The big man is still on vacation and this week you’re stuck with me. I have some opinions on the draft and more, so let’s dive in.
1) The NFL is so quarterback-driven, for good reason, but it muddies up events such as the draft. In a draft with no obvious franchise-changing QBs, the position is still driving the narratives and rumors leading up to it. Rumors that the Browns, 49ers and even the Bears are gunning for QBs in the top three spots.
I don’t buy it though.
In fact, I am going to go as far as saying that a QB will not be off the board before Chicago picks.
2) Going along with the reporting cycle, I think part of the problem with this lying season that is pre-draft and pre-free agency, is the anonymous reporting that too many outlets go by. I understand why they do it, but as someone who works in the news business as a day job, I see the pitfalls of it.
In the NFL world, the “insiders” don’t care that the sources are anonymous because they just want something to report and the networks and news outlets don’t care if the inside information is wrong because they want to generate readers and content.
But this time of year it’s a dangerous proposition because so many sources have an agenda and can be planting false reports to facilitate a trade or try and drive a prospects value up or down to suit their team. Insiders should be trying to vet their anonymous sources by getting a second and even third anonymous source, but unfortunately readers have no way of knowing because EVERYONE IS ANONYMOUS.
Remember: anonymous sources have nothing to lose by lying.
3) Brad Biggs wrote a nice pice “13 Reasons the Bears should draft a QB at No. 3.” Some of the reasons are legitimate and some are kind of cannibalizations off of others, but the points are valid: Ryan Pace has talked the importance of a QB, the league shows the importance of a QB and the team has neglected and failed at the position for too long. I am coming around to the idea of the Bears taking a QB at No. 3 with no intention of playing him. I accept that as a possibility, I am not sure I love the idea but I’m at peace with it. I won’t be throwing objects around should it happen. As for my prediction of the pick...well we’ll get to that...
4) The NFL feeds on reaction, in fact that’s all of the 24/7 sports media social internet world of today, but it’s especially true in sports and really bad in the NFL. Fans will be booing Thursday night (it’s Philadelphia after all!) and criticizing on Twitter and in the open threads here at WCG (seriously join them, it’s loads of fun). But I would caution people about knee-jerk reactions.
I was once that way. I remember getting super pissed when the Bears traded out of round one in 2006 and took some “seventh round” guy with a girls name and a cornerback who wasn’t even that good. I had been hoping for a game-changing TE. Well Danieal Manning and Devin Hester worked out pretty well. In ‘08 I was hoping for Ray Rice or Rashard Mendenhall to be on the board when Chicago picked and I was concerned that Matt Forte was a conciliation prize.
I finally accepted that no one knows for sure which picks will work out and which won’t. When Kyle Long was a shock pick back in ‘13 I told myself and others in the open threads “let’s wait and see.” I think that worked out all right. Give it a couple seasons before you start cursing Pace’s name.
5) Although I will say I was stumped when former GM Phil Emery took Shea McClellin over Whitney Mercilus and David DeCastro, so sometimes that knee-jerk anger ends up being right.
6) The NFL Draft has long been one of my favorite NFL events. In fact it was one of the first things that got me into the league, even before I followed college football. The drama of trades, the unpredictability of picks. It’s the most drama of the offseason. I’m excited to tune in Thursday night, crack open some beers and open up Twitter and one of the aforementioned Live Open Threads here and watch some names get read at a podium. Do you love watching the draft as much as I do?
7) I do miss the days of the two-day weekend draft though. Back in college it was always fun to hole up in my dorm room with my buddies and watch the draft for 10 hours on Saturday and then get up and watch another 8 hours on Sunday, eating junk food and celebrating or criticizing which players our favorite teams took.
8) One of the other fun things about the draft is, for college football fans, seeing players from your alma mater get drafted and rooting for their success. My school, Ball State, unfortunately doesn’t have a proud football tradition but they do have one player that I’ll be following Saturday and he never even played a down of football for BSU.
Former Cardinal basketball player Franko House, a native of the city I currently work in, Elkhart, Ind., is hoping to get a chance as a TE, a position he excelled at in high school. One team that brought him in for a workout? The Chicago Bears.
Which college players will you be following in the NFL regardless of team?
9) Time for some draft predictions: I think that Myles Garrett is going to go No. 1, it’s too obvious a choice. I think that despite a perceived weak QB class, two will be taken in the top 10 and four will end up in the first round, but two will be taken in the final ten picks.
I believe that three RBs will go in round one: Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and woman-puncher Joe Mixon.
I think that O.J. Howard will come close to being the highest-ever drafted TE but will slot in inside the top eight instead of the top three.
And now, let’s see my final Bears pick prediction...
10) I first want to say I am changing it from what I wrote in WCG’s Draft Roundtable. The more I’ve read about it, the more I’ve thought about it, I think the Bears are going to take a quarterback.
And that will be....
Yes, I believe that Ryan Pace is excellent at keeping his intentions under wraps (remember last year Leonard Floyd wasn’t highly tied to the Bears until later in the draft process) and the Bears need to swing at a top QB prospect. I think that the Bears have set themselves up with Mike Glennon to be the bridge guy for a year and that makes sense with the legitimate concerns and inexperience each of the top prospects has.
I also believe that the Bears will do their best to trade down and out of the third pick in order to get better value on their targeted QB while picking up an extra pick or two but I don’t anticipate them being able to pull it off. There are a few solid defensive prospects but not one that I can see teams clamoring to climb up the board for. I think the Bears work the phones but resign themselves to take their QB at three rather than wait until 36 or give up capital to move back into round 1 late.
Who do you think will be the Bears’ first round choice?