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Data Entry: Looking at WR fits in the Draft

| March 20th, 2018

 

Before the Combine, I looked at WRs who found success in coach Matt Nagy’s offense in Kansas City and identified physical traits that they all shared. When examining their Combine performance, I found three drills they all typically excelled at:

  • 40 yard dash: 4.51 seconds or better
  • Vertical jump: 35.5 inches or higher
  • Broad jump: 10 feet or longer

Now that major free agency dominoes have fallen and attention is starting to turn more towards the draft, let’s look at all the WRs from the Combine and see how they fared in these three drills. This will help identify what wide receivers might be good fits for the Bears in the draft this year.


Hit All Three

Out of the forty-four WRs at the Combine, there were 7 who hit all three physical thresholds. They are shown in the table below.

A few thoughts on this group:

  • For my money, DJ Moore is the best WR in the draft for this offense, and I’ve thought that since before the Combine. He’d be a great pick for the Bears in round 2 if he’s still on the board, but it’s also unlikely they look at a WR that high given their investment in the position in free agency.
  • It’s important to remember that simply hitting these three thresholds does not make a good WR. It just means that physically they would be a good fit in this offense, and probably warrant looking into to see how good of a WR they actually are. I am not saying these are the 7 best WRs in the draft.
  • Many of these players are actually projected to go on day 3, including Antonio Calloway, Richie James, Tre’Quan Smith, and Jester Weah. All are very good fits for this offense and are names to keep in mind for the Bears in the later rounds. Michael Gallup has a chance to still be there in round 4 as well.
  • Antonio Calloway is an interesting case. He’s had a laundry list of off-field problems but is immensely talented. If he wasn’t such a problem, he’d likely be drafted in the first two rounds. Could the Bears look for a late-round flyer there?
  • Richie James also jumps out to me as a guy who fits really well. He’s a small school prospect projected to go in the late rounds, and is a small, shifty WR who profiles well into this offense.

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Audibles: Fuller Transitioned, Draft Thoughts, Kevin White, Q Brothers, Links!

| March 8th, 2018

A lot seemingly going on in the land of the Bears. Let’s take a look at some of it.


Kyle Fuller, Transitioned

There was much debate this off-season about the best approach to Fuller, a player with one of the most tumultuously bizarre starts to an NFL career many can remember. He’s been at turns terrific and terrible, including missing an entire season for injury reasons the organization did not believe were valid.

Ryan Pace had to answer a simple question: did Fuller’s 2017 performance convince him the corner was worthy of top corner money? Applying the transition tag answers that question with a definitive NO. The Bears like Fuller. But if they valued him as a top corner, there were plenty of deals struck at the position last off-season to set the market.

The Bears will now see how the marketplace values Fuller. And they’ll know that if they want him on their 2018 roster, it is fully in their control.


Three Thoughts on the Draft

The official email account of DBB receives more action in the lead-up to the draft than at any other time. And thankfully there are now people like Data and Andrew writing here because my god do I find the whole draft process to be a colossal bore. Here are three general thoughts.

(1) Unless a team has designs on one specific player (Bears with Trubisky, Falcons with Julio…etc.) they almost ALWAYS want to trade back. GMs and scouting departments live for this shit. The more times they can get on the clock, the more opportunities they have to pad their resumes. (So stop emailing me and asking me if the Bears want to trade back.)

(2) Ryan Pace has made three first-round picks. Kevin White, a freak athlete who can’t stay on the field. Leonard Floyd, a freak athlete who struggles to stay on the field. Mitch Trubisky, quarterback of the future. But there’s more pressure on this off-season for Pace than any previous one. Don’t be surprised if his approach veers more conservative on draft weekend.

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Backing It Up: Should the Chicago Bears Draft Luke Falk as 2nd String QB?

| February 15th, 2018

The Chicago Bears have found their answer at starting quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely set at the position. It remains to be seen who else will be in the quarterback room with Trubisky this year, backing him up.

We know for sure one guy who won’t be there: Mike Glennon. Glennon’s a fine backup, and I’m sure he’ll land somewhere in 2018, but it won’t be Chicago. Then there’s Mark Sanchez, who undoubtedly proved an excellent mentor to Trubisky, and is someone I’d like to see stay with the organization in some capacity. I just don’t know if I want him out on the field if Trubisky gets injured. (Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t.)

So what are the Bears to do?

Certainly there is never a shortage of veteran backups looking for a landing spot and the hot rumor has Matt Nagy looking at Chase Daniel this March. But there’s also another option: a rookie quarterback later in the draft.

When Ryan Pace was first hired as Chicago’s GM he was quoted as saying he wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a quarterback every year. Well he didn’t take any in years one and two, so maybe he’s due for another QB in year four?

One quarterback prospect expected to go in the later rounds, who has gotten a fair amount of press coverage due in part to making a positive impression on multiple teams during Senior Bowl week, is Washington State University quarterback Luke Falk.

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Bears Fans Should Love Pace’s Aggressiveness

| May 3rd, 2017

“I don’t want to be average around here, I want to be great and these are the moves you have to make.”-Ryan Pace

For the first time in my lifetime, at least the parts I can remember, the Bears have a General Manager who gets it.

They have a GM who doesn’t just want to make the playoffs or compete with the rest of the division.

They have a GM who wants to kick everybody’s ass.

And, for some reason, people are mad about it.

