Tomorrow: Final Pre-Draft DBB Spaces!

| April 19th, 2024

We hide in spaces,

Dark and disturbing spaces.

Discussing the draft.

Tomorrow, at 2 PM ET, Robert Schmitz and I will be hosting a listener-driven event on Spaces. We’ll do a brief introduction but then we’ll “open up phone lines” and let the listeners take over with questions. All topics are on the table; this is the Spaces equivalent of a Reddit AMA. But, you know, let’s try and stay on the draft topic.

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In the Comments: What Do You Want for the First Pick in the Draft?

| January 18th, 2023

Monday, on Twitter, I posted two polls, attempting to discern what fans were looking for in return for the first pick of the draft. The results were interesting.

Poll #1.

Poll #2.

Today I want to open the discussion up to the comments section below. Open your comment with TRADE ALERT and write, in detail, a trade for the first pick you’d be content to see. (I’m going to skip by all posts that don’t open with those two words IN CAPS.) We’ll take the best ones and use them in a larger post early next week. 

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The Final Sunday: Vikings at Bears, Texans at Colts Predictions

| January 6th, 2023

Why do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?







Vikings at Bears Prediction

With Justin Fields, who accounts for about 90% of the offense, not playing, and Nathan Peterman, one of the worst starting quarterbacks in modern NFL history, playing, the Vikings will have their starters on the bench by early third quarter.

Vikings 33, Bears 9

Texans at Colts Prediction

Houston is simply playing better football, week in and week out. And while folks will argue they have no impetus to win this game and fall out of the first pick, the Deshaun Watson trade gave them more than enough ammunition to ensure they come out of the 2023 draft with whomever they deem their top prospect.

Texans 19, Colts 13

And with this prediction, the Chicago Bears will secure the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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Bears at Lions Game Preview: Should the Bears Actually Want to Win?

| December 29th, 2022

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like…

Thoughts on the opponent…

Stats that matter…




There is only one relevant question facing the Bears as they head to Detroit Sunday: should the team actually want to win? It is hard to argue that answer is yes.

The team is currently positioned with the second pick in the NFL Draft and, as Dannehy pointed out yesterday, they should be considered the frontrunner for the top pick, as Houston is playing their best football in the final weeks of the season. Winning might provide some cosmetic confidence but it would also throw the Bears into a jumble with Denver, Arizona, and Indianapolis, three four-win teams with considerably easier strengths of schedule, the tiebreaker when it comes to draft order.

(Gaining confidence from meaningless victories is inherently nonsensical. A great number of 2022 Chicago Bears won’t be 2023 Chicago Bears. And the ones that stick around won’t require meaningless victories for confidence.)

If it were just about selecting a player, one could argue the difference between picking second and fifth isn’t that big a deal. Selecting players is a crap shoot. Don’t tell me you know what Jalen Carter or Will Anderson will be at the next level because you don’t. The fourth and fifth picks in 2022 – Sauce Gardner and Kayvon Thibodeaux – had significantly more impactful rookie campaigns than first overall pick Travon Walker. (Is there any question the Jags would take Sauce in a 2022 re-draft?)

What is not a crap shoot is the league’s consistently absurd overvaluing of quarterback prospects come draft time. The best years to select at the top of the draft are years where your team doesn’t need a quarterback and four-to-five QBs are projected into the first round. That’s exactly what 2023 looks like for the Chicago Bears. Ryan Wilson at CBS Sports projects four QBs in round one. Jamie Eisner at The Draft Network also projects four, with three of the first four picks being quarterbacks. Walter Football only projects three but all three gone in the first six picks. This may not be a draft deep at quarterback, but it is top heavy. And that’s when you want your pick at the top.

When you’re rebuilding your roster, the key is word is options. You re-sign key contributors to give yourself options in free agency. You’re judicious in free agency to give yourself options in the draft. And the higher the draft pick in the first round, the more options you have at that event. If the Bears have the first or second pick, they will have multiple teams making offers. There is no question about it. Look at how many teams currently slotted in the top 15 need QBS: Houston (1st), Seattle (3rd), Indianapolis (5th), Atlanta (6th), Detroit (7th), Carolina (8th), Vegas (9th), Tennessee (13th) and the Jets (15th). You can nitpick these quarterbacks all you like, but historically NFL franchises err on the side of hope.

