Moon: Bears' draft pick could pose some problems

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Moon: Bears' draft pick could pose some problems

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Posted: 10:48 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

All of the talk swirling around whether draftees should or would boycott the draft has not obscured the fact that there indeed will be one. And it will not be an easy time, with the Bears picking at No. 29.

I had a brutal time with Chicago with this mock draft, not that anyone cares, joked Todd McShay, college scouting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. on a conference call Wednesday. I dont have the perfect answer for them.

Hopefully, for the Bears sake, Jerry Angelo and Tim Ruskell do.

The need areas on both lines are well documented and they need a young Tommie Harris, a guy who can be that three-technique, McShay said. But can you get him at 29 overall? I dont think you can.

Insiders at Halas Hall are extremely high on Henry Melton, who has added muscle on up to 294 pounds and he right now is the heir apparent to the banner that Harris put down. Unfortunately the Bears arent able to be in close touch with Melton right now because of the labor situation but Melton could be enough of a factor to allow the Bears comfortably address offensive line first.

Linebacker is a possibility for the Bears in McShays mind. And Angelo is a firm believer in keeping a strength strong, a philosophy that points toward defense.
No No. 1 pick at all??

The Bears could choose to be without a pick in round one for the third straight year.

I think the Bears may be moving back and acquiring an extra pick on day two, McShay said. That may wind up being the best scenario for the Bears.

Nate Solder from Colorado could fall to the Bears because he does not have the rankings of Gabe Carimi, Mike Pouncey, Tyron Smith or Anthony Castonzo.

But waiting on the offensive line could work for Chicago.

Addressing the tendency of Indianapolis draft legend Bill Polian to draft offensive skill positions in his first rounds, McShay went against some analysts and said that there is sufficient depth in the offensive line class for a team to make a move there in the second round rather than the first.

McShay has moved Miamis Orlando Franklin into that range of the Bears in the late first round. While theres a lot of very good football players, probably one through 26, theres a drop-off after that, McShay said. Orlando Franklin could become one of the surprises of this class.

Gabbert vs. Newton

It wont involve the Bears but Missouris Blaine Gabbert has solidified some standing ahead of Cam Newton in the race to be the first quarterback taken. McShay has rated them that way for some time.

I dont view it as a leapfrog, McShay said. When he started studying tape on them closely, it didnt take longAndrew Luck was No. 1 if he was coming out, with Blaine Gabbert No. 2 and Cam Newton No. 3.

But neither should be expected to hit with the splash of some recent high No. 1 picks. I dont think theres a Matt Ryan or Sam Bradford in this class, McShay said. I think we have to take a step back from the last few years and go back to the old way of taking a year with a guy and letting him sit a year. Hes the only quarterback in this class I would draft in the top 10.

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.