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Three Additional Thoughts on Bears at Bills

| November 3rd, 2018


(1) If Tremaine Edmunds can’t play Sunday (concussion) it will be a huge blow to the Bills defense. The Bears will be able to stretch the Buffalo secondary with their outside speed and that could leave huge pockets underneath for Trubisky to exploit with his legs. Edmunds would have been the logical candidate to use as a spy. He’s raw but has exemplary closing instincts/speed.


(2) Two things to expect from Buffalo OC Brian Daboll: wildcat looks and bubble screens. The former was shown against New England and seemed to catch Belichick off-guard early. The latter just makes sense, as the Bears have struggled to defend the quick screen and these are easy, one-read tosses to get Peterman “comfortable”.


(3) Worst thing the Bears can do against a quarterback like Peterman is sit back in soft coverages. Fangio should press the receivers outside and bring extra pressure whenever he can. The quicker they make Peterman process information, the more likely he is throw a pick-six or two.

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Data Entry: 2018 Mock Draft

| April 24th, 2018

At long last, draft week is upon us. In just two short days, months of endless speculation will finally be rendered obsolete with an action-packed three days of actual picks taking place.

Before we head to the time honored post-draft tradition of arguing why guys you’ve never heard of are going to be great NFL players simply because your team drafted them (and your team obviously had the best draft of any team), allow me to add my personal contribution to the time honored pre-draft tradition of pointlessly trying to guess what’s going to happen before it happens. Please feel free to mock me next week once we know how hilariously wrong this was.

My main goal here is not to be accurate, per se, but to generate discussion about what types of options are likely going to be considered by the Bears at various points in the draft. The logic behind each pick is going to be explained based on Ryan Pace’s trends at various points in the draft (you can review day 1, day 2, and day 3 here) and what players who fit those trends are likely to be good fits for Chicago’s current offense or defense based on current roster needs. Let’s use this more as a starting point for some intelligent last-minute draft discussion than simply honing in on these seven names.

Also, I’m not projecting any trades, even though I think it’s likely at least one involving the Bears will happen.


Round 1, Pick 8

Tremaine Edmunds, ILB

I think this pick is Quenton Nelson if he’s still there, but I don’t think he will be. Tremaine Edmunds it is. Edmunds is the round one option who best checks both boxes for Pace in round 1: he’s an exceptional athlete with tremendous upside at a position where a high-profile veteran was recently sent packing (two other names to keep an eye out for in that regard are Derwin James and Marcus Davenport).

Edmunds steps in as an inside linebacker with the potential to develop into a star under Vic Fangio.

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Across The Middle: Bears Big Board 2.0

| April 18th, 2018

I consider myself the top Ryan Paceologist on the Bears writer landscape. My resume:

Trying to figure out who they’re targeting in the 2018 draft has me stumped. I came to the three conclusions above by looking at all of the evidence I could find and asking what made the most sense.

Picking eighth, the Bears surely aren’t going to be able to get the player they surely want and need most, edge Bradley Chubb. One must also operate under the assumption that running back Saquon Barkley will be gone.

There seems to be a good chance that four quarterbacks go within the first seven picks, but if they don’t, the top guys on this list might be gone. It’s also possible that the Bears trade back, which is why the list is more than eight players deep.

There are some good players that are going to be available. The problem I’m having is that I can construct a really strong argument against all of the top candidates. Still, one sticks out as the most likely simply because it makes the most sense.

The list:

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Audibles: First-Round Projections for the Bears

| April 13th, 2018

The draft is coming and the mocks are rolling in. Here are some projections for the Bears’ first-round selection. As has been proven in the Ryan Pace era, the chances of these being correct are not good.


Scott Wright, NFLDraftCountdown projects Quenton Nelson:

The Bears wisely noted a weak crop of wide receivers in the draft and instead used free agency to provide young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with some weapons to throw to.  Now they are free to shore up the offensive line with Nelson, who I feel is the best prospect in this class, regardless of position.  It also doesn’t hurt that Nelson’s college offensive line coach Harry Hiestand now holds the same position in the Windy City.

Nelson is a mountain of a man with outstanding strength and power, but also surprising athletic and nimble when pulling and blocking in space.  What really sets Nelson apart though is his aggressiveness, nasty on-field temperament and desire to finish blocks.  I don’t throw my “Elite” grade around lightly and this year Nelson and Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley were the only two prospects to earn that label.  In fact, Nelson is the best true offensive guard prospect I’ve seen in my two decades of covering the NFL Draft.

If Nelson is gone or they want to go in another direction, keep an eye on Virginia Tech OLB Tremaine Edmunds.  The young, athletic, rangy ‘backer has actually been compared to Bears great Brian Urlacher due to his well-rounded skill set and upside.

