Special teams turnover at the top?

625040.png

Special teams turnover at the top?

With Corey Graham as the latest Bears special-teams standout heading to a Pro Bowl, its entirely possible that the Bears could be going into the 2012 season with not one, but two new coordinators.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the architect of arguably the most consistently strong units in franchise history, is without a contract after this season. He, like offensive coordinator Mike Martz, turned down an extension before this season and a new deal has not been concluded to this point.

Not yet, Toub told CSNChicago.com on Wednesday. Im not concerned.

Working in Toubs favor are coaching vacancies, current and to come, at the head-coach and assistant level, since he will be free to discuss any openings. Those represent leverage, and the current success of a former special-teams coach -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, formerly with Toub on the Philadelphia Eagles staff -- also is a major positive in a league where teams look around to see whats worked elsewhere.

The Bears could not match the money that would come with a head-coaching offer but options in other places translate into better offers even in place.

Toub has expressed hope in the past that he would get an opportunity to be a head coach. But as far as things working out in Chicago, I hope so, he said.

Alex Brown 'not very happy' about Bears moving up to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

Alex Brown 'not very happy' about Bears moving up to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

After having a few days to reflect on the Bears' first-round pick in the NFL Draft, CSN's Alex Brown remains unimpressed. 

The former Bears defensive end dropped by In the Loop to discuss his overall thoughts on the pick. 

"I'm still not very happy about it," Brown said of Ryan Pace's decision to trade up and select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. "But I think what we can take from it is Ryan Pace, these guys they're looking down down the road. Not this year, not next year but maybe that third year." 

[RELATED: Starts may not be the whole story for Mitchell Trubisky]

Although Brown wasn't high on Trubisky, he did have positive reviews for fourth-rounder Eddie Jackson. The safety from Alabama gives Vic Fangio's defense a new option at a position where they desperately need playmakers. 

Watch Brown give his quick hits on the Bears entire draft in the video above and flip to CSN at 10:30 p.m. for a special Draft Recap. 

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 Tar Heels 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.