Pros: Conklin is big (6’6″, 305) and nasty with exceptionally long arms (35 inches). He was al All-American playing against tough competition at Michigan State. Might not be a better pass-blocker than Charles Leno right away, but he has athletic upside and would immediately be a mauler in the run game.

Cons: His footwork makes him looks slow out of his stance at times. He’ll probably struggle against speed-rushers, which could be a major problem in a division with Clay Matthews. If he struggled at left tackle, the Bears really don’t have anywhere else to put him.

Summary: Conklin is a good prospect and one of my favorites tackle prospects in this draft. If the Bears are confident he can improve his footwork and play left tackle right away, he could very well be the pick. Personally, I’m not convinced he’s going to be an upgrade over Leno, in year one, anyway.

Jeff’s Thought: Aren’t the days of the tough, white Big Ten tackle over? When I watch Conklin I can’t imagine any scenario where he is able to block Von Miller.

Prospect Profile: Leonard Floyd, Edge, Georgia

Pros: At six-foot-six, Floyd showed exceptional agility and fluid hips, even running down the field with wide receivers at times last season. He can be a chess piece as he can drop in coverage and rush from a variety of positions on defense.

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