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Data Entry: Establishing Ryan Pace’s draft profile, day 1

| April 3rd, 2018

 

Now that Ryan Pace has been here for a while, we can start to look at his past drafts to see what lessons we can learn from his approach. This can help us cautiously look ahead to the 2018 draft to see what he might be thinking.

With that goal in mind, I’m going to spend the next three weeks looking at how Pace has approached the three days of the draft, and then applying that approach to 2018 to see what players are likely being considered for the Bears this year. We’re starting today at the top of the draft. Let’s look first at the history, and then we’ll examine lessons learned.

Draft History

2015: Kevin White, WR, 7th overall

2016: Leonard Floyd, OLB, 9th overall (trade up from 11)

2017: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, 2nd overall (trade up from 3)

Trend 1: Go get your guy

The first thing we should observe is that Ryan Pace is not shy about trading up in round 1 to get the player he has identified as his main target. So keep that in mind as we look at mock drafts with players who might be good fits for the Bears but are projected to go higher than #8.

It’s worth noting that these have all been relatively minor trades just moving up a few spots, which keeps the cost down. Despite reportedly exploring moving up to the top of the draft for Marcus Mariota in 2015, Pace has not been willing to give up multiple high picks in these moves.

Trading up becomes a bit more difficult this year because the Bears are already without a third round pick due to trading up for Trubisky last year, but they do have an extra fourth round pick they could use.

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ATM: Guessing The Bears 2018 Big Board

| March 7th, 2018

Under Ryan Pace, the Bears have primarily targeted great athletes at positions of need in the first round. After the Combine, there’s no reason to expect that to be different this year. Here is how I suspect the team’s Big Board may look, as of today, with the assumption that top players like Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley and Minkah Fitzpatrick will already be off the board.

10. Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama

It’s entirely possible that the Bears are sick of waiting for Jon Bullard to emerge. There’s no reason Bullard shouldn’t have been starting over Mitch Unrein in his second season, but it didn’t happen. The Bears need a third stud up front so they don’t run Akiem Hicks into the ground.

9.  Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley came in a bit smaller than expected and didn’t test very well, coming in the seventh SPARQ percentile. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good receiver, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be a great one and probably not worth a top 10 pick. Still, he could be a good option for the Bears if they were to trade back into the middle of the first round. More likely, their best bet will be addressing the receiver position in free agency.

8. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Doesn’t have the size or length the Bears look for at cornerback but he’s such a great athlete, they could overlook that. Generally thought to be the best CB in the draft.

7. Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame

There’s a lot to be said about taking a guard in the top 10 but much of it could be moot if a team were to switch Nelson to tackle. Regardless, I don’t think the Bears would’ve hired the best offensive line coach in the world to take an already-polished guard in the top 10. Harry Hiestand gives the Bears the ability to take a guard in the mid-round and count on him developing into a stud so they can use their premium picks on premium positions.

6. Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College

This is my personal favorite option for the Bears but he falls just short of their arm-length standard. Landry’s arms measured 32.875 inches and if you look back at Pace and Fangio’s recent histories, you’ll see that 17 of the 19 defensive line and edge players their teams have drafted have had arms measuring at least 33 inches with the only exceptions being late round picks. Is Landry close enough? I hope so, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

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ATM: Players to Watch At The Combine

| February 28th, 2018

The NFL’s annual meat market is here.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it doesn’t matter. The Bears, in particular, seem to value athleticism with their early picks and there’s no reason to think this year will be any different.

Here are a few players to watch when the combine really gets rolling later this week.


Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is generally thought to be the top wide receiver but there are questions about whether or not he deserves to be a top-10 pick.

After a 1,000-yard season as a freshman, Ridley failed to reach that mark again in his final two years. While much of the blame for that has gone to Alabama’s horrendous quarterback play, there are still questions about the wideout.

One major thing NFL teams will need to see is if Ridley is taller than six-feet, like he is listed. If he comes in shorter, teams are going to question his ability to play outside. Since 2010 only two receivers who measured under six-feet were drafted in the top-10. Neither — Tavon Austin and John Ross —  have worked out so far.

Even if he is six-foot-one, Ridley needs to show he has at least good athletic ability to create separation from defenders.

Read DBB’s Saturday Scout column on Ridley HERE.


Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

You don’t often see off-the-ball linebackers who look and move like Edmunds.

Expected to measure in at around 6’5″, 250 pounds, Edmunds is a player a lot of teams are going to want to take a close look at. In addition to his freakish size, he flies around the ball and could be a menace covering the middle of the field.

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