Could Clemson DE Bowers slip to Bears at 29?

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Could Clemson DE Bowers slip to Bears at 29?

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Posted: 2:43 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

DaQuan Bowers is having one of the more intriguing pre-draft rides of any prospect. The Clemson defensive end has been everywhere from the No. 1 overall pick to a second-rounder, based on a suspect knee and just one mega-year (15.5 sacks as a junior, 4 total his first two seasons).

Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki summarized the concerns very succinctly this week and it would not surprise Nolan to see Bowers sliding down as far as 29th, where the Bears live.

The fluctuations will stop in three weeks when Bowers is drafted, undoubtedly somewhere between the two previous extremes. But two Bears defensive ends have figured in his being where he is and will be.

One was the late Gaines Adams, who was like a big brother to me, Bowers said. We were very close. Hes one of the reasons I chose Clemson. I was hit real hard by his death, but I had to go on.

The other is Julius Peppers. Bowers has held Peppers up as a football model for himself, but with realistic limits. He is one of the premier defensive ends in the NFL, Bowers said, laughing, and I am just a scrawny little defensive end coming out of college attempting to play like him and be half as good as him.

The Bears are determined to upgrade their pass rush (rare is the season and team that doesnt annually list that as a priority) and some scenarios would have Bowers still around when the Bears turn comes at No. 29. If hes available, he becomes an interesting possibility, particularly because that could mean at least one team has presumably taken an offensive lineman ahead of them rather than Bowers.

Theres talk of talk

NFL players have sent a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson, who is handling the court action by players seeking an injunction to end the lockout. The gist is that the players are embracing her recommendations to participate in mediation under court oversight.

View from the Moon will refrain from lengthy discussion and description of the myriad details here and elsewhere in the process. But there are a couple of different mediation options and the owners arent expected to be in favor of this one. So its movement, sort of...

Grain-of-salt time is upon us

Florida CG Mike Pouncey tweeted (@MikePouncey) that he would be shocked if hes not in a Dallas Cowboys uniform next season, obviously based on the hugs he got while visiting there. Actually, if he is in a Dallas uniform, a pretty high percentage of the football world will be dealing with the shock. The Cowboys pick No. 9 and no draft preview has Pouncey going nearly that high.

Pouncey can be forgiven, though, for letting himself believe the platitudes of a visit. The Bears have lavished the same things on prospects; so have other teams. Thats just part of pre-draft visits. As Mike Florio notes at ProFootballTalk.com, Randy Moss once had that same impression from the Cowboys, prior to the 1998 draft, when Dallas was picking eighth. They didnt take Moss, who stayed around until No. 21 when Dennis Green and the Minnesota Vikings took him.

For what its worth, Pouncey at guard while brother Maurkice was at center, before going on to a Pro Bowl rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers rates at the top of at least one list.

LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, a keep-an-eye-on player for the Bears according to draft expert Wes Bunting at National Football Post, said Maurkice was the best single blocker Nevis faced in college and Mike is good, too, Nevis said, adding, When they were at guard and center, that was a tough batch. And a lot of people would say that was the best one-two tandem they ever faced.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.