The Bears will play Sunday. And with their rushing attack, and the porous Detroit rush defense, they could actually win the game. But with a roster in turnover, and the rostered group decimated by injury, it is hard to argue the positives of that potential victory. Having the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft gives the Bears the clearest path to a quick turnaround. That means losing on Sunday.

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National Media Missing Justin Fields Story Because They Don’t Actually Know What’s Happening

| May 20th, 2022

Justin Fields is not a finished product.

Anyone who watched him over the duration of his rookie season knows that. The new GM and head coach and offensive coordinator know that. So why are so many in the national media – the Orlovsky and Tanier types – obsessing over the weapons surrounding him in his sophomore season? Why are they acting like all Fields needs is another receiver or two to reach the heights of the position?

It is pretty simple. First, they have no idea what is going on at Halas Hall because Halas Hall ain’t talking to anybody in the press these days. But second, and perhaps most importantly, it all comes down to an over-obsession with the NFL Draft. I saw a tweet the other day that sums up this over-obsession perfectly.

Here’s the thing about this tweet: it has no basis in the reality of professional football. Mims has been a disaster in New Jersey since he arrived. (Remember, I live here, and follow this stuff closely.) He’s not only shown no ability to “work the deep routes”, but he’s shown no ability to “work his way onto the actual field.” This tweet, and many like them, is based entirely on Mims’ work in amateur football. And no matter how loudly I bang the drum, how clearly I enunciate my screams from a Woodside rooftop, it is impossible to convince these draftniks that performance in amateur football is not an accurate indicator of professional success.

These national guys spend so much time analyzing players in the leadup to the NFL Draft, they forget that all of that analysis is meaningless once the players put on their NFL jerseys. Whatever they believed Justin Fields was in the spring of 2021, we now have a sample size of work that either proves or disproves those assertions. When Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy turned on the tape from 2021, they didn’t see a quarterback immediately ready to take the leap into the elite. They saw a quarterback needing significant mechanical alterations. They saw a quarterback failing to adjust to the speed of the game around him. They saw a quarterback relying exclusively on his athleticism to create positive plays. (They also saw ineptitude in the “system” around Fields but that’s well-worn territory at this stage.) Fields was a rookie. And he played like one.

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Re-Entering the Fantasy Landscape: Draft Strategies

| September 2nd, 2021

There are thousands of fantasy football draft analysts out there and you can consume their content in any form you want. They got draft kits for sales. They have daily podcasts. They all write the same columns: Sleepers! Bold Predictions! Round-by-Round Value Selections! The Fantasy Industrial Complex has grown large enough to make Dwight Eisenhower blush.

My first draft in 18 years is tonight. My league is, let’s just say, unique. There are twelve teams and you are forced to draft the following:

  • Two QBs (Start 1)
  • Three RBs (Start 2)
  • Three WRs (Start 2)
  • Two TEs (Start 1)
  • Two Kickers (Start 1)
  • Two Defenses (Start 1)

You must draft exactly in these slots. No stockpiling at positions. This is a half PPR league but with no flex, the league actually skews more towards the quarterback and tight end than almost any other league out there. So here are some draft strategies I’ve developed over my several weeks of research, focused specifically on this league. Maybe they’ll help you if you’re drafting over the next six days. Maybe they won’t.


#1 Make a Board, Stay True Early

Rounds one and two of a fantasy draft feel the same to me as rounds one and two of the actual draft. You’re looking for the guys who will carry your team for the duration of the season. For me, that means the following:

