Cubs

Bears select Boise State's McClellin

746344.png

Bears select Boise State's McClellin

The Bears went into the 2012 draft with a core of seven players they would consider with the No. 19 pick of the draft. The draft then worked out to give them what they considered superior options at the pick both offensive and defensive linemen and they hope they came away with the pass rusher that Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli and the defense want on the other side from Pro Bowler Julius Peppers.

Shea McClellin, defensive end, Boise State.

McClellin, 6-3, 260 pounds, was a starter his final three years at Boise State and had seven sacks last season and 9.5 in 2010. He was one of the fastest defensive ends, timed at 4.66 sec in the 40-yard dash, and fits the speed model the Bears have liked in Alex Brown.

The San Diego Chargers picking at No. 18 selected South Carolina pass-rushing end Melvin Ingram, one of the handful of players either brought in to Halas Hall for an extra meeting with coaches and scouts.

A draft breaking their way

The first round was marked by scrambling in the top seven as only the Indianapolis Colts drafted in their original spot. More important for the Bears, none of the teams were chasing defensive linemen.

The first D-lineman didnt go until No. 11 when the Kansas City Chiefs took nose tackle Dontari Poe, followed by Mississippi State tackle Fletcher Cox going to the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded up from No 15 to get Cox.

But the edge rushers were getting no play. Massive LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers went at No. 14 to the Rams and then Seattle made the first true shocking pick when they took West Virginia linebackerdefensive end Bruce Irvin.

North Carolina, projected by some to be a top-10 pick, was selected by the New York Jets at 16 where Rex Ryan was expected to grab an outside rusher instead. Then the Bengals took the third cornerback in the span of 12 picks when they chose Alabamas Dre Kirkpatrick.

Cubs Talk Podcast: 2017 season obituary and previewing an interesting winter for Cubs

1020_albert_almora.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: 2017 season obituary and previewing an interesting winter for Cubs

In the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull, Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki close the book on the 2017 season following Theo Epstein’s press conference, looking back at what will go down as the craziest calendar year in Cubs history from last November through the team’s loss in the NLCS this October.

Moving forward, where do guys like Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Justin Wilson and Mike Montgomery fit? Will the Cubs re-sign Wade Davis or go after another proven closer? And how worried should fans be about the offense that completely disappeared in the postseason?

Take a listen below:

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

1020_hawks_yotes.jpg

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.