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My Five Favorite Players in the NFL Draft

| April 25th, 2017

I am not over-complicating things here. I think this is an extremely deep draft at a wide range of positions. But these are the five guys I like best.

#5 Jake Butt

Before injury, I thought Jake Butt was Jason Witten. Big, tough, physical, elusive in the open field, great hands…etc. Then he suffered one of the saddest injuries in many a moon. Supposedly he’s ahead of schedule to return – timetables range between mid-July to October – and who knows how far that will drop him on draft boards. But I can’t imagine a player of this caliber making it to Saturday.

#4 Obi Melifonwu

I actually watch Connecticut football. I don’t know why that’s the case, other than maybe geographic proximity, but I do. Obi is the real deal. Someone with his athletic ability paired with a 6’4″ frame is beyond rare. It’s unheard of. I think this kid is going to be a star.

And from the internet: “The 11-9 broad jump was the second-best number the combine has seen since 2003, behind only the record 12-3 recorded by Dallas defensive back Byron Jones in 2015.”

#3 Christian McCaffrey

You put McCaffrey in an inventive offense and he’s going to be one of the most exciting players in the league starting September 10th. Let him return kicks and punts. Give him 10-15 carries a game. Stick him in the slot a dozen or so times a game.

#2 Mitchell Trubisky

I just like the kid. I don’t see one element of his game that won’t translate to the next level. And if the Bears pulled the trigger on him with the third pick, I’d be pretty damn excited about their future.

#1 Solomon Thomas

I have been waxing poetic about this player for months and nothing that’s happened since his epic performance against North Carolina in the bowl game has changed that. If you want to drown yourself in the inanity of “technique talk” you’ve come to the wrong place. Thomas is a special player and a smart defensive coordinator is going to move him up and down the line and rely on his relentlessness to destroy games.

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251 Comments

Five Thoughts on the NFL Draft (Based on Actual Reporting)

| April 24th, 2017

Have spent the last two weeks exchanging texts and emails with my two league sources. This is not a good time to gather information but here’s what I think is happening.

  • There is a clear divide in the league when it comes to the quarterbacks and there is at least one team that doesn’t have a first-round grade on any of them. That team’s favorite quarterback in the class? Pat Mahomes. I’m not going to read too much into that but I believe Mahomes will be the name called way earlier than many expect.
  • I think DeShone Kizer is now clearly the fourth, if not fifth, quarterback.
  • As I suspected, Solomon Thomas blew teams away when he spoke with them. Thomas is not only an exceptional football player, he’s also a great guy. I’m not confident he gets to the Bears at 3 but if he does and they don’t take him, they’ll regret it.
  • Question. What is the strength of this year’s draft? Answer: “You will be able to find secondary starters well into the third round.” (Good news for the Bears.)
  • Question. What is the weakness of this year’s draft? Answer: “Worst crop of offensive linemen in a generation.”

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Making The Case: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

| April 20th, 2017

The Bears could be looking the ever-elusive shutdown corner in the face if Marshon Lattimore is still available when they pick.

If you believe Adam Schefter (and you should) the Bears tried to trade up to get Jalen Ramsey last year. Then they went after Josh Norman prior to last season and Stephon Gilmore this offseason. They went 0/3.

Lattimore could be the best of the bunch.

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Making The Case: Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford

| April 19th, 2017

Editor’s Note: Solomon Thomas is my favorite player in this year’s draft. And it’s not close.


Solomon Thomas has the potential to be one of the best pass rushers in the entire league.

Physically, he has everything you could want: size, speed, length, strength, quickness, agility and explosiveness. His SPARQ score was in the 93rd percentile, tied with T.J. Watt for fourth-best in this class and two percentage points better than Leonard Floyd tested last year.

Thomas really burst onto the scene with a dominant performance against North Carolina. When everyone was trying to watch Mitch Trubisky, Thomas kept exploding onto the screen. It was impossible to not notice him. In all, he had 61 tackles — 14 for a loss — 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

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Making the Case: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

| April 14th, 2017

Any pass thrown in Malik Hooker’s general direction has a good chance to be intercepted. Do I really need to say more than that?

He has better range than any safety I’ve seen coming out of the draft and showed incredible hands in his one season at Ohio State. According to Pro Football Focus, 41 passes were thrown to guys he was covering. He either intercepted or defended 11 of them. He returned three interceptions for touchdowns while only giving up one score himself. His interception against Clemson was one of the best plays you will ever see a safety make.

For the Bears, that could be huge. They play in a division where two of the quarterbacks — Sam Bradford and Aaron Rodgers — avoid putting the ball in harm’s way at all costs. With Hooker on the field, the ball would almost always be in harm’s way if they threw near him.

Injuries & Inexperience

Hooker played only one season at OSU and had two surgeries, including one for a torn labrum in his hip. Perhaps he’ll recover 100 percent, but he’s on the small side so I don’t think it’s irrational to be concerned about his ability to hold up.

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Making The Case: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

| April 13th, 2017

The Bears haven’t had a good safety in so long. So so long. Jamal Adams is a pretty sure thing.

Adams fits what the Vic Fangio and John Fox have looked for out of the position because he can play in coverage and drop down in the box. Pro Football Focus rated him as among the five best safeties in the country at both disciplines.

The Bears three primary decision makers – Pace, Fox and Fangio – have all put a lot of value in the safety position with past teams and have a very good opportunity to do so with the Bears, early in the 2017 draft.

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