I don’t have much insight on what the Bears will actually do in the draft and I don’t think Yahoo! sports does either but here is a mock draft from the Bleacher Report. They have the Bears picking up a Defensive Tackle with the first pick to shore up our line.
After last years’ pick of Long in the first round I have a feeling that the Bears will surprise either by picking up someone that they can’t believe is still available when their pick comes up or someone who grades out on their system that isn’t as high on other teams’ radar. All the recent free agency moves and changes have also radically altered the defenses’ strengths and weaknesses; I’ll bet Emery & Trestman think they know what’s up but for me now it is a 100% new defense on the field as far as I’m concerned.
One item that I find kind of crazy is how far down Johnny Football is in most of the drafts. My gut (which is very often wrong) is that when we look back we will find that the other QB’s in the draft that seemed to be “safe” picks weren’t so safe after all. It seems to me that the QB position is changing and there are fewer of the “pure” drop back passers and you can see it with Seattle and San Francisco and many others. I am not talking about an option QB but someone who actually can give you a real scramble when you need it and is an actual threat for those yards. You had the most “classic” of all QB’s in last years’ Super Bowl and you can’t judge based on one game but we saw how that turned out. Johnny Football is that kind of passer with the ability to run if he has to and size hasn’t mattered to Russell in Seattle either…
But what Dan would say right away is that who the QB is – is much less important than where they are drafted. For instance, if you were drafted as an offensive player in the “old” pre-Trestman Bears, your career was pretty much dead. You weren’t going to develop, every year your scheme would change (or sometimes it would remain in a consistent and failing state), and doom was mostly guaranteed. Some franchises like Cleveland are just cursed, and getting drafted there is a certain way to get smashed every down and likely start your career on a very low note, one that is difficult to recover from.
I find it amazing sometimes that NFL teams go with conservative picks like the prototype QB from a smaller or non winning school when the NFL is just a ruthless business and management will be jettisoned for failure. All of the teams except for the Pats take knowing chances on injured guys (Manning), criminals (Marshall), and guys who don’t fit the mold in an attempt to get an edge and find value. You have to take chances to survive and win. I’ll just put the Pats in some other category of using these and every other tactic and some I’m sure I don’t even know about to stay ahead.
I was reading a brief Onion snippet (love the Onion) which said something to the effect of “Area Man already bored of baseball and thinking of the NFL draft”. That’s me. Baseball is now starting off in a huge funk in Chicago both with bad teams and horrendous weather. We are just picking up where we left off after an awful 2013. The Cell was deserted and in Wrigley they come for the beer. When you look at how exciting and innovative the NFL is and then compare it to the 4 hour long windy rainy likely extra inning debacle that is April MLB it is hard to compete.
Value of Positions
While Dan knows 1 million times more about football than I do, like a broken watch, I am right a few times each millennium. When the Bears were signing Forte a few years back I said that running backs, even good ones, were mostly valueless and could be replaced by whatever juiced-up lunatic is coming out of the top SEC teams each year. Dan sent me an email from “Over the Cap” saying that now kickers and running backs had essentially the same forward-looking value for NFL teams. That is a giant surprise given the history of the NFL but not such a big one when you look at how the game is evolving today. Running backs have value but are easily replaceable, so they don’t have much individual value, at all.
On the other hand, when I look at tall wide receivers I can’t believe teams even try to go out there with smaller WR’s. The advantages that they have over smaller secondaries is tremendous. I don’t think that this is just physical – you need the right (head case, usually) guy but the edge it gives you is visible to the naked eye and even me, the dumb sports fan.
As for the rest of it, the Bears stand as the best example of the importance of an offensive line. Last years’ Bears offense went from worst to almost first and I would give a huge portion of the credit to actually getting a decent offensive line. The improvement was just astounding.