Bears

Mock drafting for the Bears

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Mock drafting for the Bears

INDIANAPOLIS -- Its still 2-12 months away but the NFL draft is never really out of season, so its worth a look on a quiet pre-Super Bowl Saturday to establish who the Bears will draft at No. 19 (kidding).

Theres only one vote that really matters and that remains new GM Phil Emery, and he made it clear at his introductory press conference that hes not into discussing needs and players to pair with those. And there is still the more immediate variable of free agency, in which the Bears signing an elite wide receiver (Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, other) would substantially alter the needs hierarchy of the franchise.

Notre Dames Michael Floyd remains the popular call (WalterFootball, Rob Rang, others). But Floyd is not a gimme for various reasons, depending on how Emery and the Bears feel about even a slight character cloud or whether Floyd goes before the Bears (hes going top 10 in one mock). And Domers have been draft-day stunners the other direction as well (Brady Quinn, anyone?)

Baylors Kendall Wright remains in the discussions with Floyd gone. The speed is certainly there, although speed alone wasnt enough for Devin Hester and Johnny Knox.

The intriguing names to watch are Mohamed Sanu, a 6-2 wideout who caught 115 passes for 1,206 yards and 7 TDs last year. But Sanu played for Greg Schiano at Rutgers and Schiano was just hired as Tampa Bays head coach. The Bucs may not think Sanu is worth the No. 5 pick of the draft but trading down and Schiano taking a known playmaker to pair with Josh Freeman would not be a stretch.

And Nolan Nawrocki, who does great work for Pro Football Weekly, is the first to see the scenario of Floyd dropping, which I see as more than a little likely. Nolan has his (and the Bears) eye on LSU burner Reuben Randle.

Randle is a junior coming out, doesnt have the gaudy numbers of Sanu, but hes run 4.5 in the 40 and is 6-4. Not a high No. 1 but from a big-time program.

A name to watch, particularly with the NFL Scouting Combine coming in a couple weeks.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: