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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Rob Rang’s Draft Grades, Pompei on UFAs & Jordan Lynch

| May 13th, 2014

audibles

 I’M NOT ONE FOR DRAFT GRADES…

…but I gathered a lot of respect for Rob Rang when he released his final mock draft and was the only analyst out there projecting four safeties to the first round. So I was interested to see what he felt of the Bears selections. He likes em. A lot.

For a team that once prided itself for its defense, the Bears were toothless in 2013. General manager Phil Emery did a nice job of patching holes throughout the draft, however, adding a pro-ready corner in Kyle Fuller at No. 14 overall, a talented 1-2 punch at defensive tackle in run-stuffer Ego Ferguson and one of the top penetrators in Will Sutton and one of the more intriguing safeties in the class in Brock Vereen in the fourth. The Bears added insurance behind star Matt Forte with Ka’Deem Carey, who plays faster than he timed and is a strong, determined runner. Watch out for Day Three developmental prospects in quarterback David Fales and offensive lineman Charles Leno, each of whom could surprise in Marc Trestman’s scheme. Fuller and Ferguson come with some medical nicks and Sutton allowed himself to get out of shape in 2013. On paper, though, this ranks as one of the year’s best groups.

Here is what needs to happen for this Bears draft to be successful. Fuller is solid. One of the two defensive tackles sticks. Vereen contributes.

POMPEI ON UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

Dan Pompei is as well connected a writer as there is on the NFL beat and he had two interesting tidbits regarding a pair of UFAs.

First, on Wisconsin OL Ryan Groy:

I was a little surprised he was not drafted based on what scouts had told me about him before the draft. I had Groy rated as a fourth round pick, as some of the scouts I spoke with said he could go as high as the third or as late as the seventh. No one I spoke with thought he would go undrafted. One veteran scout even thought Groy could be an NFL starter. The knock on Groy, according to a few scouts, is he needs to get stronger and play more physically. “He doesn’t play as nasty as most Wisconsin guys,” one said. But listen to this from an NFC college scouting director: “He’s a rare player in that he has played every position on the line, and he is a good athlete in terms of mobility and fluidity. He’s smart and consistent. He’s a good player, I just wish he were more rugged.” A few scouts said Groy’s positional versatility will make him an ideal NFL backup.

Then, FSU linebacker Christian Jones:

…would have been drafted, but he reportedly failed a drug test at the combine. Teams had other concerns about his judgment and maturity before the failed test. But they like what they saw on the field. I had Jones rated as a fourth or fifth round pick based on what scouts told me about him. The interesting thing about Jones is most teams thought he would fit best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. My guess is he likely will be cast in the same type of role Shea McClellin will play on the Bears–outside linebacker on first and second downs, pass rusher on third. “He’s a very good athlete,” a college scouting director said. “He has traits you look for.” Another national scout called Jones a “developmental run and hit guy,” and said he “looks the part.”

When you watch the guy’s highlight reel, “look the part” fits the bill.

RICH CAMPBELL ON JORDAN LYNCH

From his piece in the Tribune:

“Before Saturday, the Packers talked to my agent,” Lynch said. “Come Saturday, I think they were going a different direction, and the Bears were showing strong interest. Either way, I think if it came down to the Bears or Packers, I’m going to go with the Bears anyway, I think. It’s a perfect fit for me”

Bears general manager Phil Emery praised Lynch’s running ability Saturday night.

One of the bigger questions, though, about Lynch’s ability to convert to running back is whether he can pass block. That’s a skill coach Marc Trestman prioritizes in his backup running backs.

“I really haven’t blocked before in my life, but I catch to things pretty quick,” he said. “I think I can do a good job at it.”

There’s no better way to endear yourself to a fan base than to tell Bears fans you would have chosen them over the Packers. But the last point is the critical one. If Lynch can’t block, he’s not making the Bears roster.

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