We’re entering something of quiet period between the height of free agency and the draft, unless you’re someone who finds prospect visits and pro days fascinating. So, let’s see what is being discussed out there.
Next week, DBB will be holding our second annual pledge drive. With a full graduate school workload, this last year would have been near-impossible to execute on the site without the support from last year’s drive. Here’s hoping we have another successful week and can enthusiastically steer the ship into the lead-up to the draft.
ICYMI. Ryan Poles was convinced he could trade back twice in the first round, accruing an additional first pound pick in 2024. Instead, he took the Panthers offer, specifically because DJ Moore was in it. No brainer for Poles. Draft picks are rolling the dice and hoping for a six. Moore is an accomplished NFL wide receiver, a true top guy, that makes his club better immediately.
Teams are starting to leak their intentions when it comes to drafting Jalen Carter, but none of them should be believed. Carter is a tremendous talent, and he has a month of meetings to convince NFL franchises that his character concerns are overstated. (For the record, I don’t see Carter as a game changer at the next level.)
Sometimes I get a good vibe about a player after reading a few profiles, and I’m getting that vibe about Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. From Doug Lesmerises at Cleveland.com: “Hard to imagine the Bears not getting a good vibe from Johnson, who was a student journalist at Ohio State, who started a charity to help veterans, who always seems comfortable with who he is. He was on the OSU roster with Fields in 2020 as a freshman even though he didn’t start. Fields was the focus of a lot of combine questions, and Johnson went into a staunch defense of him, ending with, ‘He has all the intangibles that you want.'”
Mel Kiper has his flaws when it comes to draft analysis, but he joins a growing chorus on Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, suggesting the kid is destined to at least start his NFL career at guard. If that is the case, would the Bears be interested if they decide to take a lineman early, as Johnson Jr. and Georgia’s Broderick Jones will also likely be on the board when they choose?
DJ Moore’s Moore2Life Foundation“supports at-risk youth and families in need through resource distribution, educational advancement, and mentorship-based programming. Growing up with a single mom in the heart of Philadelphia, Moore witnessed gun shots, sirens, and violence on a regular basis. Through the eyes of his young daughter, Ari, Moore intends to change that viewpoint and show the importance of giving back.” Here’s hoping that DJ can bring these efforts to Chicago in the coming years. It is needed.
The Bears are 5-1. They have played six games and won five of them. They are still not very good in almost every facet of offensive football but that doesn’t matter yet. 5. And. 1.
Score: 13-6 Bears.
Let’s call it The Drive 2: Just Worse. After the Bears picked off Teddy Bridgewater on the opening Carolina drive, this happened:
Slow flat toss to Jimmy Graham for minimal gain.
Run that didn’t work
Graham off the field, clock winds down, timeout needed.
Graham back on the field, clock winds down, delay of game.
Graham back off the field, Foles threads a beauty to Cole Kmet for a touchdown.
For all the talk of Kmet’s lack of production, I’ve continued to make the same argument. If the Bears wanted to involve Kmet, they could. That’s how TE’s function in this offense. Today they seem to have chosen to involve him.
DJ Moore on the crossing routes. Think you might have read about this in this space last week. Jaylon Johnson – and most other corners – can’t track that speed across the field. Johnson should have given up a touchdown to end the first half.
Kyle Fuller is good for one borderline personal foul hit a game. But what was he supposed to do on the hit to Kirkwood? Kirkwood lowered HIS head. If Fuller supposed to go after his legs? Is that what the league wants?
Bilal Nichols had a lovely first half, specifically the first few drives.
Ted Ginn looks like a disaster waiting to happen on punt returns.
Anthony Miller not getting the first down on 3rd and 3 is inexcusable. How can you not be aware of the game situation, especially on an offense that struggles like this one does.
Fuller’s tackle on Bridgewater to prevent the touchdown run is one of those great plays that gets forgotten by game’s end. I’ll make sure this one doesn’t.
There’s not an entirely different feeling with Nick Foles in at quarterback. Confidence. Foles knows what he’s doing. He’s limited. He knows that. But he gets the football where it need to go.
Did a Bears kicker just make a 55-yarder? Santos. You stay.
On defense, Bears have struggled with containing the outside run game and keeping Bridgewater from moving the chains with his legs. On offense, Bears don’t look like they can run it at all. If those are not corrected, this game will stay close.
Before the Combine, I looked at WRs who found success in coach Matt Nagy’s offense in Kansas City and identified physical traits that they all shared. When examining their Combine performance, I found three drills they all typically excelled at:
40 yard dash: 4.51 seconds or better
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches or higher
Broad jump: 10 feet or longer
Now that major free agency dominoes have fallen and attention is starting to turn more towards the draft, let’s look at all the WRs from the Combine and see how they fared in these three drills. This will help identify what wide receivers might be good fits for the Bears in the draft this year.
Hit All Three
Out of the forty-four WRs at the Combine, there were 7 who hit all three physical thresholds. They are shown in the table below.
A few thoughts on this group:
For my money, DJ Moore is the best WR in the draft for this offense, and I’ve thought that since before the Combine. He’d be a great pick for the Bears in round 2 if he’s still on the board, but it’s also unlikely they look at a WR that high given their investment in the position in free agency.
It’s important to remember that simply hitting these three thresholds does not make a good WR. It just means that physically they would be a good fit in this offense, and probably warrant looking into to see how good of a WR they actually are. I am not saying these are the 7 best WRs in the draft.
Many of these players are actually projected to go on day 3, including Antonio Calloway, Richie James, Tre’Quan Smith, and Jester Weah. All are very good fits for this offense and are names to keep in mind for the Bears in the later rounds. Michael Gallup has a chance to still be there in round 4 as well.
Antonio Calloway is an interesting case. He’s had a laundry list of off-field problems but is immensely talented. If he wasn’t such a problem, he’d likely be drafted in the first two rounds. Could the Bears look for a late-round flyer there?
Richie James also jumps out to me as a guy who fits really well. He’s a small school prospect projected to go in the late rounds, and is a small, shifty WR who profiles well into this offense.