Flips, tilts of Bears' draft board tell all

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Flips, tilts of Bears' draft board tell all

The NFL is dealing with a burgeoning tally of lawsuits over injuries, from concussions on down. One league personnel executive told CSNChicago.com that injuries are the true bane of a draft, because performance can be seen whereas injuries often cant.

A missed practice in college -- cause for concern or an isolated sick day?

Those kinds of questions will be among the most closely examined by the Bears and every other franchise this week leading up to the draft. Indeed, those issues already have been.

The Bears are among teams plagued by injuries to high-round draft choices (tackles Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams, end Dan Bazuin, defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, others).

They have their own way of weighing the information that can either be stamped no problem or drop a player off a draft board entirely.

We call them tilts and flips, GM Phil Emery said on Tuesday. We'll tilt a player on the board. We'll turn his card going south a little bit if they're in that risk area. And usually we move those players to the right of the column. The players that are clean are to the left.

We'll flip them all the way over if the risk is too high -- if their medical grade puts them in a situation we feel the risk is too high. Meaning, we would not pick them. And if they're tilted, we're going to have a lot of discussion before we would move forward with that player.

Head cases

Concussions have become featured cases, both because of their severity and long-term potential impact on players careers and lives. The league is paying more attention to them.

So are the Bears. They have increased the depth of their research, looking in seeming out-of-the-way conversations for leads.

Emery mentioned specifically the post-game comments of coaches regarding players, the late-week comments on why perhaps a player was playing or not or was a question, and other places in the college week.

From there they can sometimes surprise a prospect.

So digging those out, entering them into our database, we can ask the right questions of the player when we interview him, Emery said. When we get him at an all-star game and can say, hey, looks like you had a head injury and you were held out the first quarter.

Theyll say, whered you get that? And then say, Yeah, I had a concussion...

Going back a little bit about the medical research, that's part of our research. Anytime a head injury, conked out of the game, a headache, any of those words being used, we get it into our injury incident report so that our physicians call follow it up with the proper questions or the proper screening and medical test for that situation.

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

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.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

6'4" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

3,532 YDS, 62.0 CMP%, 27 TD, 7 INT, 150.3 QBR

Projection:

Third/Fourth round

Scouting Report:

"Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

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

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles