Bears chances of going WR at No. 19 keep shrinking

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Bears chances of going WR at No. 19 keep shrinking

The apparently outstanding Pro Day on Tuesday for Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd (and others) likely makes a Bears decision for them, if in fact it was one in the first place.

ESPN draft analyst Mike Mayock opined after Floyds performance that Floyd could well be off the draft board by pick No. 10 of the first round. Floyds size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), production (271 career catches, 37 career receiving TDs) and speed (sb-4.4-sec., 40 at the Scouting Combine) make him the designer wideout that passes the eye test and just about every other one.

What it means for the Bears is all but no chance of taking a wide receiver with their pick at No. 19.

They are in what is generally the drafts dead zone for wide receivers. In the last five drafts, a handful of receivers have gone by No. 10: A.J. Green, Julio Jones last year; Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree in 2009; Calvin Johnson and Ted Ginn Jr. in 2007.

None went before 22 in 2010 and none at all went in the first round of 2008.

Jeremy Maclin was the Eagles pick at No. 19 in 2009 but he was the only receiver taken in the 11-20 range over the past five years.

The conclusion is that there is either clearly perceived elite talent thats worth a top-10 dice roll, or you dont commit a No. 1 pick below the 20s on a position with a high bust factor.

Interestingly perhaps, the first receiver after Green and Jones went last year was Pittsburgh's Jonathan Baldwin at No. 26 to the Kansas City Chiefs and then-college personnel chief Phil Emery.

Emery already has parted with two 3s for Brandon Marshall so he is unlikely to mortgage his first draft on a lunge up for Floyd. More likely, if all the deserving defensive ends and cornerbacks are disappearing before No. 19, would be a trade down to re-acquire picks and drift into that 20-30 range where nine wideouts have been taken over the last five drafts.

That leaves out Michael Floyd.

Next couple weeks a critical opportunity for Brian Hoyer, Bears

Next couple weeks a critical opportunity for Brian Hoyer, Bears

One overarching NFL reality is that with extremely rare exception, the quarterback position is always a matter for discussion and planning.

Even in Green Bay when Brett Favre was setting the standard for durability, the Packers were about succession planning, cycling through quality backups (Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselbeck) until one – Aaron Rodgers – was needed.

Even in New England, where Tom Brady wasn’t missing a game for 14 of the last 15 seasons, yet the Patriots were drafting quarterbacks in the second or third rounds of three of the last six drafts.

What the Bears are confronting last weekend and this Sunday is a template for what could be their tactics for the position in the year or years ahead. The Philadelphia Eagles with Carson Wentz and Dallas Cowboys with Dak Prescott are starting (and winning with) rookies who were selected into a depth chart presumably already set with a starter in place. And the Bears have faced a situation in their recent past eerily similar to one just three years ago that, had it been handled differently, might have positioned the Bears somewhere similar to where Dallas and Philadelphia now find themselves.

With Jay Cutler in the final year of his contract calling for guaranteed money, 2016 was clearly a prove-it year for him irrespective of the Bears’ failure to invest a meaningful draft pick in a possible successor. Now Cutler is injured and Brian Hoyer is the presumptive starter, setting up a potential scenario not altogether unlike what they faced in 2013 when Josh McCown stepped in twice when Cutler was hurt.

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McCown played the best football of his career, giving the Bears the option of re-signing him as a placeholder and pursuing a young apprentice, which the Marc Trestman coaching staff favored, or signing Cutler to a massive contract and committing to him as a franchise quarterback, which GM Phil Emery did.

Hoyer may or may not play remotely as well as McCown did. But this is not entirely a position competition between Cutler and Hoyer, any more than Cutler-McCown was. Should Hoyer perform creditably, however, as he did last year to get the Houston Texans into the playoffs, he gives the Bears another “McCown Option” – an affordable, competent-if-unspectacular veteran who starts until such time as the young quarterback is ready. That could be as early as the draft pick’s rookie season – as Wentz was correctly judged to be in Philadelphia, as Russell Wilson once was in Seattle, and Prescott is demonstrating in Dallas.

Wentz was not going to start for Philadelphia before the Eagles were offered a can’t-refuse offer by the Minnesota Vikings for Sam Bradford. Prescott was not drafted to be a starter, but Tony Romo’s preseason back injury and Kellen Moore’s broken ankle changed whatever QB plan the Cowboys had.

If there’s a twist to the situation it lies in the fact that it is far from necessary to believe that winning quarterbacks lie only in the first round. Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick, is still riding the Los Angeles Rams bench. Paxton Lynch, grabbed by Denver at the end of round one, wasn’t able to take the Broncos’ starting job away from Trevor Siemian, the 250th pick of the 2015 draft whose only action last season was one kneel-down.

But Jacoby Brissett, New England’s third-round pick this year, and Cody Kessler, Cleveland’s 2016 No. 3 pick, are starting, jokes about Cleveland notwithstanding.

The Bears looked closely at Marcus Mariota going into the 2015 draft. But they were faced with a franchise decision of expending massive draft capital in a trade, something they did once upon a time in 2009 for Cutler and didn’t want to do again with other needs to fill.

Ryan Pace has had 15 draft choices in his two drafts as Bears general manager. None were invested in a quarterback. He will not go a third draft weekend without discussing the quarterback the Bears selected in (insert round here).

CSN, SB Nation talk Jay Cutler injury, preview Bears-Cowboys

CSN, SB Nation talk Jay Cutler injury, preview Bears-Cowboys

In a partnership between CSNChicago.com and SBNation.com's Windy City Gridiron, Scott Krinch and Lester Wiltfong break down the latest happenings on the Bears. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

In their latest collaboration, Krinch and Wiltfong reflect on a Bears' injury-fueled Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and preview Sunday's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

The guys dissect a plethora of injuries to the Bears, including quarterback Jay Cutler's thumb sprain and what it means for the offense with Brian Hoyer running the show in Dallas.

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The Bears have struggled to find any rhythm on offense, in particular at the running back position, through two games. Could a change from Jeremy Langford to rookie Jordan Howard be just what the doctor ordered?

Looking ahead to Week 3, Krinch and Wiltfong analyze the Bears defense, sans a few key starters in Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman, and how Vic Fangio's unit will try to slow down a pair of Cowboys rookies in quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

See what else they had to say in the video above and be sure to check out Windy City Gridiron all season long for the latest Bears news and analysis.