  • Even if this draft has an early run on QBs, I’m not going there. Do I think Josh Allen is going to have a monstrous season? I do. I think the Bills are going to throw the ball in 2021 as much as any team in NFL history. But the value doesn’t present itself for me until round three, where I can put Allen on a roster with a frontline back and wideout.
  • Do I like Darren Waller and George Kittle? Yes. But do I think the gap between those two and, say, Mark Andrews or TJ Hockenson will be wide this season? I do not.
  • I can argue for taking Travis Kelce as early as fourth or fifth overall. Other than Kelce, it is best available running back/wide receiver with these two picks.
    • I think Austin Ekeler is going to be Kamara in Joe Lombardi’s offense.
    • Joe Mixon seems like the most undervalued guy in the analysis I’ve read; he’s got that backfield all to himself.
    • DK Metcalf has been available at the backend of most second rounds. If he’s your second pick, you’ve had a brilliant start.
  • Dalvin Cook isn’t on my draft board. Maybe he’ll stay healthy but history says he won’t. I’m not taking shots on the chronically-injured until the mid rounds, where the value emerges.

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Three Mocks and a Strange, Recurring Theme

| February 18th, 2021

Sometimes as a silly hobby, specifically in years where the Bears might draft an early quarterback, I find myself scouring mocks in February to see which way the wind is blowing. Yesterday, I looked at three such mocks.

Daniel Jeremiah at NFL.com had the Bears taking a wide receiver at number 20.

Kadarius Tony, WR, Florida

The Bears are going to need more offensive playmakers whether pending free agent Allen Robinson is re-signed or not.

Chris Trapasso at CBS had the Bears taking an offensive lineman at 20.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Vera-Tucker is a valuable prospect because we’ve seen two high-caliber seasons from him at different positions (guard then tackle).

John Clayton at the Washington Post (apparently) had the Bears also taking a receiver at 20.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Bears might have to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Allen Robinson to keep him for another season, but regardless, getting another receiver will be important. He has great ability and good size at 6-2, 210.

But something stood out in both the Jeremiah and Clayton mocks. In both, New Orleans selected Mac Jones (QB, Alabama) eight picks later as the their apparently to Drew Brees.

It would be one thing to have the Bears passing on quarterback if these evaluators did not see a player worthy of selection at this stage of the draft. But if they both think Jones is good enough to be a first-round pick, and good enough for offensive guru Sean Payton, why on earth would they have the Bears passing on him?

Let me just state what should be an obvious fact. If the Bears have a first-round (or early second-round) grade on a quarterback and that quarterback is available when they’re on the clock at 20, they MUST take him. You can have all the good receivers and offensive linemen in the world but until this franchise solves the quarterback position, the rest of it doesn’t matter.

Take as many swings as necessary until you make contact.

That starts with this first round pick.

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ATM: Bears Need Speed

| February 26th, 2020

[Editor’s Note: Andrew and Data have taken on the same subject this week by pure coincidence. Today, Andrew looks at this problem facing the Bears from 30,000 feet. Tomorrow, Data dives deep.]

With the release of Taylor Gabriel last week, the Chicago Bears need to be searching for speed at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

The only true receiver on this roster (Cordarrelle Patterson is not a true receiver) who ran the 40 faster than 4.5 seconds is Anthony Miller. His times ranged from the mid-4.4s to low-4.5s at his pro day. Otherwise, the team has Allen Robinson, who ran a 4.6, Javon Wims in the low-to-mid 4.5s and Riley Ridley at close to a 4.6. The successful versions of the offense the Bears are trying to run have always had speed as a crucial component. The Bears don’t have it.

When the Kansas City Chiefs thought they might be without Tyreek Hill (4.29) for at least a part of 2020, they invested a high pick in Mecole Hardman (4.33). Recognizing a general lack of speed, the Philadelphia Eagles traded for DeSean Jackson last year and saw their offense struggle when he was injured.

When the Eagles won the Super Bowl two years ago, they had Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery: three guys who ran sub-4.5 40 times. The Bears have none.

Speed isn’t everything when it comes to receivers, but it certainly has proven to be an important part of Matt Nagy’s offense. It isn’t just about stretching the field and hitting deep passes, the Bears averaged 0.45 more yards per running play when Gabriel was on the field last year.

The 2020 NFL draft is generally thought to be a good place to find whatever kind of receiver a team needs. Some speedsters to keep in mind are Penn St.’s KJ Hamler and Jalen Reagor of TCU, although more names could surface after they blaze the track later this week.

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