The results of the first three rounds project to have significant impact on the future of the Bears. Defensive end Shea McClellin and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery are expected to be starters before opening day.But the picks point to several important conclusions about the thinking of the organization, the talent available in this draft as well as what is thought about sections of the current roster.Selecting a pass rusher has been expected since the end of the 2011 season. Corey Wootton was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft but has been besieged by injuries and simply hasnt developed enough to satisfy the organization.The pass rusher the Bears chose is revealing as to how the Bears draft board is set up.When the first pick came at No. 19, and wanting a pass rusher, the Bears had their pick from McClellin, Chandler Jones from Syracuse (No. 21 to New England), Whitney Mercilus from Illinois (26th to Houston) or Nick Perry from USC (28th to Green Bay). Alabamas Courtney Upshaw lasted until the third pick of the second round, going to Baltimore.General managerPhil Emery said last week that the Bears had a core of seven possibles for the 19th pick. Not all of them were pass rushers, but only Quinton Coples and Bruce Irvin were gone when the Bears picked. They did not settle for McClellin
Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?
Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday.
And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward.
“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”
Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys?
That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”
Avisail Garcia's "big head" almost cost the White Sox on Friday night. At least, that's Reynaldo Lopez's humorous theory.
With the game on the line and the Royals' tying run dashing for the plate, Garcia slipped a bit before making a clutch recovery to nail Whit Merrifield. The craziness continued after the tag as Narvaez caught Lorenzo Cain drifting off first base to seal a win.
"I was watching the game on the TV here," Lopez said, "and then when I saw the hit from Cain, and I saw that Avi fell down because he has a big head, I was concerned but at the same time I saw that his throw, he has a good arm and he made a very good throw."
Just your average 9-2-4-6 double play to end a game on the South Side, right?
"Obviously, when he slipped we took a little gasp," Renteria said. "But we were talking about his body control to be able to maintain himself enough to get up and make the throw that he did. Unbelievable. It's pretty exciting finish to a ballgame that kind of got a little ugly early on."
Ugly is an apt way to describe the first few innings. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada both made errors in the Royals' six-run third inning, and Lopez capped it off with a wild pitch that allowed Eric Hosmer to score. But it went from an eyesore loss to an overzealous "we could make noise in 2019" rebuild win from there, and Garcia's defense -- of all things -- played a significant role.
Garcia's outfield assist in the ninth was his second of the game. The first, an absolute strike to cut down Alex Gordon in the sixth, didn't involve a slip, though.
And while much has been made of Garcia's breakout year with the bat, he believes his defense is hugely improved, too.
"I think 100 percent," he said. "I just try to get better every day with hitting and defense. That’s baseball so get better in everything."
He has 12 outfield assists on the season, up from five a year ago. And despite his overall fielding percentage being down, his strong arm may give him a stronger defensive reputation.
"Since last year, he's always had an excellent arm," Renteria said. "I think his accuracy is something to be pointed out too because as off balance as he was, he's made some throws to the plate that have been really spot on."
Renteria attributes Garcia's accuracy to the outfielder putting in extra time with Daryl Boston.
"(Boston) has those guys throwing, and none of you guys are out there watching them work, but they'll throw quite a bit to the bases, especially second base," Renteria said. "They'll get deep and they'll work on doing that, so that's just a part of their routine."
The evolution of Avi carries on.