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Chicago Bears 2018 Mock Draft

2018 Draft Picks held by the Chicago Bears:

  • Round 1: Pick 8
  • Round 2: Pick 39
  • Round 3: None
  • Round 4: Pick 101
  • Round 4: Pick 111
  • Round 5: Pick 136
  • Round 6: Pick 167
  • Round 7: Pick 198

There is quite the laundry list of “needs” for this Chicago Bears team but when you finish a season 5-11, there are obviously weak spots peppered throughout the depth chart.  Last season, the Bears were 10th in total defense, and 30th in total offense.  Although defensively they were top 10 in passing yards allowed,  they also allowed a completion percentage of 64.8% and only had eight total interceptions for the year, which basically put them in the bottom of the league for that category. Offensively, the Bears were completely one dimensional, which led them to having the worst passing offense in the NFL last year.  If that was due to the inability to go vertical or the lack of trust in last year’s coaching regime in rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky — that’ll be a debate for another time. . .

Here is my 2018 Chicago Bears Mock Draft:

Round 1, Pick 8:

Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame:

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This has been the overall consensus pick among Bears fans and draft “gurus.”  The Bears would be filling a need with arguably one of the better players in this entire draft.  He’s everything you want in an NFL guard with the power, intellect, strength and equal over achieving ability in the run and pass blocking game.  A lot of folks like this match-up not only because of the huge need but because the Bears hired Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand to do the same job in Chicago. Nelson is one of the highest rated players in this draft though, and the Bears may have to worry about teams ahead of them snatching up Nelson.  The New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts could all benefit from drafting Nelson in the top ten.

Round 2, Pick 39:

Lorenzo Carter, Line Backer, Georgia:

Carter showed off his freakish ability and build at this year’s combine as the  six-foot-five, two-hundred and fifty pound line-backer ran a forty-time of 4.5.  In his senior year at Georgia, Carter had 4.5 sacks, 62 total tackles, forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles.  The Bears have had some luck with their other Bulldog linebacker, Leonard Floyd after they drafted him in the first round of the 2016 draft.  As talented as Floyd is though, the Bears need another presence on the other side of this defense.  Carter would fit perfectly there.  (As a side note, since he and I both had these first two picks identical, I wanted to share a link to Mike Brez’ mock draft on twitter )

 (Photo by Perry McIntyre Jr.)

Round 4, Pick 101:

Tegray Scales, Line Backer, Indiana

The only reason why Scales may slip to the fourth is because he is undersized as an inside middle line backer.  Even at 6’0″, 230lbs – he might  find himself pushed around in the NFL. . . at least at first.  Scales was the first Indiana player in 30 years to be All Big Ten First Team – and in the last two years has racked up over 200 tackles for the Hoosiers.  He’s a very instinctive and fluid line backer, who can be a starter in this league.  In the fourth round if you don’t get a “star” but a “starter” that’s a win – especially one with a high football I.Q.

Round 4, Pick 111:

Nyheim Hines, Running Back, N.C. State

In this off-season, the relationship between the Bears and running back Jordan Howard has been “shaky” to put it lightly.  Howard is a top 10 running back in the league and in some circles top 5. . . the Bears may not be looking to sign him to a long term deal though once the contract is up.  They might wait in later rounds to take a shot on a running back, but in this spot, N.C. State’s Nyheim Hines should be available.  This is a back that I watched a lot of last year and he is a well-tooled running back who – if he adds some more muscle, has three-down-back potential.  He has more of an upside than Tarik Cohen and can be a more valuable X-Factor type of player if he doesn’t end up being an every-down guy.

Round 5, Pick 136:

Tony Brown, Corner Back, Alabama

Tony is more of a physical corner than a ‘lock-down’ guy – but what do you expect in the fifth round?  He’s got size and speed, a good tackler in the open field, and exceptional in special teams.  He is a physical guy too, who isn’t afraid to take on running backs, no matter how big they are.

Round 6, Pick 167

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Wide Receiver, South Florida

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

He might have more of a fifth round value than sixth, but for all that matters to Bears fans – he falls and the Bears get him.  He is a big target at  6’4″, 206 lbs and ran a forty time of 4.37.  He did nothing in college until blowing up in his senior year.  He is great at locating the ball in the air  – similar to former Bears wide-out Alshon Jeffrey.  He isn’t the most polished route runner, but is a big bodied guy who can be a red-zone target and who’s speed can help stretch the field.  If he is there in the sixth this is well worth the gamble.  If it doesn’t work out – the Bears are familiar with big, speedy wide outs who don’t contribute to the team. . .

