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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Could Bears' Ryan Pace trade back from No. 7?

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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Could Bears' Ryan Pace trade back from No. 7?

The NFL Draft always provides surprises and 2015 will be no different.

The only first-round lock appears to be Jameis Winston going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1. After that it's a crapshoot. Will Marcus Mariota land in Tennessee or is he destined to reunite with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia? Will a running back finally be drafted in the first round? And how will Ryan Pace fare in his first foray into the draft as GM of the Bears?

[MORE NFL DRAFT: Check out our 200 player profiles]

With less than two days until the 2015 NFL Draft officially kicks off, CSNChicago.com's Scott Krinch tries mocking the first round.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston (QB), Florida State

Lovie Smith does not have the best poker face. Winston will be the pick here and he has been all along.

2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB), Oregon

Does Mariota stay in Tennessee or get flipped on draft night? Regardless, expect the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner to come off the board at No. 2.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Williams (DL), USC

David Caldwell passes on in-state edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and elects to snag the draft's most complete defensive lineman in Leonard Williams.  

4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper (WR), Alabama

If this was 10 years ago the Raiders choice would probably be the enigma that is Breshad Perriman, but Reggie McKenzie goes the safe route with Amari Cooper.

5. Washington Redskins: Dante Fowler Jr. (OLB), Florida

The Redskins are floored to see Fowler Jr. still on the board, who they hope becomes the next LaVar Arrington — minus the injuries.

6. New York Jets: Vic Beasley (OLB), Clemson

The rich get richer as Todd Bowles' defense adds arguably the best pass rusher in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

7. New Orleans Saints via trade with Chicago Bears: Bud Dupree (OLB), Kentucky

Ryan Pace swings a draft deal with his former club, who desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball. Chicago swaps No. 7 for New Orleans' Nos. 13 and 31 picks in the first round. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Randy Gregory (OLB), Nebraska

Dan Quinn ignores Gregory's off-the-field issues, and gets his first major rebuilding piece for the Falcons defense. 

9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff (OT), Iowa

The Giants take a page out of their NFC East counterpart Dallas Cowboys' book, and snatch up the most versatile offensive lineman in this year's draft. 

10. St. Louis Rams: Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford

Rams have to find a way to protect whoever is playing quarterback for them in 2015.  

11. Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker (WR), Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater gets his former Louisville running mate in Parker, who gives the Vikings a dangerous tandem in the NFC North for years to come. 

12. Cleveland Browns: Kevin White (WR), West Virginia

The slide finally ends for White here. The Browns have a glaring need at wide receiver and White gives Josh McCown/Johnny Manziel a bonafide No. 1 wideout.

13. Chicago Bears via trade with New Orleans Saints: Danny Shelton (DT), Washington

The Bears trade down, pick up an extra first rounder and get the guy they wanted all along. Shelton fills an immediate need and has a chance to be a dominant presence in the middle of Chicago's defense.

14. Miami Dolphins: Kevin Johnson (CB), Wake Forest

Johnson's stock is sky high and the Dolphins fill a major need at corner.

15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead (DT), Oregon

Armstead and the 49ers are a match made in heaven. The 49ers desperately need help on the defensive line as Armstead becomes San Francisco's heir apparent to Justin Smith. 

16. Houston Texans: Breshad Perriman (WR), Central Florida

Perriman was one of the most explosive players in college football last season and the Texans elect to fill the void at WR left by Andre Johnson.  

17. San Diego Chargers: La'el Collins (OT), LSU

Collins could step in and play either right tackle or right guard in Week 1. 

18. Kansas City Chiefs: Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State

Wide receiver or secondary seem to be the route the Chiefs will go at No. 18. With an early run-on of receivers, Kansas City snags the next best corner on the board.

19. Cleveland Browns: Malcom Brown (DT), Texas

Brown fills a huge need on the D-line for Cleveland. Ray Farmer makes out like a bandit with both White and Brown in the fold.  

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Phillip Dorsett (WR), Miami

All the pre-draft talk of the Eagles moving up comes to a halt as Chip Kelly stays at No. 20 and finds a Jeremy Maclin replacement in the speedy Dorsett.  

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Ereck Flowers (OT), Miami

How do you make Andy Dalton better? Well, the Bengals have given him numerous weapons to work with at WR, RB and TE, so why not find him some O-line help this time around?

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters (CB), Washington

Peters is probably the most talented corner in the draft, but his stock has plummeted due to off-the-field issues. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers go for the home run with the former Husky.

23. Detroit Lions: Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma

The Lions would love a chance to grab either Danny Shelton or Malcom Brown to fill the hole left at defensive tackle after offseason departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but Phillips is no slouch as a consolation prize. 

24. Arizona Cardinals: Todd Gurley (RB), Georgia

The Cardinals waste little time ending Gurley's slide and finally find a legitimate weapon at running back. The former Bulldog has Top 5 talent.

25. Carolina Panthers: T.J. Clemmings (OT), Pittsburgh

The Panthers need to find a way to protect Cam Newton and take the first step in doing so with the athletic Clemmings. 

26. Baltimore Ravens: Melvin Gordon (RB), Wisconsin

Gordon is a steal for the Ravens at No. 26. Matt Forte had two of his most productive years under Marc Trestman, who will have that same affect on Gordon in Baltimore.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Byron Jones (CB), Connecticut

What a tough break for the Cowboys after missing out on both Gurley and Gordon. Instead, Dallas goes with the high character corner in Jones. Not like they need some good character guys for the locker room or anything...

28. Denver Broncos: D.J. Humphries (OT), Florida

Humphries is snatched up by the Broncos and fills an immediate need on the right side of the offensive line.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Landon Collins (S), Alabama

The draft's first safety finally comes off the board. The Colts need a playmaker on the back end of their defense and Collins fits the bill.

30. Green Bay Packers: Eric Kendricks (ILB), UCLA

The instinctive Kendricks would be a tackling machine in Green Bay's 3-4 defense.  

31. Chicago Bears via trade with New Orleans Saints: Shane Ray (OLB), Missouri

Shane Ray finally hears his name called after a whirlwind week. Pace and the Bears use their additional first rounder to get a Top 10 talent, and hope Ray's character issues are a thing of the past.

32. New England Patriots: Jalen Collins (CB), LSU

No Darrelle Revis. No Brandon Browner. The Pats re-tool at corner with Collins. 

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

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Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.

History.

That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

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Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

On Thursday, Brian Baldinger released another video clip on Twitter for his #BaldysBreakdowns series, this one praising the recent play from Bears QB Mitch Trubisky.

Baldinger states that Trubisky is "making some kind of jump", referring to how impressed he was with Trubisky's play when compared to his rookie season. 

In the video Baldinger explains in the video how you expect franchise QBs to make a big leap from year one to year two, and a big part of that leap for Trubisky is being unafraid to make aggressive throws downfield.

Baldinger highlighted a play where Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel 47-yards down the field, choosing to trust his wideout after he hit him with perfect ball placement despite tight coverage. He continued this theme later on in the video, showing Trubisky's TD strike to Allen Robinson, which was whipped right past a Dolphins defender. 

But Baldinger's video wasn't exclusively compliments for Trubisky. He discussed Tarik Cohen's effectiveness as a pass-catcher, saying that you "can't cover him" and comparing him to a Ferrari with his ability to go from first to fifth gear "about as fast as anybody."

He ended his video by showing Trubisky punishing the Dolphins for a blown coverage, hitting rookie Anthony Miller in stride for a 29-yard TD. Baldinger's point in including this clip was to show Trubisky's improved recognition, as he may not have spotted the blown coverage last year. Noticing when and how to take advantage of defensive sloppiness is one of the many things that seperate a "franchise QB" from a stopgap, and Trubisky is trending in the right direction. 

If Baldinger's breakdown is any indication, we should expect Trubisky to keep his incredible momentum rolling when the Bears take on the New England Patriots on Sunday. New England is 3rd worst in the league in passing TDs allowed, giving up 15 scores through the air in six games.