Alright folks, offseason time if you are not lucky enough to have your team playing still for all the Super Bowl marbles that Tom Brady and his squad were kind enough to leave the rest of the league a chance at collecting this time around.
I did an extensive mock "full blown off-season" of the Chicago Bears, with the exception of player invites post draft-which I will have some insight on following the draft synopsis and rational for the draft picks.
To begin, to quote Jack Nicholson as the joker, "You can't make an omlet without cracking a few eggs." Eggs were cracked unfortunately, and some pretty good pros were have to have been let go due to the business and nature of roster progression realities in today's modern NFL. As much as it pained two exceptional pros that Bears fan have especially loved and respected as stalwarts of recent years had to be let go, Kyle Long the former first round pick and Pro Bowl selection had to be let go, and Danny Trevathan, a spark plug in the middle of their run stopping corps over the past few years, which was more of a casualty of the defensive needing to become quicker and leaner to better defense the pass in humble opinion moving forward, along with the more mobile quarterbacks in the league. Other players that were let go TE Braunecker, LT Charles Leno, RB Mike Davis, and even P Pat O'Donnell did not escape my offseason purge in improving special teams as a whole.
On the re-signing of depth the team kept: LS Scales, LB Kwiatkoski, EDGE Lynch, ST standout McManus, Safety Deon Bush, and DL Jonathan Bullard and QB Tyler Bray to keep at least two QBs on the roster moving forward. Everyone else was retained going into camp with some possibly getting replaced via the other offseason moves.
Then there was free agency. Oh yes, very few moves, but some serious shots across the bow in improvements needed for the team, hopefully avoiding us wanting throw anything we can grab at the television or whatever media we enjoy the game by.
The Chicago Bears add four players via free agency:
Hunter Henry TE: Wow. Trubisky gets a guy that is a "go up and get it guy" in the red zone and for short yardage. Horrific 3rd down reruns will be addressed this offseason without question, and Henry does not hurt you one bit in the run game either. In the unlikely even that San Diego cuts this guy loose the Bears this time around pounce on the right tight end in free agency.
Trevor Siemian QB Yeah big deal, but there needs somewhat of a veteran backup in the room with the QBs and Siemian has the abilities that fit somewhat what the offense is trying to do with Mitch Trubisky, so little would have to change in the event of an injury to the Bear's franchise QB. Also he is from the Big Ten, which I have a bias to, why not one more Northwestern guy on the roster?
Jack Conklin OT: Yes the tackle woes for the team were rough at times last year, as it seemed the team had a fairly solid line going into the year. Consequently Charles Leno is let go and someone will be filling the LT role, hopefully in this case that would be Conklin, also in the unlikely event that the Titans let him go to free agency.
Carl Davis DL: My boy, from the University of Iowa, also from the Big Ten which I admitted my bias above. He serves as a solid backup on the defensive line, a very nice substitution option, and will challenge Jonathan Bullard for his stepped up role on the team.
NOW TO THE DRAFT:
Without a first round pick the team I feel is going to need to come away with some serious value in each pick. This will involve a more in depth scouting effort from the organization in being able to find value in their picks versus rubber stamping the very few guys they are dead set on drafting and trading up to get as has happened in the past. I was guilty of the unthinkable crime of trading up once here, but it was for good reason, kind of like when they traded up for Eddie Jackson (but also bypassed Desmond King the previous round, but we have all forgotten that by now).
Disclaimer: There are three trades of which I did the following...
ROUND: 4 PICK: 41 ROUND: 5 PICK: 20
ROUND: 4 PICK: 35
ROUND: 2 PICK: 18
ROUND: 3 PICK: 9 ROUND: 4 PICK: 10 ROUND: 5 PICK: 19 ROUND: 6 PICK: 10
ROUND: 2 PICK: 11
ROUND: 2 PICK: 17 ROUND: 3 PICK: 38
Draft day trades of course are very difficult to be made by teams that want to move back for additional picks, but nonetheless I used the extra second round pick to leverage more selections. It's also a frosty day in hell when your division rival lets you trade with them on draft day, but what the heck it's a fun little exercise in curiosity, right?
Overall the strategy was to get the offense some help on third down, hopefully get a receiver that can create some separation, a problem at running back for other teams on third down (and an outright backup since letting Davis go-not counting Cohen as that backup which of course also would be an option). On defense as mentioned above there were some holes to fill letting go safety Clinton-Dix, LB Danny Trevathan, and ideally getting quicker and leaner to defense the pass better for when the Incredible Hulk Akeem Hicks comes back to be a very angry presence hopefully moving forward when he is healed up this offseason.
