Bears

How Baker Mayfield’s rising stock at the Senior Bowl presents some interesting scenarios for the Bears

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USA Today

How Baker Mayfield’s rising stock at the Senior Bowl presents some interesting scenarios for the Bears

MOBILE, Ala. — The NFL Draft begins three months from today, so let’s stress this before we begin: We don’t know what is going to happen on April 26. That picture only barely began to come into focus this week in Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

But there are a few possible scenarios that began to develop during practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium involving quarterbacks that could impact the Bears in April.

Consider this: Of the six teams picking ahead of the Bears in this year’s draft, four need quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns (who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks), New York Giants (No. 2), Denver Broncos and New York Jets all could be the market to draft a quarterback.

A year ago, there were four teams picking in the top 10 that also had a quarterback as a need: The Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Bears and Jets. The Bears were the only team of that group to draft a quarterback, and the Buffalo Bills traded out of the No. 10 pick to allow the Kansas City Chiefs to take Patrick Mahomes there. The Giants and Arizona Cardinals kicked their need for a quarterback a year down the road, while the Houston Texans traded up to No. 12 to draft DeShaun Watson.

This year’s group of teams that need a quarterback — which outside the top 10 could include Cincinnati, Washington, Arizona, the Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo and New Orleans — won’t all necessarily take someone from the Sam Darnold/Josh Rosen/Josh Allen/Baker Mayfield/Mason Rudolph pool. But at the Senior Bowl this week, Mayfield’s boosted his stock, while Allen hasn’t been particularly impressive. But then there’s this:

Allen’s accuracy issues — he only completed 56.3 percent of his passing last year at Wyoming — were present during practice this week, but that arm strength could have some quarterback-driven coaches salivating. If Mayfield continues to impress outside of Mobile, he would force himself into being a top-10 pick alongside Darnold, Rosen and potentially Allen, too. 

Mayfield, of course, isn't in play for the Bears -- according to Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko, he told them as much himself: "You guys just drafted Mitchell Trubisky," Klemko reported Mayfield told a Bears scout, "so what do you want with me?"

So here’s the scenario for the Bears: There are four quarterbacks who prove to be legit top-10 picks in the coming months. The extreme end of this is all four being off the board by the time the Bears pick at No. 8, which would put the Bears in an enviable position to have their pick of one of the following players: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, North Carolina State edge rusher Bradley Chubb, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

Not coincidentally, those five players comprise NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top five prospects for the 2018 draft. The presence of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen may not make Barkley a realistic option, which could allow the Bears to trade down, but it’s also seems unlikely right now he’d fall to No. 8. Edmunds doesn’t necessarily fit the Bears’ need for an elite edge rusher, so No. 8 may be a stretch for him.

But if Chubb (the best edge rusher in this class, as of right now), Fitzpatrick (the best defensive back) or Nelson (the best offensive lineman) are available at No. 8, it’d be a coup for Ryan Pace to get one of them.

The more likely scenario is that a top quarterback is still on the board at No. 8, and the Bears swing a trade down in the draft to a team that needs a young quarterback (how about Washington if Kirk Cousins winds up somewhere else?). Adding a pick or two later on in the draft could help the Bears get a few more spins of the wheel at adding a productive wide receiver or cornerback.

There’s still plenty to play out between now and the combine in March, and the start of free agency shortly after, and then pro days later in March leading up to the draft in April. But as teams begin to leave Mobile, the quarterback scenarios — specifically, with Mayfield making a strong impression — that could impact the Bears are going to be fascinating to watch play out in the coming weeks and months.

Bears safety Deiondre’ Hall suspended for violating NFL substance abuse policy

Bears safety Deiondre’ Hall suspended for violating NFL substance abuse policy

Deiondre' Hall's status with the Bears looks a little murkier this afternoon. 

Earlier today, the NFL released a statement announcing that Hall has been suspended one game for violating the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. 

"Deiondre' Hall has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse," the statement read. "Hall will be eligble to return to the Bears' active roster on Monday, September 10th following the team's September 9th game against the Green Bay Packers. Hall is eligble to participate in all preseason practices and games." 

The suspension comes at a time when Hall is fighting for a roster spot: 

Hall has played in 10 games (eight in 2016, two in 2017) for the Bears since being drafted by the team in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. Through two years, he's totaled seven tackles, two passes defended and one interception. 

Bears confirm OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair fracture in right hand

Bears confirm OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair fracture in right hand

Bears head coach Matt Nagy confirmed to reporters on Monday that OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand he sustained in the first quarter of Saturday's 24-23 preseason win over the Denver Broncos.

The good news is, the Bears are optimistic that Floyd will be available to play in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. The bad news is, he'll likely have to play with a cast on until his injury fully heals.

"I don't think it's going to be healed, I think he's going to have to end up playing through it," Nagy said. "It might require something in regards to having a cast or a club-type deal. There's been evidence of guys that have had that and been productive, so that's what we're hoping." 

TE Adam Shaheen, who suffered a right ankle sprain on the first drive of the game, is still being evaluated and it's unclear whether or not he'll be ready by Week 1.

"We're not sure there yet," Nagy said. "We're hoping. We'll probably know more later today after the tests come back."