Bears

Double-booking on draft picks not a workable long-term solution for Bears

Double-booking on draft picks not a workable long-term solution for Bears

A mildly troubling pattern within Bears drafting took some shape as the 2017 selection derby moved through its final day. Not necessarily a serious issue with the organizational mechanism, but...

The problem is re-drafting, a sort of NFL overbooking or double-booking, a dangerous situation that has hurt the Bears at times past when they needed to repeat picks at a certain position because of misses on free agents or draft choices.

It is one thing if the doubling up is at a linchpin position, and some obviously are more that than others. But some of these aren't recurring picks at pass rusher, offensive tackle, quarterback or wide receiver, where a re-draft can be excused because you can never have too many of them.

Drafting Trubisky after signing Glennon – makes sense. Drafting Leonard Floyd with Pernell McPhee and Willie Young in place – check.
 
But consider:

The Bears made a commitment at tight end with a three-year deal to get Dion Sims out of Miami. They then double-committed, using used a second-round pick on Adam Shaheen out of Ashland. If the Bears do not have seriously massive plans for the position, which is certainly possible, then the draft move is a little head-scratching, “best available” notwithstanding.

Elsewhere, Pace use three picks last year on defensive backs; none project to be threatening the starting lineup anytime soon.

After trading up in the fourth round this draft, the Bears used the 112th overall pick on Alabama safety Eddie Jackson. Safety was a consensus need area, which is itself a little notable because since arriving in 2015, the Bears and Ryan Pace have drafted Adrian Amos (fifth round), Deon Bush (fourth), DeAndre Houston-Carson (sixth) and are looking to move Deiondre' Hall (fourth) from cornerback to safety. This on top of making Quintin Demps a priority signing this offseason. Now, Jackson.

Contrast that with results when the Bears used No. 2 picks on Tony Parrish (1998) and Mike Brown (2000) to get it right. When Parrish wasn't re-signed in 2002, and Brown's career dissolved into injury after 2004, the safety position spiraled downward, to the detriment of other positions as well.

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Then with the 119th pick the Bears tapped diminutive (5-foot-6, 179 pounds) running back Tarik Cohen out of North Carolina A&T, which has had one player drafted in the past 20 years (center Junius Coston to Green Bay, 2005). That doesn't preclude anything, and Cohen could be the Bears version of Darren Sproles, but Garrett Wolfe was going to be the Bears' very own Warrick Dunn 10 years ago.

Cohen makes this the third straight Ryan Pace draft with a mid-round pick going for a running back, following Jordan Howard (fifth round) and Jeremy Langford (fourth) into a roster that had Ka'Deem Carey (fourth) from Phil Emery's final draft.

No position is unimportant in the NFL, but the positions at which these re-draftings are happening isn't ideal. Mid rounds ideally yield pass rushers such as Alex Brown (fourth) and Mark Anderson (sixth) or impact  defensive linemen  like Henry Melton (fourth).

Former GM Jerry Angelo conceded that he and his staff had real trouble hitting on offensive linemen (Marc Colombo, Terrence Metcalf, Josh Beekman, Chris Williams, Gabe Carimi, all fourth round or higher), which was largely why the majority of the '05, '06 and '10 O-lines came from free agency.

Pace cannot afford needing too many repeats in the drive to reverse the fortunes of a franchise that has had to retake the same ground too many times in the past.

How ‘spatula hands’ Adrian Amos is a perfect representation of the Bears’ defense 

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USA Today

How ‘spatula hands’ Adrian Amos is a perfect representation of the Bears’ defense 

Adrian Amos grew up a Ravens fan, and would go play football with his dad on a field in the shadow of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. So what was the best game of his career on Sunday — eight tackles and a 90-yard pick six — carried more meaning for the Bears’ safety. 

“This was a dream come true coming back to play in this stadium,” Amos said. “That’s a blessing in itself. Not a lot of people from Baltimore get the chance to do that, to be in this stadium.”

Amos played nearly 2,000 career snaps before recording his first NFL interception on Sunday, when he was in the right place to snag a ball Kyle Fuller — another Baltimore native who was outstanding against the Ravens — tipped pass. Amos always was regarded as a sure tackler who could be counted on to stick to his assignments, but for whatever reason he never was able to get himself an interception. 

“Sometimes, I call him ‘spatula hands’ because he doesn’t catch a lot of balls,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. 

“Akiem’s always got the jokes,” Amos said. Hicks never actually called Amos “spatula hands” to his face, and after dropping that line to the media, he told Amos what he said (“He’s got jokes for everybody,” Amos added). 

Homecomings and jokes aside, Amos is playing his best football right now, and that’s been huge for a Bears defense that’s needed to replace plenty of key players before the halfway point of the season. Amos, who lost his job when the Bears added Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson in the offseason, is starting in place of Demps, who broke his arm Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“At that time, there was a guy playing better than him,” coach John Fox said of Amos losing his starting job in training camp. “And, at this time, he’s playing the best in the group. And that’s why he’s playing out there.”

Amos played a grand total of one defensive snap in Weeks 1 and 2, but has played every single defensive snap — as well as 26 special teams snaps — in the last two weeks. He had eight tackles against both Minnesota and Baltimore, and against the Ravens, he notched a tackle for a loss and two pass break-ups. 

This Bears defense showed in the first five weeks of the season to be a “fine” group, one that wouldn’t make many mistakes, but also wouldn’t make a lot of plays. That changed on Sunday, with Bryce Callahan picking off a pass, Christian Jones forcing a fumble and Amos notching an interception. 

Like the Bears defense this year, Amos was a solid player who hadn’t made a lot of big plays in his career. And like the Bears’ defense on Sunday, Amos finally made a critical play when it counted. 

“It’s just a mindset thing,” Amos said. “Just staying focused. Stay confident in my ability. Just keep working, being aggressive, just put my head down and work, that’s all I know.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?