Round 7: Pick 198

KJ Malone, Offensive Tackle, LSU or Bentley Spain, Offensive Tackle, UNC

Both of these players were put here because this isn’t a strong draft for offensive tackles, and these two guys have a possibility of going earlier than they should go.  Once again though, when speaking in “mock-draft” terms – they both could be available.  KJ Malone, is the son of NBA hall of famer Karl Malone (which does nothing for him in the NFL) who is a pretty solid, albeit at times overly-aggressive run blocker who falls somewhere between average and below average in pass blocking. . . Bentley Spain was once the left tackle for Bears quarterback Mitchel Trubisky, so there’s a relationship and trust there – but Spain may have to become stronger to be an every day starter instead of a rotation-type of player on an NFL roster.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Chicago Bears: Mid-Season Report Card

The “Monsters of the Midway” entered the 2017 season knowing it is in the middle of a rebuild.  This isn’t a team that was looking to “tank” though.  The Bears’ rebuild consist of trying to be competitive throughout the season.  It’s a way of “filtering out the excess fat” from their roster.

Quarterback:

Entering the season, the Bears faithful knew they’d be in for some nonsense.  Signing Mike Glennon in free agency and moving up in the first round to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was a recipe for disaster from day one.  Glennon was never going to get a fair shake, as the fans wanted to see the younger player and the media made Glennon’s spot on the team seem useless.  Glennon’s play on the field didn’t help to quiet that noise either.   Mike Glennon had a completion percentage of 66.4% but that was because he seemed to scared to throw it downfield and basically dumped it off to running backs and tight ends all day.   Ultimately his 8 total turnovers did him in and got him benched, which of course led to the starting of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky.  Things didn’t get much better.  Trubisky’s completion percentage is under 50% and in four games he has two touchdown passes and four turnovers.  Glennon and Trubisky don’t have a lot to work with in terms of coaching or talent (keep reading) but in just looking at production from the position a solid D minus even seems generous.

Running Back:

If it wasn’t for Jordan Howard, the Bears wouldn’t have much of an offense this season.  With that being said, it’s not as if he’s putting up “elite-RB” numbers.  His 83 yards a game coupled with his 4.1 yards per average is consistent work at least and you can’t knock him considering he’s being run into the ground.  In the eight games he’s played, he’s already carried the ball for 162 times.  Bears fans fell in love with Tarik Cohen and his 5’6″ frame in week one. Then after that, there hasn’t been much to applaud him for.  He seems to try to do too much when he has the ball now and the Bears just aren’t creative enough on offense to devise schemes for him.  The Bears should look passed Cohen on the depth chart and start handing the ball off to Benny Cunningham more.  Cunningham is more of the traditional back, who can take some of the pounding off of Jordan Howard.  Because of Howard’s toughness alone, and him alone in this backfield, you have to give it a grade of a B.

Wide Receiver/Tight End:

Nothing to see here folks.  Even if Kevin White and Cameron Merdith didn’t suffer season ending injuries, it’s hard to believe it would be a much better group of wide-outs than the one that’s currently presented.  Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if they aren’t getting opportunities because the play calling is so bad, or if they’re just not that good.  The loss of Zach Miller was not only horrific to watch but also took away the most reliable target on the team.  Rookie Adam Shaheen was supposed to be one of those “sleeper picks” in the draft, and so far he has one catch which was a two-yard touchdown reception. . .yay.  Hopefully the acquisition of Dontrelle Inman will help boast this group but it’s pretty pitiful.  Easy grade of an F.

Offensive Line:

Glennon and Trubisky have combined for 19 sacks this season but when watching the tape, the blame isn’t all on the offensive line.  This is a tough group led by Kyle Long and Josh Sitton.  Cody Whitehair slips up once in a while but all in all he’s continuing to be a solid contributor.  The Bears have the third most rushing yards in the league and the backs are averaging a respectable 4.3 yards a carry.  If healthy this is a good offensive line who’s grade is a B.

Defensive Line:

If there is a mid-season MVP for this Bears team, I’d have to go with Akiem Hicks.  Hicks leads the team with 7 sacks, demands attention and is the player on this defensive front who offensive coordinators must plan around.  His All-Pro-Like play has opened up more opportunities for Leonard Floyd and Eddie Goldman.  The Bears are allowing on 3.9 yards a rush this season and most of it is due to this defensive front that finds itself in the opposition’s back field more times than not. Grade A.

Linebackers/Secondary:

A healthy Danny Trevathan is a welcomed sight to this defense.  He leads the team with 52 total tackles and definitely has added that “aggressive nature” the Bears defense has been lacking in recent history.  Rookie safety Eddie Jackson came out of Alabama with a lot of talent but also a history including injuries so many were wary of him.  He could prove to be the safety the Bears have been needing for years if he keeps playing at the level he’s been playing at.  Even if you take away that game when he had two pick-sixes he’s still been playing like one of the steals of this year’s draft.  His pairing with Adrian Amos can be the building blocks for rebuilding a secondary.  Fans want Kyle Fuller to be “the guy” – but I don’t see it.  Ever.  Regardless, this is a physical group of players from the linebackers to the secondary who will get a grade of B plus.

