Mullin: Panthers should look at Bears' QB history

442226.jpg

Mullin: Panthers should look at Bears' QB history

Monday, April 11, 2011
Posted: 9:41 a.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Platteville buddy Peter King of Sports Illustrated recounts an interesting chat with Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney in his Monday Morning Quarterback, appropriately titled because the talk around Cam Newton is picking up. The Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and itll be primarily Hurneys call on which player, or players, first-time head coach Ron Rivera is given.

Missouris Blaine Gabbert has been the consensus pick if Carolina goes quarterback but the Panthers have gotten tapes of Newton playing at Blinn Junior College, which raises eyebrows as well as draft stock. A variable in Carolina is the presence of Jimmy Clausen, a Hurney second-round pick last year, and the fact that the Panthers are still looking at a quarterback might not bode well for Clausen long-term.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is one who thinks Carolina would be making a major mistake giving up on Clausen, who struggled horrendously against the Bears (12.0 passer rating, pulled) last season. Can Clausen still be successful?

No question about it, Kiper declared. Jimmy Clausen written out as a reject? I dont see it.

Mel has questions, as do most evaluators, about Newton but a lot of them are the kind raised about every highly rated quarterback. And you wonder if those Blinn tapes are going to create an even loftier image of Newton that hell have to maintain.

Things came easy for Cam Newton, Mel said. I hope he doesnt think its going to come easy in the NFL. When he hits that adversitywhen he starts being called a bust, how does he deal with that? Thats something to concern yourself with... Anytime your transitioning from one level to the next, its tough.

The Dallas Cowboys once went after Steve Walsh with a No. 1 pick in a supplemental draft after already taking Troy Aikman No. 1 overall in the regular draft. The San Francisco 49ers traded a couple draft picks for Steve Young even with Joe Montana in place and still at an MVP level. Howd those work out?

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many potential franchise quarterbacks in your pipeline. Just ask the Bears what happens if you dont.

Get it right the first time

Whether the Bears address their offensive line on the first or second day of the draft, or both, the football absolute at work is the need to get the pick right. Very, very right.

This is beyond the obvious need to acquire talent now. It involves not having to go after the same position again and again if theres a miss near the top of the draft. Because the cost of a failed pick ripples into subsequent drafts, as the Bears have found too often.

A reason the Bears are still in need of a dominant offensive lineman is in part because Chris Williams hasnt been, which is the expectation of a 14th-overall pick. A reason the Bears needed to bring in guards Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza via free agency was the lack of impact from third-rounders Mike Gandy and Terrence Metcalf in 2001-2002.

Replacing players because of age or free-agency departures is part of the deal. But needing to address the same position year after year is a hidden disaster. When Jim Coverts career was cut short because of a back injury, the Bears went through Stan Thomas (1991, No. 1), Troy Auzenne (1992, No. 2) and Marcus Spears (1994, No. 2) trying to find a tackle and ultimately had to buy Andy Heck to stop the draft hemorrhaging.

The Bears need a hit up front, particularly with elite-level guards costing upwards of 6 million a season.

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.

Bears NFL Draft notebook: Starts may not be the whole story for Mitchell Trubisky

Bears NFL Draft notebook: Starts may not be the whole story for Mitchell Trubisky

Sweeping the notebook in the wake of the 2017 draft...

- Mitch Trubisky having only 13 starts coming out of North Carolina required the Bears to make a monumental leap of faith with their expensive trade-up to No. 2 overall and their choice. In this analysis, that would have been a deal-killer for that lofty level of his selection.

Not that it's a defining predictive measure necessarily: He wasn't drafted No. 2 overall, he wasn't a quarterback and his team didn't deplete their draft larder trading to get him, but Kyle Long had switched from defense to offense and had all of six starts coming out of Oregon and has been to the Pro Bowl three times.

- The Bears not selecting just one defensive back, in the fourth round, from a supposed talent-rich draft on that side of the football was only mildly surprising, given the money and roster slots invested in free agency on cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper, and safety Quintin Demps. And Ryan Pace hadn't drafted a defensive back higher than the fifth round in either of his first two drafts.

But the one he chose warrants questions, and for reasons beyond his coming off a broken leg of last October or that he was playing behind a defense that had six players taken in this year's first three rounds. Eddie Jackson comes out of Alabama, which the NFL beats a high-round draft path annually to Nick Saban's door for his players.

But defensively, many of those players and ones before Saban, while usually solid, arguably max out at Alabama: Of the 74 Alabama defensive players drafted since Derrick Thomas went to Kansas City in 1989, many of them 1's and 2's, seven (Landon Collins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, C.J. Mosley, Don't'a Hightower, Marcell Dareus, Roman Harper, DeMeco Ryans) became Pro Bowl players, by unofficial count.
 
For comparison purposes: From 2006 through the third round of the 2011 draft, 16 Oklahoma offensive players were drafted. Five have been selected to Pro Bowls, each to more than one. On the other hand, none of the 26 Michigan Wolverines drafted since Jake Long went No. 1 overall in 2008 have graced a Pro Bowl, yet Michigan led all schools with 11 players selected in this draft.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]

For the record: This is not only not a criticism of Alabama; it's actually a compliment. Some perspective here: For a long time, a widely held opinion of Penn State among NFL personnel folks was that you got solid players from there but because of the excellent coaching they'd gotten, only rarely did they go on to become NFL superstars. The thinking was that their coaching had gotten the max out of the players; they arrived with much of their upside already realized.
 
That said, those defensive players have been on 10 different Super Bowl champions. So maybe you DO want ‘Bama defensive guys around.

- North Carolina had five offensive players drafted, all skill-position'ers (two backs, two receivers), suggesting either that Trubisky had a pretty solid supporting cast, or that he made people around him really good.

The Tarheels were a modest 8-5, which is either a credit or an indictment of Trubisky, depending on how you want to look at it. Using a standard popular with fans of Jay Cutler, Trubisky didn't have a lot of help from the UNC defense, which allowed almost 25 points per game. (Clemson's defense gave up 18.4 per game for Deshaun Watson, No. 12 nationally).

- Ryan Pace said to check back with him in three years for a grade in this draft. This reporter has never subscribed to the multi-year time frame for evaluating a draft. Final grades maybe, as in a school-course grade, but you know well before the report card how you're doing in Chemistry. It does not take three years or even the oft-cited two to know whether a Shea McClellin or Kyle Long or Kyle Fuller or Alshon Jeffery or Leonard Floyd (or Adam Shaheen) can play, and the players in the early rounds are ultimately the make-or-break for a franchise on its drafts.

In the 2017 case, because the cornerstone Bears piece is a quarterback who isn't slotted to start this season, and they do have a longer developmental gradient anyway, this draft may be harder to evaluate. But I've used this wine analogy before: You know pretty well from a barrel-tasting what a particular vintage is going to develop into, and if the Bears don't know until three years from now what they have in Mitch Trubisky, the folks who drafted him likely won't be around to get that report card.

Rotoworld gives Bears a failing grade in 2017 NFL Draft

Rotoworld gives Bears a failing grade in 2017 NFL Draft

Consider Evan Silva among those not enthralled with Ryan Pace's five-man draft class.

The Rotoworld senior football editor handed out grades for all 32 NFL teams, and he came away confused with what the Bears did this weekend.

Chicago Bears

1 (2). North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky
2 (45). Ashland TE Adam Shaheen
4 (112). Alabama S Eddie Jackson
4 (119). North Carolina A&T RB Tarik Cohen
5 (147). Kutztown OG Jordan Morgan

Overview: The Bears’ extremely ill-advised, desperation-driven one-spot climb for Trubisky cost them pick Nos. 67, 111, and a 2018 third-rounder. At UNC, Trubisky spent two years backing up Marquise Williams, who couldn’t beat out “Joe Callahan” as a Packers camp arm last year. In round two, Chicago dropped from No. 36 to 45 to add Nos. 119, 197, and a 2018 fourth-rounder. They wasted No. 45 on D-2 Frankenstein lookalike Shaheen. Ballhawking safety Jackson was my favorite Bears pick, although Jackson enters the NFL with significant injury concerns, and moving up for him cost Chicago the No. 197 pick in exchange for just a five-spot climb. Fellow fourth-rounder Cohen is a fun guy to watch, but he has almost no chance to make an NFL offensive impact at 5-foot-7, 179. Remember Garrett Wolfe? 60% of the Bears’ draft came from sub-Division-1 schools. Ultimately, the class will pay off if Trubisky turns into a franchise quarterback. Yet there is absolutely no way 13 college starts provide enough evidence to suggest Trubisky is a good-probability bet. It’s more likely that this was the worst draft in the entire league.

Grade: F

Check out the rest of Silva's grades from the 2017 NFL Draft right here.