Bears

Jalen Hurts underwhelms in first Senior Bowl practice

Jalen Hurts underwhelms in first Senior Bowl practice

MOBILE, Ala. — Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, a prospect pegged as a potential option for the Bears in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, struggled in his first Senior Bowl practice of the week, failing to throw with consistency or accuracy when targeting his South squad receivers.

This isn't an uncommon occurrence for quarterbacks participating in the Senior Bowl. It could take a few practices to develop rhythm and timing with a completely new set of pass-catchers, but there was a marked difference in Hurts' ball placement compared to fellow South team quarterback, Oregon's Justin Herbert.

RELATED: Who will the Bears be watching at the 2020 Senior Bowl?

Herbert is projected to be a top-10 pick, and while his footwork in bag drills didn't look anything remotely close to that high of a grade, his arm talent was (for the most part) on display throughout the practice.

The Bears' biggest draft needs center around tight end and offensive line, and there were a few obvious standouts from those position groups.

LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan was the most fluid and explosive route-runner on the South team which includes the likes of Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) and Harrison Bryant (FAU). His wide receiver background was evident; he created easy separation and flashed the kind of downfield speed that will be an asset in the NFL. 

Pinkney, on the other hand, really struggled. He looked heavy-footed and forced his quarterback to make tight-window throws. It wasn't a great start for him.

One of the really interesting names to monitor over the next few days is Ben Bartch, the Saint John's offensive lineman who's making one of the biggest jumps in competition among all of this year's Senior Bowl participants. You wouldn't know it by how he performed on Tuesday, however. He was quick out of his stance, showed strong hands and a powerful base. He's going to be a riser from this game.

The best player on the field, bar none, was South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. He has a chance to jump into the top-10 with a strong week of practice, and if his first session was any indication of how this week is going to go, his stock is going to skyrocket. He was unblockable, including several reps where he bullied potential Bears target John Simpson (guard, Clemson) in one-on-ones. 

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Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

The XFL is two weeks into its inaugural season, and there's one player who's standing head and shoulders above the rest as a viable NFL prospect at the game's most important position.

Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker has taken the league by storm. His three touchdown passes in Week 1 set the table for another impressive performance in Houston's Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks, and looked every bit the part of a dual-threat playmaker that's quickly become the modern-era prototype.

Take a look:

Walker tossed another three touchdowns while looking like the best player on the field (and in the entire XFL) for the second week in a row. Whether his game can translate to success on the NFL level is a big unknown at this point. He spent two seasons on the Colts practice squad without seeing any regular-season action.

Walker's early-season success is a great example of how developmental leagues like the XFL can serve as a feeder for the NFL at positions of need. Quarterback is no exception, especially in Chicago where Mitch Trubisky is in the most uncertain offseason of his career. 

This isn't to suggest that a player like Walker is appealing enough to be the guy GM Ryan Pace adds to the roster as potential competition for Trubisky. But as a possible QB3 behind Trubisky and an established veteran added in free agency? It isn't the worst idea in the world, especially after seeing the kind of playmaking ability he has when given a chance to get on the field.

XFL players can make the jump to the NFL after the 2020 season concludes. The championship game Is scheduled for April 26.

New mock draft has Bears making trade in 2nd round

New mock draft has Bears making trade in 2nd round

The 2020 NFL draft will be a challenge for Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace. He won't be armed with a first-round pick and has just two selections before the fifth round. Chicago is expected to receive a fourth-round compensatory pick after losing safety Adrian Amos in free agency last year, but that's merely an assumption at this point.

It would come as no surprise if Pace makes a move or two in the second round to acquire more draft capital. It's more likely the Bears will trade down in the 2020 draft as opposed to recent drafts that saw Pace make aggressive moves up the board for WR Anthony Miller (2018) and RB David Montgomery (2019). 

In the latest mock draft from The Draft Network, Pace slides back from No. 43 to No. 48 (originally held by the Jets) and adds an additional fifth-rounder to his toolbox. And the Bears still end up with a player who fans would be happy with at their original pick in tight end Brycen Hopkins (Purdue).

The Bears' trade down was a good one, as they grab a target from earlier in the round while grabbing a fifth in return. Doesn't feel like much, but their cupboards are bare this year, and they need more weapons on offense to survive with Mitch Trubisky at QB

There aren't any trades at No. 50 overall, Chicago's second of two second-rounders. Instead, this mock draft sends the Bears LSU offensive tackle Saadiq Charles.

Saahdiq Charles is one of my favorite developmental tackles that. nobody talks about. He's not ready to step in and start in Year 1, but the Bears can keep Bobby Massie and Charles Leno installed as starters through this year and re-evaluate after Charles bulks up.

Charles will go through the rest of the draft process with some red flags after serving a six-game suspension for the Tigers in 2019. Still, with the premium placed on offensive tackles in today's NFL, landing a player at the position who has starter's upside is a big win, especially with the Bears having more flexibility to get out of Bobby Massie's contract at the end of 2020. While offensive tackle doesn't appear like Chicago's most pressing need, it quickly could become one next year if they don't add a developmental starter early in the 2020 draft.

It's hard to argue with a draft haul that brings the Bears a tight end and an offensive tackle in the second round, as well as an additional fifth-round pick along the way.