Something to Think About
In Week 11, the Chicago Bears fell to the Super Bowl Champions, the Denver Broncos by a score of 17-15. The stats for both that game and the Super Bowl were eerily similar for both the Bears and the Panthers.
Doing a little stat comparison: Both Jay Cutler and Cam Newton threw for 265 yards. Both Carolina and Chicago had five sacks on the Denver quarterback (Brock Osweiler in Week 11). Plus, Denver had six or more penalties in both games.
The two biggest differences between the Super Bowl and the Week 11 matchup? The Carolina Panthers turned the ball over four times while Chicago turned it over only twice. Newton was sacked six times for 64 yards while Cutler was sacked twice for four yards.
What’s the morale of the story? Games are won in the trenches, and ball security is of the utmost importance!
Look for these qualities in players in the draft… Fundamentals make a difference!
Looking at Round Two
Just a reminder, the Chicago Bears have nine picks in the 2016 draft. One pick in rounds one through seven, plus two additional picks in round six. Thank you to the Carolina Panthers, and the New England Patriots for your draft picks.
Looking at round one it’s hard to tell who exactly Ryan Pace and company will draft. They could go get another pass rusher, possibly Shaq Lawson from Clemson (did not mention in Round One but still a possibility). They could go offensive line as that is a point of concern as well. Those are safe bets as to what positions they will draft. So let’s take a look at some of the top prospects for round two that the Chicago Bears should keep an eye on.
Just like in the first round, these guys are in no particular order of importance.
I Have My Eye On…
Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri University Tigers
The inside linebacker position for the Chicago Bears, was in my opinion, the worst position on the field. I don’t think that fixing the problem starts in the draft. I think fixing this position is to start immediately in free agency due to the lack of success Shea McClellin and Christian Jones have brought. If the Chicago Bears decide to fix this problem in the draft, I think that Kentrell Brothers is a good building block.
Standing roughly six feet and weighing around 235 pounds, Brothers finished his senior year at Missouri with 152 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and he also had 2 interceptions. He has a strong football IQ and knows where the ball is going. Brothers takes good routes to the ball and looks to get the ball instead of just making the tackle. While he may not be the fastest guy on the field, he knows how to use his skill set to his strength.
The best part is, he is a born inside linebacker. He won’t have to switch positions and learn on the fly, he already has strong knowledge of the position. That is what the Bears need at the inside linebacker position.
Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State University
He’s not a household name, but Carl Nassib definitely could work his way into the rotation early for the Chicago Bears. Standing 6’7 and weighing 270 pounds, Nassib has the frame to excel in the 3-4. He finished his senior year at Penn State with 46 total tackles and 15.5 sacks in 10 games. He did not play in the last three games for Penn State due to a hamstring issue.
Those tackle numbers may not stand out, but those 15.5 sacks look really impressive in just 10 games. I would say his progression would be similar to that of Eddie Goldman. Goldman was on a continuous upward trend throughout the 2015 season and I think that Nassib could follow in his footsteps. Being as tall and lengthy as he is that is going to be a big asset to the Chicago front line.
William Jackson III, CB, Houston University
William Jackson had a strong senior season finishing with five interceptions, including two in the bowl game against Florida State. Much like Adrian Amos, Jackson is not afraid to lay down the big hit. The Bears could use another “big hitter” in the secondary to put some fear into receivers as they go up for the ball.
Jackson not only can lay a lick on the opponent, but he is also very quick. He will be able to keep up with a lot of the speedy receivers in the NFL. Plus, his height is an advantage to him as well as he is 6’1.
Compared to other guys in the draft at his position, Jackson is one of the few seniors. His experience might be valued higher than some of the other corners. In the second, or even third round, Jackson could be a solid pick.
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama University
The national title game on Jan. 11 was a perfect time for O.J. Howard to have a breakout game. He hauled in his first touchdown receptions since 2013 and had 208 yards receiving. However, instant gratification for Howard at the collegiate level does not translate into instant success at the NFL. He has the frame of a hybrid tight end at 6’6 and he showed off his speed in the national championship.
Keep in mind that his two touchdown receptions against Clemson were his first in two years. Having that knowledge, his skill set may not be fully developed as a pass catcher or route runner.
He has been blocking for stud running backs in his time at Alabama like T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. He could be utilized as a blocking tight end or even be used as a fullback if the Bears went with some jumbo set on the goal line.
With an uncertain future ahead for both Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller, there isn’t really a “go-to” tight end. If Miller returns, I believe that Howard and Miller can shoulder that load together next year. Dowell Loggains can shape this kid into a legitimate hybrid tight end and he can be a real force to defend once he breaks out in the NFL.
Put him into the right system and I think that Howard will thrive, and with the uncertainty that surrounds this position, his time may be coming soon in Chicago.
Wrapping Up Round Two
Just a reminder: these guys are in no particular order.
Three out of the four guys on this list are on defense. That is because I would like to see the return of the Monsters of the Midway. The offense has some solid pieces right now, so I don’t think that too much needs to be added.
Once we get closer to the draft this list will be updated…