Round 2 pick 17 49th overall Bears Select:
Watching this guy reminds you of another Stanford guy that wound up pretty solid. I am not saying he is the same player like the comparisons will be unleashed at ridiculous rates, but he kind of is a smaller better ball hawking version of Richard Sherman. Quick guy, can cover and has hands like a wide receiver. Good enough to actually battle Amukamara for his starting job, yes I think he is that good coming out and a bit of a sleeper at the top for the time being. On a side not I had to pass on Missouri's tight end freak show Albert OKWUEGBUNAM, or as the Missouri commentator nicknamed him Albert "O" for obvious reasons. That being he is a shot of O, as in offense for whoever is wise enough to pick this guy up. Some similarities of David Njoku, but a better downfield target. Yikes.
RB J.K. DOBBINS-OHIO STATE
Yeah I know what you're thinking, what is he doing still here? Good question, he was rated in the top 40 on my mock big board, but teams drafted on need and this gem falls in the Bears lap. Maybe now they will look at developing a better run scheme if something crazy like this happens. Hello two headed monster of Mongomery and Dobbins in which ever order they sort themselves out.
LB CHARLES SNOWDEN-VIRGINIA
Excellent inside presence that can cause major problems-great sideline to sideline skills with the toughness inside to stun the ball carrier. This guy's highlight tape is a great watch, I highly recommend it. Here is your replacement for Danny Trevathan. Great value on this pick, I believe he was +25 on his overall pick projection.
S BRANDON JONES-TEXAS
Tough guy can handle the inside safety position that the Bears will need. Talented enough to cover, but also able to play on the inside and let Eddie Jackson play center field. Also a value pick, this guy will likely be higher on mock draft boards as the process rolls on.
WR COLLIN JOHNSON-TEXAS
In today's NFL how many teams need big, strong, athletic receivers that cause matchup nightmares? The answer, all of them. The Bears are no exception, with their heavy depth at wideout going into this offseason he will get a chance to be coached up if needed and hopefully can become the kind of threat Kevin White was hoped to have minus his injuries.
OT SCOTT FRANTZ-KANSAS STATE
To be honest hadn't seen much tape on him but he was by far the highest rated tackle remaining due to the crazy run that was partially caused by Alabama's Alex Leatherwood pulling out of the draft as well as Iowa's Alaric Jackson returning to school as well. I like the idea of gathering some upside at this position and keeping the vets on notice that they need to produce, or in the event they are injured you have some kind of depth.
EDGE BRYCE HUFF-MEMPHIS
This guy's tape screamed at me nothing more than all the beautiful cliches of edge pass rushers. "Good motor, good hands, good leverage," all of that stuff. He doesn't stop hunting the ball and plays angry.
QB KELLEN MOND-TEXAS A&M
A major roll of the dice here. Mobile enough to run the "Nagy/Trubisky Two Step Offense," and on occasion really jumps out at you. He was the pick for this spot and challenges to make the roster ahead of Bray or Siemien if he really impresses in camp.
189: R6P10-LB CHAZZ SURRATT-NORTH CAROLINA
Talking about quarterbacks, this guy was one. Then last year went through a transformation that is pretty downright scary. Highly heralded out of high school as a dual threat QB he struggled at UNC, then made the conversion last offseason to linebacker. And whoa, did he ever. Watch his tape, I moved him up a lot on the default settings of this mock, and as time moves on this guy will picked by a Patriot type of organization much earlier than this. Him in the 6th round was my favorite pick of the whole thing, a project but as much upside as any linebacker on the board.
DISCLAIMER: A few hours after this post he announced he will return to UNC for his senior season. Smart move for him, he is an early first half of the draft prospect without question going into next season with some serious upside to vault his way much higher. Very smart move on his part. This is why 7 round mock drafts are not done this early.
196: R6P17-C JAKE HANSON-OREGON
A project kind of player, good size, safe kind of pick here, great chance of making the team and working as a backup early on and perhaps even enabling a move of whoever is center between Whitehair or Daniels next season to guard.
233: R7P19-CB TROY PRIDE JR.
I like this guy in coverage. He won't punish a guy going over the middle, but that's good because that is no longer legal in the NFL. But he can stick well in coverage and could be a diamond in the rough, I scooted him up quite a bit on the big board after seeing his tape, nice player, good shot at making the team.
And there you go, the draft finished, and you may be wondering, where is the punter? You cut O'Donnell remember? Yep, I certainly did. We invite the very best punters from college among other vets that can improve the situation. I was not over the moon with O'Donnell while he was here, a serviceable but not exceptional punter as I saw him while in Chicago. Dare to be great not a "serviceable franchise."
Here is the entire rundown of all draft picks by every team and all the roster moves made. I want to give a shout out to fanspeak.com, their ultimate GM package has been a blast so far. I have done their premium mock drafts before and this just adds to the fun. You keep doing this and it turns you into a "mock draft expert," which of course everyone knows is an oxymoron to a point, because we don't know how much each time likes each player and whether they are in need mode or highest on the board mode. Have fun, discuss...
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