Category Archives: NFL Draft

Will Kevin White Be Larry Fitzgerald or David Terrell?

How good will Kevin White be?

The seventh-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft has been compared to Larry Fitzgerald, one of the best of his generation. But Bears fans remember the last time the team used a top-10 pick on a WR: David Terrell came to Chicago and accomplished in a career what should have been done in a single season.

So which one will White be? There’s no way of knowing, but I’ve attempted to find the range of possibilities.

I used Pro Football Reference to run a report giving me all the WRs drafted in the top 10 over the last 20 years. I then sorted the WRs by weighted career approximate value (more details on that stat here) and cleaned up the report in a spreadsheet (here) before exporting the results into this graph:

(Interactive version of this chart here.)

First, a couple caveats:

  • Using the top 10 (instead of, say, the top 15 or the entire first round) is an arbitrary endpoint used just to make the results a little easier to digest. Extending it to include the entire first round would likely result in a stronger study and include players like Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss and … Rae Carruth, who is now a prison janitor.
  • I left active players like A.J. GreenJulio Jones and Sammy Watkins on this list. Obviously, their careers are not over.

So can we learn anything from this list? Probably not, but it’s plenty entertaining.

As you’d expect, history tells us the range of possibilities is wide. At the top are superstar players, a few of whom could end up in the Hall of Fame: Torry Holt was a semifinalist this year, two of Andre Johnson‘s top comparables are HOFers, Fitzgerald will have a case and Calvin Johnson is off to a great start.

At the bottom are guys who flamed out for a variety of reasons. Revisionist history noted, you could easily argue several of them should have never been top 10 picks: Red flags surrounded guys like Charles Rogers and Justin Blackmon before they were drafted. And we should probably just ignore everything the Lions did in the first decade of the century. (ex. Rogers, Mike Williams).

Others, though, just never panned out. Troy Williams caught just four TDs in five seasons and is now making sandwiches. Terrell did little in four years in Chicago and blames his quarterbacks. Tavon Austin, a West Virginia product like White, is just two seasons in but hasn’t been a game-changer at all.

Then in the middle you have an interested mix of players who 1) clearly had first-round talent (Braylon Edwards, David Boston) and couldn’t sustain their production or 2) were probably overrated to begin with (Ted Ginn, Peter Warrick).

So where does this leave us with White? Who knows. First-round picks are high beta. As you can see in the chart, the ceiling is high and the floor is way down there.

Let’s hope he’s Fitzgerald and cross our fingers he isn’t Terrell.

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Episode 23: Sam Acho Interview & NFL Draft Recap

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There are just two players on the Bears’ roster who played outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense last year, and Sam Acho is one of them.

Sam took some time for an interview with BearsPodcast and explained how he was already quite familiar with his new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, before signing with the Bears. Sam also discussed how he has been able to make a successful transition from a 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker and dropped some truth on what it’s like to follow the NFL Draft as a veteran player.

Jordan and I also discussed each of the Bears’ picks from this year’s draft and announced the winner of our recent Bears snapback hat giveaway.

If you weren’t a part of this giveaway, here’s what you missed:

And if you missed it, don’t worry. We’ll do another giveaway soon.

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Episode 22: 2015 NFL Draft Preview — Lance Poirrier, Da Bears Beat

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This year’s NFL Draft Preview is our longest podcast yet. The focus is almost solely on the Bears, and Jordan and I debate the Bears’ biggest needs. We discuss which players the Bears should be targeting, which players they should pass on and which players we hope will fall to their pick in round two.

We’re also happy to help a new guest, Lance Poirrier of Da Bears Beat.  Lance follows the NFL Draft as closely as anyone, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

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Bears Draft Prospect: Brandon Scherff

It’s easy to think that the Bears will draft a defensive player with the 7th overall pick, but GM Ryan Pace has stated that he will take the best player available and has made mistakes in the past by reaching for players in positions that the New Orleans Saints needed.

The Bears should take a look at University of Iowa Offensive Lineman, Brandon Scherff. He’s mean, he’s strong, and he plays until the whistle blows. Some have him listed as a tackle in the NFL, while Mike Mayock says that even though he could be great at all 5 offensive line positions, if Scherff is moved inside to guard, he would be an All Pro.

With Bushrod and Mills struggling at times, Garza likely in his last year, and Slauson’s injuries, Scherff would make a for a great pick and would be an instant starter. How great would it be to see him paired on the line with 2 time pro bowler, Kyle Long for the next decade.

There’s a chance that the top 5 defensive players like Leonard Williams, Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler, Danny Shelton, and Shane Ray could all be gone by the Bears pick.

Bears Draft Prospect: Dante Fowler Jr

Dante Fowler Jr is a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE that Matt Miller and many other draft experts have listed as their 3rd or 4th overall edge rusher. But this week, Mike Mayock said he sees Fowler as the top edge rusher in the class. At 15-20 lbs heavier than Shane Ray and Randy Gregory, Mayock says that Fowler is just as explosive and compares him to Pro Bowler Justin Houston.

At 6’3″ 265 lbs, Fowler has the size and speed to fit in a 3-4 or a 4-3 making him a great fit for a John Fox/ Vic Fangio defense. With other teams ahead of the Bears looking for an edge rusher, the only question now is, will he be available at the #7 overall pick?

Bears Hybrid Defense

All signs are pointing to the Bears switching to a 3-4 defense, but even head coach John Fox has talked about how you shouldn’t define a defense as a 3-4 or a 4-3. While some defenders don’t make sense in a pure 3-4, like Jared Allen or Will Sutton, it doesn’t make financial sense to cut them either. With 2014’s dead money totally over $18 million, mostly from Julius Peppers, Michael Bush, Gabe Carimi, Adam Podlesh and a few other veterans, Bears will have quite a bit of money to spend this offseason, 9th most amount in the NFL. We don’t really know much about Ryan Pace, but there is a chance he could go big. Like Ndamukong Suh big. Other rumors have Patrick Willis getting cut in San Francisco and new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio knows him well.

What could all this look like? Best case scenario, the front 7 of a hybrid defense could look like thisNd. Also mocking NT Danny Shelton to the Bears with their 7th overall pick.

Christian Jones, Lamarr Houston, Danny Shelton, Ndamukong Suh, Shea McClellin, Jon Bostic, Patrick Willis
Christian Jones, Lamarr Houston, Danny Shelton, Ndamukong Suh, Shea McClellin, Jon Bostic, Patrick Willis
Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Ndamukong Suh, Willie Young, Jon Bostic, Patrick Willis, Christian Jones
Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Ndamukong Suh, Willie Young, Jon Bostic, Patrick Willis, Christian Jones

 

Bears still need to improve the secondary in free agency and the draft. 2nd or 3rd round options could be safety Jaquiski Tartt, cornerback Marcus Peters, or safety Gerod Holliman. All defensive backs would improve from a front 7 lineup like this though. 

Bears Draft Prospect: Danny Shelton

At 6’2″ 343 lbs, Danny Shelton would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 Nose Tackle. We talked about it in Podcast Episode 20, but if Vic Fangio and John Fox move to a 3-4 or at least some form of it, Shelton could be a great pick at 7th overall. If you are looking for an NFL comparison, think Vince Wilfork and Dontari Poe. Danny Shelton is not only a big body, but he’s explosive too. He had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl and the Bears are said to have met with him there.