Bears Hire Zach Azzanni to Coach Teams’ Wide Outs

The Bears have added one of the final pieces for John Fox’s 2017 coaching staff as Zach Azzanni has been hired as wide receivers coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports.

More than seven weeks after the end of last season, Fox’s staff is coming together with the addition of Azzanni, which two league sources confirmed to the Tribune.

Azzanni comes to the NFL from the University of Tennessee where he was the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the past two seasons. Azzanni has worked for the Volunteers since 2013 and prior to that spent one season as the wide receivers coach at Wisconsin.

Possible Landing Spots for Jay Cutler

By Bryan Dietzler 

It’s almost a certainty that Jay Cutler is going to not be a Chicago Bear next season.  You haven’t heard him mentioned as part of General Manager Ryan Pace’s future plans. The media is talking about him but not in any capacity that would suggest he won’t be back with the Bears in 2017.  They are considering him an afterthought in Chicago Bears lore.

If the Bears are smart, which sometimes it would appear they struggle with, they would try to trade Cutler instead of cutting him.  They need to get something out of him and getting a draft pick or a productive player would be a plus.

But what teams would be willing to trade for the nearly “broken” quarterback?  What could the Bears get out of him?  Why do we even care where Cutler goes?

Fans should take some interest in where Cutler could go.  Why?  Because it will dictate how much they might get back in return (in draft picks or players).  The more desperate the team, the more they will be willing to give up to get someone.

But who would be desperate enough to trade for a quarterback like Cutler?

Believe it or not, many teams would probably try get him, if not as a starter, then as a backup.

This writer has nailed down five possible landing spots for Cutler and what it means for both him and the Bears.

Yes, Jay Cutler may be on his way out and he has had a poor career in Chicago.  He is an enigma and most of the fan base may dislike him.  But he will leave Chicago with several franchise records while he kept things interesting since 2009.

Yes, the media now reports that the New York Jets aren’t interested in Cutler but do NFL teams tell reporters what they are really going to do?  The Jets need a quarterback and Cutler could help them for a season or two while they draft and develop a franchise player (sound familiar Bears fans?).  Sure, it might be a little interesting with Brandon Marshall there but the Cutler to Marshall connection could be re-kindled.

The addition of Cutler could help the Jets find some success on offense and help get them moving in the right direction.  It depends on what weapons they can provide Cutler as well as how well he takes to the new offense.  A Cutler to the Jets scenario would be nearly ideal.

But who or what could the Bears get in return?  The Jets have some decent defenders that could be of some interest to Chicago.  But would New York be willing to let them go?  People have discussed having the Bears try to acquire Muhammad Wilkerson or Sheldon Richardson for Cutler.  That would certainly be worth it as the Bears would get something in return for him.

A trade to the Jets could be a good move, for the right price.  And it makes sense.

The Jacksonville Jaguars felt that Blake Bortles would be their long-term answer at quarterback when they drafted him in 2014.  But he has not been what they thought he would be.  This may be the last year the Jaguars try to see what they have in Bortles.  And they could use another, more experienced quarterback, to either help guide him along (with advice) or push him.  Cutler could be that guy.

Jacksonville could provide Chicago with some draft picks which they could use to help upgrade their roster.  Right now, there aren’t too many players that are rumored to be up for trade in Jacksonville but maybe the Bears could try to get them to part with a good defensive player.  Jacksonville’s defense is talented but just not terribly effective.

Don’t think it is too far-fetched to think that the Jaguars may be interested in Cutler.  He could be a good backup and start in a pinch.  And with Bortles struggling, they might be able to use him for motivation or to help them win a few games.

No list of where a quarterback could land would be complete without adding Cleveland to it.  The Browns are never settled at the quarterback position and might be interested in Cutler.  He could help add some competition at the positon there, where Robert Griffin III appears to be the front runner.  Cutler might even be able to earn himself a starting spot.  At the least, he could help provide them with some depth.

What would Cleveland be willing to give up to get Cutler?  Draft picks shouldn’t be a problem.  They have plenty.  There may not be too many players they the Bears want, in trade, but they could always use some draft picks.  But Cutler could join the never-ending quarterback carousel in Cleveland.  Would he really want to do that?

The San Francisco 49ers are probably going to let Colin Kapernick go and Blaine Gabbert is not the long-term answer.  So, they will be in the market for a quarterback.  They could choose one in the draft with the number two pick in the first round and use a bridge quarterback to help then get through the next season or two (again, sound familiar?).  Cutler could be that bridge quarterback.

One thing that Cutler brings to any team is experience and the new regime in San Francisco may like that.  They house cleaning and talent searching the 49ers will is probably going to come with a much more “open wallet”.  The Bears could come out with something valuable for Cutler.  Draft picks?  The 49ers have them.  And a up and coming player wouldn’t be bad either.

Any fan of the Bears will remember that former offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Cutler had a good relationship when they were together in 2015.  Gase helped current Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill develop and perhaps he could get Cutler in Miami.

There were some rumors that Tannehill and the Dolphins coaching staff may not be getting along.  It’s possible that was true and when those whispers were flying around, Cutler to Miami rumors were stirring.  But imagine this one.  Cutler to Miami and Tannehill to Chicago.  There is the bridge quarterback the Bears need.  And Tannehill isn’t too bad of a signal caller.

Could the Bears make it happen?  Perhaps this would be the ideal scenario.

After years of trouble and heartache it’s finally time for the Bears to let Cutler go.  He has struggled in Chicago and the Bears have struggled with him.  As much as people dislike him and blame for years of ineptitude he was not completely responsible for all of Chicago’s problems.  But he had a hand in a better part of the Bears issues over the past few seasons.

Perhaps he deserves a pleasant sendoff while the Bears get something back in return.

Bears Ink Offensive Lineman Eric Kush to Two-Year Deal

The Bears have announced they are bringing back offensive lineman Eric Kush, a player who came in when the team lost Hroniss Grasu to a torn ACL.

PFT reports that Kush has inked a two-year deal.

Kush may be best known for his “Man of a Thousand Tank Tops” persona on Hard Knocks, and has had previous stints with the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Texans.

Kush started four games for the Bears last year, so he figures to be a valuable reserve in case their line isn’t ravaged by injuries again.

The Chicago Bears Quarterback Position and How To Fix It in 2017

By Bryan Dietzler

The 2017 off-season has come and all 32 teams are now getting set for the upcoming season.  Some teams have less work to do than others.  Then you have teams that have a lot of rebuilding to do.  The Bears are one of those teams that have a lot of work to do.  After a demoralizing season, Chicago needs to get help at a lot of positions to help make this themselves a contender.

Chicago’s needs are numerous and we have talked about them before.  But the one need that keeps on coming up in almost any conversation people have about the Bears is quarterback.  This has been an ongoing issue with the team for years and it’s time that it got solved.

But how can the Bears fix the quarterback position?  Should they fix it now in 2017 or should they wait another year?  Those are lingering questions on every fan’s mind.

This writer has spent a lot time considering the different scenarios that could happen at the quarterback position this off-season.  They are broken down here.  What are your thoughts?  Which idea is the best for the Bear at the quarterback position?  What should they do to shore up this position and make it better for the future?

Here are a few possibilities.

Keep Cutler/Let Him Go-This would be an easiest thing but would it be the best?  Cutler has struggled not only playing the game but staying healthy and the Bears may be ready to part ways with him.  It certainly appears as if they are ready to move on so it might be safe to say he won’t be back in 2017.  But how should they let him go?  They need to try to get something out of him so trading him to a willing trade partner would be a great idea.  Chicago may not get what they want but at least they will get something.

If they did decide to keep Cutler, then they need to draft another quarterback.  Cutler can be the “bridge” quarterback until that draftee is ready to go.  It’s clear to see that Cutler is not the long-term answer.  The Bears either need to let him go or trade someone something for him.  But he’s just not going to cut it in Chicago any longer.

Trade for Jimmy Garoppolo-If you have been keeping track of the news, it’s being reported that the Bears are interested in trying to make trade for Garoppolo.  It’s been said that it’s one of their top priorities.  But the asking price the Patriots have put up for him may be too high.  They currently want a number one and a number four pick for him (that can always change).  That is may be way too steep of a price to pay for him.

