Bears draft picks a positive during tough season

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Bears draft picks a positive during tough season

Very, very few meaningful positives are to be found in a five-game collapse that cost the Bears a virtual playoff lock. But there actually have been a couple, beyond the odd Kahlil Bell or Josh McCown.

An issue plaguing the Bears for the past decade has been failed draft choices. A combination of indicators suggests that this may be changing, at least slightly.

Of the five Bears selected to this seasons Pro Bowl, four were Jerry Angelo draft choices (Lance Briggs 03, Matt Forte 08, Corey Graham 07, Charles Tillman 03). It is the highest number of Angelo picks ever selected to one Pro Bowl, and Forte is the first Angelo offensive draftee to make a Pro Bowl.

Returner Devin Hester (06) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (09) were among the alternates. Of the combined 11 Bears selected for some level of Pro Bowl honor (five voted, six alternates), only Brian Urlacher was not acquired by Angelo, whether by draft, free agency or trade.

Of the starting offense for much of the offensive surge that contributed to the five-game run to the 7-3 record, seven of the starters were draft picks and that does not include right tackle Gabe Carimi.

Not anything to get particularly excited about, after the general draft malaise of the Angelo era.

But two of the Bears top three 2011 draft picks also were starters before injuries sent them to IR: Carimi and safety Chris Conte, besides defensive tackle Stephen Paea.

The draft choices have been great and our rookie free agents have been awesome too, said Urlacher. Since my 2000 class Mike Brown, myself, Paul Edinger this is one of the better classes Ive seen.

Paeas playing time has increased substantially after dealing with a knee injury in training camp and being inactive for the first five weeks of the season. He has 2 sacks on the season, 6 quarterback pressures and 2 tackles for loss.

Paeas production is notable in part because he has been tasked with playing both nose tackle and three-technique.

The only true difference is youve got to have patience on the nose and on the three youve got to go, Paea said. Ive got to have that mentality.

I hate waiting on the line and having patience. I can get to aggressive and not have patience to play my keys, which is perfect for the under-tackle.

The No. 2 tackler on special teams behind Pro Bowl starter Graham is Dom DeCicco, an undrafted rookie free agent.

I still feel a little like a rookie, DeCicco said, but like Ive learned so much and its night and day from preseason and even the first few games.

Alshon Jeffery spurned ESPN's Adam Schefter after getting free agent contract advice

Alshon Jeffery spurned ESPN's Adam Schefter after getting free agent contract advice

This is an enlightening glimpse into the craziness that is the world of NFL free agency.

The MMQB published a longform recap of 24 hours in the life of ESPN's Adam Schefter at the start of NFL free agency and apparently it also included a moment where he advised Alshon Jeffery on the receiver's contract situation.

[RELATED - Bears free agency analysis]

Before Jeffery signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, the former Bears wideout called Schefter to see what the market was like for receivers:

But here's the kicker:

The MMQB circled back on the news later and Jeffery never called Schefter back, instead giving the news to Schefter's ESPN colleague Josina Anderson to break about the Eagles deal.

[Buy Chicago sports tickets]

That's cold, bro.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

6'2" | 225 lbs.

2016 stats:

5,052 YDS, 65.7 CMP%, 41 TD, 10 INT, 157 QBR | 131 CAR, 285 YDS, 12 TD

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Mahomes is a big, confident quarterback who brings a variety of physical tools to the party, but he's developed some bad habits and doesn't have a very repeatable process as a passer. Mahomes' ability to improvise and extend plays can lead to big plays for his offense, but he will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket. Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he's a high ceiling, low floor prospect." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles