A return home for Titans RB Chris Brown has been shot down after Chicago missed out again, this time to Houston, in trying to obtain the former Colorado standout. Will the team now shift their attention and focus on getting Kevin Jones (Lions) to shore up their rushing attack? Is Rashard Mendenhall the Bears top target to be their 1st round pick and a potential RB of the future?
He Wasn’t The Answer: The Naperville North alum and unrestricted free-agent had garnered some attraction from the Bears, a source close to the player reported. Brown, who played with Tennessee this past season, signed with the Titans in June after talking with the Bears, signing a one-year, $1.8 million deal, and now he’s heading south to play with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Co.
Brown signed with the Texans, a team that was in more of a “dire” need for a starting RB.
Moving On: Brown’s role was limited in 2007. He finished with 102 rushes for 462 yards and five touchdowns while playing behind LenDale White. Brown did have the Titans’ longest rush of the season, a 42-yard scamper in Week 1, in which he started out the gate with a dominate 175-yard performance. Brown shined brighter than “Jacob the Jeweler” in the opener, as the 6-foot 3, 220-pound bruiser lead the way to a grinding 13-10 road victory against a tough Jacksonville defense. Brown at times lead the punchless, yet consistent ground attack of Tennessee and proved he still can be a legitimate starting running back in this league.
The Bears need help at running back, with the often-injured Cedric Benson still an “unknown” product and with Adrian Peterson being more of a third-down specialist. With Detroit releasing Kevin Jones, I believe GM Jerry Angelo will give him a long look and bring him into Halas Hall. 3 Reasons Why To Sign Jones and Why Not To:
1. Would start right because he possesses the traits of a successful ballcarrier: breakaway speed (electrifying in the open field), power runner (5’11”, 228) and pass catching abilities (142 career receptions, 1008 yards and 3 TD’s) – three attributes that the Bears are looking for and the team doesn’t have anyone with his type of skill at RB
2. Still is young (turning 25 in Aug.) and has a chip on his shoulder, which would enhance his performance. Also he’s used to the NFC North.
3. Nothing better then to stick it to a division rival by picking up Jones, a former Detroit Lion.
- Injury liability – Bears don’t have room on their roster for another player with durability issues, especially at RB, a key position where the team needs consistency and reliablity. The team needs a RB that can offer what Thomas Jones brought every Sunday. Jones was not only a leader, but he got the job done by running inside the tackles with power, and he stayed healthy.
- Production has dropped off the past three seasons for Jones, who is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry, losing 1 yard since his rookie year (2004, 4.7).
- Never has been considered a legitimate starter or “The Man” since coming into the league out of Virginia Tech. His play can be described as “hokie, bursting for big gains en route to outstanding games, while only to fall the next week with a less than stellar performance.
Address RB At Draft: The route the Bears are likely to enter to find themselves an everydown back that is durable, would be via the draft with the 14th pick, hence Rashard Mendenhall as the only candidate to be considered worthy of the honors with Oregon’s Jonathan Stewart (Mel Kiper Jr.) expected to miss 4-6 months with toe surgery. The back Chicago needs at this point has to be consistent, balanced, and reliable with Benson’s durability issues still a major concern, so look for them to draft a RB in the 1st round, with the Illini’s finest (Mendenhall) likely to be left (high atop Bears draft list) waiting with his hometown team on the clock mauling a decision while he prepares to hear his name called from the podium by Commissioner Goodell. Rashard has shown his “A-Game” at one of the highest stages in College Football (Rose Bowl) against a powerhouse (USC) team, impressing scouts/experts with the ability that will make him a star, being able to take the role as a starting RB right away with his game-changing skills and breakaway speed that allows him to be a threat to take it to the house anytime he gets the rock. Ideally the Bears see Mendenhall, not Peterson (or any other back on their roster), as the answer to their questions at RB, with the Fighting Illini standout being more of a long-term solution, while Peterson on the other hand being a short-term fill-in that could fit into the Bears gameplan with the power rushing attack they are trying to implement towards being a consistent point seeking offensive stability. Is Mendenhall ready to deliver on the NFL level and should we believe the “HYPE”?
Pro’s/Con’s For Mendenhall And Drafting The Illinois Product @ 14:
1. Playmaker with track speed (See: Rose Bowl), National Spotlight does not faze nor bother him (See: Rose Bowl)
2. No OL is worthy of the 14th pick besides Clady and Long, who are both projected to be selected in the Top 5.
3. Does not shy away from contact, makes something out of nothing, and we haven’t seen his “best” just yet.
- Offensive Line is this team’s greatest need.
- Rashard played in a spread offense in the Big Ten that played to his advantages.
- Team’s RB Draft History: When was the last time a 1st round RB chosen by Chicago was successful/not a bust? (1986: Neal Anderson, Florida)
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