And not only is the price they have to pay for him high but he’s not a well-tested quarterback.  He has limited starting experience but it being billed as a potential all-star quarterback.  Some of these quarterbacks with limited staring experience have been hot commodities.  But when they land starting roles with new teams, they can struggle.  Brock Osweiler anyone?

But you can’t let one bad egg ruin it for everyone.  Garoppolo could be the next Tom Brady.

At the right price the Bears might be able to get him but not for as much as the Patriots are asking right now.  He is unproven and may fall flat.  He’s too big of a risk.  Chicago cannot afford to overpay for him if they decide they want him.

Trade for Tony Romo-The Bears and Tony Romo have been linked in discussions about trades ever since November.  Romo is nearing the end of his career and hasn’t won a championship yet.  He may want to go to a team that’s closer to getting to a Super Bowl than the Bears.  But if he was open to coming to Chicago, would he be worth it?

He is an injury risk and doesn’t have much time left.  If they could get him for the right price, they could use him as a bridge quarterback, drafting another player to eventually take over.  But Romo would probably not want to come to Chicago.  He would want to go to an immediate contender.

Consider his coming to Chicago something that won’t happen.

Acquire Tyrod Taylor-If you sat Garoppolo and Taylor together and compared them, you might consider Taylor being better.  Why?  He has more starts and more wins.  But he might not have more upside.  There is talk that the Buffalo Bills and Taylor are looking to part ways and this might make him available for the Bears this off-season.  But would he be worth bringing to Chicago?

Taylor has an injury history and the Bears may shy away from him because of that.  He has put up strong numbers but he hasn’t had the wins that you would expect out of a franchise quarterback.  Quite honestly, the Bears could get by with one of the current guys they have and bring along a new quarterback of the future.  They don’t really need Taylor.  They should consider other options.

Other External Scenarios-There are a couple of other backup quarterbacks out there that are being considered around as possibilities for the Bears (to trade for).  Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon has been mentioned.  He has limited starting experience but has won some games.  He might be available for the right price and could be worth a look?  If he can be acquired for a low price, then maybe he should get some consideration.

Fans and media are throwing out current Cincinnati Bengal’s backup A.J. McCarron’s name as well.  He hasn’t had much playing experience but people seem to think he could be a future NFL star. Once again, he is another untested and untried player.  Do the Bears’ take a look?  If they decide he is worth a shot, they can’t give up too much to get him.

Go With What They Have-The Bears may have what they need at the quarterback position already (minus Cutler).  But, if they want to retain what they already have, they need to get some contracts signed.

The Bears have Connor Shaw, Brian Hoyer, David Fales and Matt Barkley under contract for just a more few weeks.  When free agency starts, these guys will be free agents.  So, which of them should the Bears re-sign?

They all have some upside but Fales may be the odd man out, to whittle down the list.  He was let go by the Bears to begin with and just brought back as insurance in case Barkley went out. They have the three other guys to evaluate and see who should (and could) stick.  Fales is probably not in their plans.

Hoyer proved himself to be an asset but he didn’t win too many games (but he missed a few with a broken arm).  He was a good game manager but may not be going to “light it up”.  Hoyer may not bring the Bears up from being down in a huge hole (like Brady).

Shaw is a relative unknown who has shown a lot of promise but in exhibition games only.  The Bears seem to like him.  Maybe he can do some wonderful things at the quarterback position?

Barkley is an interesting prospect.  He made some nice plays but ended up making many more mistakes.  Should the Bears consider bringing him back?  Does he have a lot of potential?

Before we decide who the Bears should keep we need to consider a longer-term solution to the Bears’ quarterback problems.  What is that solution?  Its drafting a quarterback.  The Bears need to find a player that they can consider a “franchise” player and a long-term fix at quarterback.  It’s time they developed someone on their own rather than picking up someone off another team’s bench.

If they were to get a quarterback in the first round, that player could probably start right away.  But where they pick, at number three, taking a quarterback is a gamble.  Instead, they may want to wait until the second or third round to find their future star.  That player can sit behind a “bridge” starter for a year or two while they develop.

Quite honestly, this could be the ideal scenario.

So, back to which quarterback should be the bridge quarterback. If they decide not to get anyone in free agency, then they will have the three previously mentioned guys to choose from.  Say they keep two.  Which two should stay?

Shaw is a bit of an unknown.  They might sign him to a contract and keep him around in training camp to see what they have.  If he can’t cut it, then they need to let him walk.  Hoyer might be worth keeping, he’s a solid game manager and if he can step it up, he could make a good bridge quarterback.

Barkley is a little bit of an enigma.  He did well at times and at other times he looked horrible.  You could say that the competition might be between him and Shaw.  Whoever shows themselves to be the best quarterback in training camp could be the one that stays.  But will the Bears sign Barkley and bring him into training camp?

So, it’s possible the Bears could have Hoyer as the starter, with Shaw (or an outside shot that Barkley could stick) as a backup. Then, they could have that third quarterback, a draftee, on the roster.  It might be wise for the Bears to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster while a draftee develops, just in case.

The Bears’ quarterback situation is hard to predict.  There are so many ways the Bears could go.  What would be the best way?  That would probably be using a bridge quarterback that they didn’t trade away the farm for in addition to drafting a future starter.  Or they can keep what they have right now.

What do you think the Bears should do?  Please share your opinion.

The Chicago Bears Roster: The Bears’ Biggest Needs

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By Bryan Dietzler

The 2016 season has just about come to an end and the Bears are on the hunt for some talent.  They have a lot of needs in several areas and they will have the money and the draft picks to try to fill them.  Another thing that will factor in is injuries.  The injury bug hit the Bears hard and those players that status of those players heading into the 2017 season will be key.  Will they be fully healthy or will the Bears have to find long term replacements?

General Manager Ryan Pace will have his work cut out for him this off-season trying to fill all the Bears holes.  What are the Bears missing?  What positions are the neediest as they head into this coming off-season?

This writer has identified top five areas of need for the Bears heading into free agency and the 2017 NFL Draft period.  These are needs that the Bears should fill and would help them win more games next season.  Let’s look at the what and the why of these needs and see what the Bears can do to take care of them before training camp this summer.

Quarterback-Some may consider this to the Bears’ number one need heading into the off-season. There, there are a lot of choices and a lot of options here and the Bears should be able to solidify this spot.  With Jay Cutler, still under contract and several other players still on the team up to free agency, the Bears could go a few different ways.  The scenarios will be discussed in a future article but for now, it’s clear.  The Bears desperately need help at quarterback.

A likely scenario is that the Bears could find a “bridge” quarterback in free agency or by trade and then draft a future starter.  They could also rely on one of the guys they have on the roster right now to get them through until a draft pick is ready.  Whatever they decide to do, Chicago needs to figure this position out this off-season or the current coaching staff and general manager may not be around to figure it out next year.

Safety-The safety position has been a contentious one for several seasons and it’s time the Bears address it. Unlike other years, there is some strong safety talent at the top of the draft so drafting a safety early might be a good option.  There is also a guy named Eric Berry who should end up being a free agent this year (if the Chief’s don’t re-sign him).  If the Bears could get him, he could instantly and effectively upgrade their secondary.

This position must be addressed this off-season.  The Bears have struggled so much there and the weakness at safety has cost them games.  This is the year to pull the trigger and get a quality starter at one of the two safety positions.  Perhaps they could get help at both.  If they can’t get this figured out this off-season, they will struggle there again for a long time.

Tight End-Zach Miller, when he plays, is an adequate starter but he is not a dynamic one. His health is also a concern.  After him, the Bears have no one who can be a solid starter (blocker and receiver) at tight end.  They could try to find a free agent or make a trade butthere are some decent tight ends coming out in the draft.  Spending a third or a fourth-round pick on someone could net them a future starter. But it would take time for them to develop.

The Bears had thought they had solidified the position with Martellus Bennett but they had to separate themselves from him.  Now, they need someone who can become the type of player Bennett was without the drama.  That player can be found in the draft.  We will profile some great, mid-round tight ends, later.

Cornerback-With Kyle Fuller never a sure thing and Tracy Porter regressing, the Bears need to shore up at least one, if not both, of their cornerback spots. As with the other positions, free agency may be one place to look for a starter.  However, the draft will allow them to develop long term depth.  The Bears secondary gave up a lot of critical plays in 2016 so getting help is a must.

Keeping Porter one more season and drafting a young corner could be the Bears’ best bet here.  Like safety, the cornerback spots were another problem area for the Bears in 2016.  They must get those fixed ASAP.

Offensive Tackle (left tackle)-Charles Leno Jr. was a serviceable left tackle last season but the Bears need something more. Also, if Leno was to get hurt, the team would be in serious trouble.  They could try to look for some help there in the draft and pick up someone a little later .  But, that is not where you find your strong starting left tackles.

Free agency is another option here.  But, perhaps the best choice is for the Bears to draft a left tackle to compete with Leno Jr.  Then this draftee could either push him or take over his starting job.  But maybe only great, quality left tackles can be found in the first or second round?  Would the Bears go for one there?

Judging by this list, it can be seen that the Bears cannot find all the help they need in the first three rounds of the draft.  Why?  Because most of your immediate starters are found in those rounds.  The Bears have more needs for starters than they do draft picks in the first three rounds.  That’s why they need to find help using a balance of free agency and the draft.  If they can do this successfully they will take care of most of their needs.

In future articles, we will look at how the Bears can fill these positions through free agency and the draft.  What players will be available and which will be the best fit?  Those questions and more will be answered soon.

Chicago Bears Draft Needs: The Quarterback Position

By Bryan Dietzler 

If you have been keeping track of what has been happening on social media or message boards, Chicago Bears fans have been saying that the team’s biggest need is at quarterback.  That is a given.  The Bears have struggled at the positon for so long it’s hard for fans to remember when they had a true winning quarterback.  Can Bears’ fans even say they have seen a winning franchise quarterback in recent memory?  Not really.

When Jay Cutler came to the Bears in 2009 he was thought to be the “chose one”.  The organization and the fans thought that he would save the team and get the them to the Super Bowl.  He had his ups and downs (mostly downs) during his career in Chicago.  Some of it can be blamed on Cutler himself while there were problems that were not his fault.

Some of the things that were out of his control included coaching changes, specifically with the offensive coordinators.  He didn’t have much consistency as he was constantly learning a new offense.  His offensive lines have traditionally been very weak and have underperformed.  The blame cannot rest entirely on him.

But he has traditionally had poor decision making skills, injury concerns (granted he can’t control those) and has not been the ideal teammate in some people’s eyes.  The promise of taking the Bears to the Super Bowl has never panned out and some feel they have wasted time with him.

The time for the Bears to part ways with Cutler is now.  And now is the time to find his replacement.

Let’s assume that Chicago does not get their “franchise” quarterback through free agency or from a trade.  Maybe they will get a bridge quarterback but still need to draft a “long term solution” at quarterback this year.  Who might they draft?  Which quarterbacks could be the best available.

For this article, we are going to have the assumption that the Bears could take a quarterback in the first, second or third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.  We will look at the top prospects, per round, that could interest the Bears.

Round One

The Bears could choose to move down in the first round and collect additional picks on their way down.  If they do that, that could throw everything off but for now, let’s assume they stay at number three.

Taking a quarterback that early is a huge risk. It can either make your team a success (Andrew Luck is a good example) or a failure (see Jamarcus Russell).  You must tread lightly here.

Should Chicago decide to roll the dice on a quarterback in the first round, here are the three they should consider (in no particular order):

DeShaun Watson-Clemson-There are some that consider Watson to be the number one quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft.  He’s got a ton of talent and a lot of skill but there are still some questions surrounding his ability to become an NFL starter.  The Bears will look at him, however, because he could help right the ship and become their new starting franchise quarterback.  He’s got the talent to that and that can’t be denied.

I bet if you took a poll of Bear’s fans, most them would probably agree that the Bears should choose Watson.  It might be the right choice but the Bears need to weigh their options carefully.

DeShone Kizer-Notre Dame-Kizer comes from a program that did not win a lot of games but scouts love him more for his ability than ability to win.  Kizer must prove that he is as talent as they think he is but he may be able to rise above the other quarterbacks in the draft.  Depending on who you are reading, he is either a high first to high second round pick.  We will see how the pre-draft workouts go.

Mitch Trubisky-University of North Carolina-There are some that think that Trubisky is the best quarterback in the draft.  The reality about him is that he has the least starting experience of most of the guys in the draft and that can scare some teams.  The Bears will surely take that into consideration when looking at him and may choose another quarterback due to his lack of starts.  But he has a lot of talent and if a team wants to develop him further (take the time to) they could have a good long term option.

He may be the best “long term” option of all the quarterbacks in the first round.

We won’t pick which one the Bears should take just yet.  But if they go for a first round quarterback, it should be one of the three previously mentioned.  That is, unless someone sneaks into the top of the first round which could easily happen.

Second Round

The second round of the 2017 NFL Draft has limited talent at the quarterback position as it grades out right now.  There are some that believe that Kizer could fall into the early second and perhaps the Bears could grab him there.  But if he goes before that, they may not have much to choose from in the second round.

Who is the lone player that is rated a second pick right now?

Brad Kaaya-Miami (Fla)-If you have followed Kaaya’s career, you will see that he is a consistent playmaker who understands the game.  He is smart and makes good decisions throwing the ball.  He did come out a year early but even though he is a junior, he plays like he more experienced.  Some seem to think he could be a sleeper in this year’s draft.  He is this writer’s favorite pick, at quarterback, for the Bears right now.

Kaaya may not be able to start right away so the Bears will want to get a bridge quarterback in free agency or among the guys they have on the roster.  They could let him sit for a year, learn then step in and be their quarterback of the future.  But that’s if they pick him.

Round Three

There are a couple of quarterback prospects that are rated as third rounders at this time.  This will change as workouts and the combine showcase more of these player’s talents.  These quarterbacks would likely not be starters in their first season in the NFL.  They would have to learn behind an experienced veteran quarterback.  They are:

Nathan Peterman-Pittsburgh-Peterman was quietly one of the better quarterbacks in college.  He is also a popular sleeping pick with some experts.  With some experience, he could end up being a decent starter but he’s not ready to start right away.  Peterman did have a winning record in school but he wasn’t “NFL consistent”.  Hopefully he can learn consistency and build himself into a franchise quarterback NFL.  He can put up good numbers, he’s intelligent and he could be a solid starting quarterback at some point.

Patrick Mahomes-Texas Tech-Mahomes comes into the 2017 as a junior and may move his draft stock forward as time goes on.  Some say he could be a good fit for the Bears if they decide to skip taking a first round quarterback.  Why is that?  Mahomes has been tabbed  as being a future franchise quarterback.  He has the physical tools, the intelligence and the skill to become a solid starter in the NFL someday.

There are those that believe that he could be the best future franchise quarterback in the draft.  They also say he would not be an immediate starter.  Could this be the guy the bears need the to take? Could he be the long-term answer in Chicago?

The Bears could dig deeper but the talent they seek is not there in later rounds.  It has been said that this is not a strong quarterback class so if the Bears are going to do something, they need to do it at the top of the draft.

Which of these quarterbacks should the Bears take?  Should they even take a quarterback? What are your thoughts?

Mid-January Chicago Bears Mock Draft

 

By Bryan Dietzler

Several NFL Draft prognosticators have already started putting out their seven round mock drafts for each NFL team.  There have been a few put out for the Bears already and, of course, every one of them is different.  No one has a consensus as to who the Bears would pick with all their draft picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and right now it’s purely speculation.  But it’s a lot of fun isn’t it?

This writer decided to throw his hat in the ring and do a seven round mock draft based on the Bears’ current pick set.

In the 2107 NFL Draft, the Bears have seven picks.  They include one first round pick, a second round pick, a third round pick, two fourth round picks, a fifth round selection and a seventh round pick.

Note: The order in which the Bears pick, beyond the first round, has not yet been determined.  We will not have the pick number for this mock draft.

Round One

The Bears have the third round pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.  So they have their pick of just about any player in that round.  The two teams ahead of them, Cleveland and San Francisco could put a wrench in their plans though and it could be competitive at the top of the that round.

There are several people who think the Bears should take a quarterback and if the right guy is there, they just might do that.  But taking a quarterback in the first round is a gamble and the Bears are not a gambling team.

I think the Bears will not look at a quarterback in the first round and try to go with the best player available.  But who could be the best player available?

You can expect the Cleveland Browns to take the best player available regardless of position while the 49ers may take the best quarterback available.  The best quarterback available right now is (if you read what the experts say) is DeShaun Watson.  Mitch Trubisky is also creeping his way in as a top quarterback.  The best player available could be Texas A & M defensive end Myles Garrett.  He might end up with the Browns.

The Bears could really use a safety and if one of the top three are available and are worth it, they should take one.  Right now, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, LSU’s Jamal Adams or Ohio State’s Malik Hooker grade out as first rounders so the Bears might want to take one of them.  For the value and if he’s worth it, Malik Hooker may be the guy the Bears want to go with.

First Round Selection-FS Malik Hooker-Ohio State

Second Round

The Bears could go for a quarterback in this round. It would be safer to get one there and they could find a developmental player or a starter. They will be picking pretty low in the round (they should be picking third in the second round) so the possibility of finding a good quarterback there is strong.

Some of the quarterbacks that are rated as second round prospects, right now, include Miami Hurricane quarterback Brad Kaaya and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.  Both are juniors who declared early and both have a lot of talent.

If you had to choose between the two, Kaaya might be the best bet.  He’s got a better skill set and has looked better in preliminary tape sessions.  He might also take to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains teaching a little better.  Things will change a lot before the draft but for now, Kaaya could be a great possibility in the second round.

Second Round Selection-QB-Brad Kaaya-Miami

Third Round

The Bears could use some help at the cornerback position and the third round might be a good place to get that help.  This could be the round they find a starter in either in 2017 or in the near future.  There is some nice talent available at the cornerback position in the third round so the Bears will have plenty to choose from.

Some of the better talent available at cornerback in the third round include Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie, Houston’s Howard Wilson and Washington’s Kevin King.  Wilson has the least experience of them all but is an interesting prospect.  King seems to be the better of the three and might be the most pro-ready of them all.

If King is there, the Bears might want to grab him.  He just might be able to start in 2017 or in 2018 making him a wise investment.

Third Round-Kevin King-CB-Washington

Fourth Round

The Bears have two fourth round picks so they have some options in that round.  By this point they have taken care of the quarterback positon, safety position and cornerback position they can start striking out for some depth.

Perhaps the first area of need the Bears could address is at outside linebacker. They have Leonard Floyd,when he is healthy.  But Pernell McPhee has missed a lot of time due to injury.  Some depth to help the starters (giving them some time to rest) would be good.

Three of the best outside linebackers who are currently rated as fourth round prospects include Illinois Carroll Phillips, Louisville’s Devonte Fields and Wisconsin’s Vince Biegel.  After a quick glance at these guys, it would appear as if Biegel might be the better fit.  He has speed and can get to the quarterback. In the Bears’ scheme, that’s what the outside guys need to do.

Fourth Round #1-Vince Biegel-OLB-Wisconsin

The Bears have some decent talent along the offensive line and the depth there is nice.  But one position they could use some depth in is at the left tackle position.  What they do need is some help for Charles Leno Jr., who did start in and play in every game last season but is not a “franchise” left tackle.  While the Bears may not be able to find a starter in the fourth round, they could find someone to push Leno and provide more competition.

The fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft has good talent at the tackle position.  Some of the top fourth round offensive tackles include Arkansas Dan Skipper, Michigan’s Erick Magnuson, Bucknell’s Julie’n Davenport and USC’s Chad Wheeler.

Wheeler has received some attention while at USC and may move up in the draft due to his talent.  If he was to make it to where the Bears pick, they should get him.  He might just end up as a starter with some experience. He might be a steal.

Fourth Round #2-Chad Wheeler-OT-USC

Fifth Round

Chicago’s next pick is in the fifth round and this might be the point they look at getting some wide receiver depth.  The Bears may be letting some of their receivers go this off-season and may need some help.   A fifth-round pick can take a while to develop into a starter but the Bears might find a gem in the fifth round.

What the Bears should do at the receiver position is very contentious.  If they let Alshon Jeffery leave, they will need more help than they already do.  If they keep him, and allow some of their third stringers to walk, they will need some depth.  Because it’s the fifth round, let’s assume the Bears are looking for depth at receiver.

It’s early but there are about five prospects that could be available for the Bears in the fifth round.  They include Darreus Rodgers of USC, Josh Malone of Tennessee, KD Cannon of Baylor, Kenny Galloway out of Northern Illinois and Ryan Switzer out of North Carolina.

These guys are talented but none of them will ever be a number one wide receiver.  Having come from such a potent passing offense as the one they had at North Carolina, Switzer may be the guy the Bears want to look at.  But, he does lack the ideal height (he is 5-10) for a wide receiver.  He could be one of those quick, smaller slot guys that can help move the ball on those critical third downs.

Maybe the Bears could try to get Switzer.  He could be an Eddie Royal type of receiver hopefully without the crippling injuries.

Fifth Round-Ryan Switzer-WR-North Carolina

Seventh Round

The Bear’s final pick in the 2017 NFL draft is in the draft’s final round.  Another need they have, (which might be addressed earlier in the draft) is at tight end.  For a seventh round pick they could only get a backup or a practice squad player.  They do need much more than that however.

Tight end talent in the seventh round is okay but none of the guys look like they could be long term NFL starters.  The Bears might want to bring in one of these guys for competition and depth.

The top five tight ends in the seventh round are Pittsburgh’s Scott Orndoff, Oregon’s Pharoah Brown, Michigan State’s Josiah Price, Nebraska’s Cethan Carter and Washington’s Darrell Daniels.

If the Bears are looking for a good blocker and receiver then they may want to look Brown.  He’s got great size (6-5), can catch the ball and can even block.

Seventh Round-Pharaoh Brown-TE-Oregon

This is the first mock draft.  There will be more chances to perfect it and get it more in line with what might happen. It’s still early.

Let me know what you think and who the Bears should pick in this year’s draft.

What Can The Bears Do In The Off-Season To Improve For Next Year?

It been a pretty dismal season for the Chicago Bears, containing a record of 3-13 has forced general manager Ryan Pace to play some of his rookie stars which unfortunately hasn’t bolded well for the head coach. An injury-ravaged roster, combined with an ongoing youth movement, meant several rookies were featured in the line-up or played on a rotational basis. This can be considered to why they haven’t played to the best of their ability this season. No disrespect to their rookies, but sometimes, experience ranges superior over youth. With that said, they should take this a slight advantage because these rookies have featured more than they expected this season and can now take this to their offseason  and develop their game from what they have already experienced this season.

Another positive factor about their disappointing season finish is that they now have the opportunity to have a good draft enabling to build a more offensive squad in addition to covering their squad’s depth if this influx of injury were to occur again. This early mock draft for the Bears will show the perfect picks in regards to creating a playoff defining team next season:

Round 1, Pick 3: Jonathan Allen, Defensive Line, Alabama

The Bears defensive line has been their Achilles heel this season and is one of the major factors they need to improve on. This is where Jonathan Allen comes into play, if Myles Garrett goes first to the Browns and the 49ers pass on Allen to avoid redundancy up front with their previous two first – round picks, then the bears should be ecstatic to have Allen fall into their grasp. Obviously a quarterback is going to be an important consideration, but the talent available doesn’t come anywhere near the value that Allen would bring to Chicago.

Round 2, Pick 67: Brad Kaaya, Quarterback, Miami

Like the Bears, it was a disappointing season for Kaaya, he came into the season fighting with Deshaun Watson for pole position to the no.1 quarterback. Watson’s stock has taken a bit of a hit, but Kaaya has completely left the picture, he ended up picking up bad habits behind a weak offensive line and needs to rebuild his mechanics again. The Bears will be a good bet for him as they can develop him in the quarterback he knows he can be. He has coachability and a good footballing brain, he just needs that fitted team to build him into a franchise player.

Round 3, Pick 109: Roderick Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Florida State

The Bears are desperate to find help in their offensive line and this was a recurring problem for them under  the Jay Cutler era. While the additions of Kyle Long and Cody Whitehair have quieted those concerns, adding a tackle of Johnson’s ability would really add a new dimension to their O-line thus improving additional aspects of the roster.   Johnson had struggled in pass protection for Florida State but proved to be a good run blocker on the left side of his team mates. He may ultimately end up as a swing tackle at the NFL level but could find a home in Chicago, especially as they build the interior of the line into a real strength.

Furthermore, if the Bears have a good offseason and have a successful draft, they maybe be worth a good bet in reaching the playoff’s next season.

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