Bears

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Florida DL Caleb Brantley

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Florida DL Caleb Brantley

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida

6'3" | 307 lbs.

2016 stats:

31 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks

Projection:

Day 2

Scouting Report:

"Powerful, stout defensive tackle with the quickness to play the three-technique and the power to play the nose. Brantley has the talent and traits that should appeal to both two-gap and one-gap defenses. While we haven't seen Brantley play in even half of Florida's defensive snaps in a single year, the talent is there to become an early starter and a defensive force up front." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

 

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

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USA Today

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

As a large group of TV cameras gathered around Charles Leno Jr.’s space in the Bears’ locker room, Eddy Pineiro quickly finished getting dressed in the shadows to Leno’s left. The kicker’s stayed out of the spotlight since losing the trust of his head coach on a nationally-televised game three weeks ago, but he’s played as well as anyone during the Bears’ three-game return to relevance. 

“Yeah, I would definitely say I’m more confident,” he said after the Bears’ 31-24 win on Thursday night. “There’s just good rhythm – good snap, good hold.” 

He hasn’t had to attempt a kick over 40 yards (!!) over the three games, but Pineiro’s accuracy issues, at least for now, seem at bay. He hit all five of his kicks against the Cowboys – four extra points and one 36-yard field goal. The kicker hasn’t missed a field goal (5-5) since LA, and has gone 9-10 on extra points. More importantly, they haven’t lost since either. 

“Oh yeah, it feels great,” Pineiro said. “Everyone in the locker room is super excited and happy. Everybody’s in a good mood. When you win, everybody’s in a good mood.” 

He hasn’t been physically tested much over the last month, but just ask Aldrick Rosas or Brett Maher how easy kicking at Soldier Field – even in nice conditions – is. The Bears have always loved Pineiro’s response to adversity, and it’s starting to look like he’s rewarded them again. 

“Just gaining experience, honestly,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me has just been gaining experience. Playing the game, I obviously don’t have the most experience, but I think trying to gain that experience has been the biggest thing for me.” 

Pineiro mentioned that he’s still getting used to the adjustments that come with kicking in colder temperatures – which may help explain some of his more recent lackluster kickoffs. It’s easy to see how a nationally-televised game in unusually pleasant conditions could have been a trap for a young player who’s maybe pressing a bit, but after getting the full Bears Kicker Experience stuffed into half a season, Pineiro knows better. 

“In my opinion, you’ve got to play well in every single game,” he said. “[it’s] not like just because you’re on national TV, you’ve got to play better. It felt good to get out there and hit a couple kicks.” 

Bears LB Roquan Smith feared to have torn pec muscle

Bears LB Roquan Smith feared to have torn pec muscle

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is feared to have suffered a torn pec muscle in the team's Week 14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Smith exited the game second quarter following an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run and didn't return.

A torn pec would put Smith on the shelf for the rest of the 2019 season and linger into his offseason preparation. The typical recovery from this type of injury is 4-6 months, which would put Smith out of action until OTAs.

Smith currently leads the Bears in tackles (101) and was beginning to play his best football of 2019 following a 15-tackle, two-sack game against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

Smith's injury marks the second serious blow to the Bears linebackers. Danny Trevathan has missed the last four games with an elbow injury and his return to the lineup remains uncertain.

Fourth-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski has done a phenomenal job filling in for Trevathan over the last month, earning the fourth-best Pro Football Focus grade on Chicago's defense in 2019. Smith's void is expected to be filled by Kevin Pierre-Louis, who totaled six tackles and two passes defended in Thursday night's win.

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