Coaching:

First the good:

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell both get an A for their efforts this year.  Donatell has really got the young guys in the secondary playing with confidence and as mentioned above they seem to be developing quickly into legit NFL talents.  Fangio has been one of the NFL’s best defensive coordinators for years and it’s his defense that has kept the Bears in games, even when the offense is trying to give them away.

Now the bad:

Head coach John Fox, quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains all get a D at the midpoint of the 2017 season. The offensive play calling is as predictable as a New Year’s hangover.   “Run, Run, Pass, Punt,” appears to be the offensive call to arms, especially since the team made the switch to Mitchell Trubisky.  Trubiksy has displayed some arm strength and the ability to throw on the run, but the Bears refuse to open the playbook for the struggling rookie.  This all falls on John Fox, and seriously nobody even knows if he’s mentally checked out already or not.  Rumors have been floating around since the draft that he’s a lame duck coach this season and they’ll be looking to change the culture next season.  Bears fans everywhere hope so.

After calculating the grades, the Bears get an overall mid-season grade of a C.  That is both a surprising and “not-so-bad” grade for a team with a 3-5 record who at the beginning of the season was looked at as an NFL “doormat.”  The last 2-3 years saw a Bears team that would quit, especially defensively.  The re-emergence of the Monster of the Midway can give the fan-base hope.  Just imagine if this team had a decent offense what they could look like. . . They’ll be lucky to finish the season with seven wins, but if they keep playing like they are, there is definitely a core here to build on.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

Where Does Cutler Go?

There have been very few players as polarizing as Jay Cutler in recent professional sports.  I wrote an article almost exactly two years ago “The Perception of Jay Cutler,” in which a defense of his character was made.  And quite well, may I add.

Jay Cutler’s run with the Chicago Bears looks like it may very well be at it’s end.  After eight years with the Bears, Cutler has cemented himself as the franchises most storied quarterback, holding fourteen team records (including passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback rating).  Even with that, Bears fans (and for some strange reason even non-Bears fans) have an issue with Cutler.  The whole “he” hasn’t won anything conversation is laughable for all those Millennials and lazy sports writers, have made “wins” an actual stat for quarterbacks – no matter what kind of condition a franchise is in.  Cutler played for a Bears team that actually had guys like Johnny Knox and Devin Hester running routes for him at one point.  Yikes.

But this isn’t a piece to further defend a guy who has been incorrectly vilified in his career, this is to predict possible landing spots for the 33 year old gunslinger.  Keeping in mind that the Bears will most likely cut him before finding a trading partner for him.

1- New York Jets – This is almost too obvious.  If the Jets decide to not part ways with wide receiver Brandon Marshall, reuniting these “bickering brothers” may be something to look into.  Marshall has referred to Cutler as his brother numerous times and even when they blow up at each publicly it’s really not a big deal.  With that being said, the Jets are usually in the business of lying to themselves and believing they have a chance to get into the playoffs.  Teams that believe that, bring in veterans who are looking for one more run, at a good price.  Cutler would get killed by the New York media, but it’s a good thing that he really doesn’t care what you say about him. . . like, ever.

2- Miami Dolphins – Yeah, Ryan Tannehill is still there.  So what?  Reports had come in Miami last season that head coach Adam Gase was growing increasingly frustrated with Tannehill as the season progressed.  Tannehill’s numbers are smoke in mirrors and he still looks like a guy learning how to play the position.  Gase is a “Cutler guy” and they worked great together in Chicago but this would be a touchy situation to get into and would involve the Dolphins giving up on the young guy to roll with the injury prone older guy. . .

3- Denver Broncos – This would be a best case scenario for Cutler.  He would go back to where his career started and would have a playoff contender right off the bat.  With the receiving talents there just being left out to dry, they would welcome a guy like Cutler who can sling the rock.  Cutler wouldn’t have to try to hard to beat out Trevor Siemian for the starting job but Elway definitely wouldn’t look to break the bank for Cutler either.

4- Retirement – Jay Cutler has taken a beating over his career.  Physically and mentally.  He has made a lot of money, has three kids and a beautiful wife and usually makes his way doing charity work (especially with youth diabetes).  Cutler has made it known that  he wanted to end his career as a Bear, which you’ve got to believe was his goal since getting traded to Chicago but money and opportunity can still be offered for this veteran.  Aside from personal opinions – Cutler is still a starting quarterback in this league – but at a certain point, a man has to consider his options and his health.  If he is satisfied with it all, nobody can judge him for that.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio