2015 NFL Mock Draft: CSN's Chris Boden makes his picks


2015 NFL Mock Draft: CSN's Chris Boden makes his picks

I Mock you. Then you Mock me. In our annual dart-throwing contest, I do believe John Fox would love to get an edge rusher as he did in his first drafts that began defensive transformations in Carolina (Julius Peppers) and Denver (Von Miller). They could decide to be patient with Shane Ray's toe injury that could take up to five months of recovery. They could buy into Randy Gregory's lightning bolt pass rush and hope to add to his 235-pound frame and subtract his marijuana issues. If Vic Beasley's there, they might jump on him.

But in this scenario, I still believe they go defense over the talented wideout (Kevin White) because of Fox. I think they could be convinced to trade down for an extra first round pick if someone (Cleveland? Ryan Pace's old friends in New Orleans?) really wants someone at number 7. But if they stay, and they go defense, Danny Shelton is so unique, been so durable, with a knack to also pass rush and likely potential to anchor and dominate up to a decade in this defense, that the options Fox currently has available in Jeremiah Ratliff and Ego Ferguson take a back seat to selecting him.

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

I also believe the Titans will move the second overall pick if they get either Sam Bradford or Philip Rivers in return. The thinking here is the guy in Philly shakes things up early, steals the national headlines and conversation again, and finds a way to get the quarterback he's wanted all along.

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

Lovie Smith is confident he can keep the most talented QB in draft on straight and narrow.

2. Philadelphia Eagles via trade with Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB), Oregon

Chip Kelly sends Sam Bradford and the Eagles' No. 20 pick to Tennessee to get his Duck.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr. (OLB), Florida

Gus Bradley fills his "LEO" spot over super-versatile lineman Leonard Williams.

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

Also tempted by Williams, but Derek Carr is given a go-to guy.

5. Washington Redskins: Leonard Williams (DL), USC

Shouldn't have dropped this far and they listen to offers, but grab him over an edge rusher.

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

Bowles is a "D" man, and concerns about others allow Combine star to jump.

7. Chicago Bears: Danny Shelton (DT), Washington

With injury to Ray & issues with Gregory, the best value is with Shelton or White. Fox wants defense and goes with durable, run-stopping freak who can pressure and hopes deep WR class lasts. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray (DE), Missouri

Ex-Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn needs an edge rusher and will wait for Ray's toe to heal.

9. New York Giants: Todd Gurley (RB), Georgia

The two-year first round drought for running backs ends despite the ACL. Odell and now Gurley.

10. St. Louis Rams: Kevin White (WR), West Virginia

Some much-needed juice for the 28th-ranked offense.


11. Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State

Watch out for Zimmer's defense: Waynes follows Barr, Floyd, Rhodes & Smith as first rounders the past four years.

12. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Scherff (OT), Iowa

Higher value than this. Josh McCown gets a little protection. Worry about wide receiver at No. 19.

13. New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory (OLB), Nebraska

Rob Ryan's defense fell from No. 4 to No. 31 in 2014. They'll hope his lanky frame fills a bit and his career won't go up in smoke.

14. Miami Dolphins: Breshad Perriman (WR), Central Florida

Hartline and Wallace out. Stills, Jennings, & now Perriman in to help Landry and Tannehill.

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

So many exits on defense and Justin Smith considering retirement. The repairs start here.

16. Houston Texans: Kevin Johnson (CB), Wake Forest

Stock skyrocketing. Jonathan Joseph is 31. More help for Watt (and Clowney?)

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

Slow to pull trigger on sending Rivers to Titans at No. 2, they get protection for him, get running back later.

18. Kansas City Chiefs: DeVante Parker (WR), Louisville

Not far behind Cooper and White, he fills a need to pair with Maclin.

19. Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Strong (WR), Arizona State     

As promised at No. 12. You're welcome, Josh.

20. Tennessee Titans via trade with Philadelphia Eagles: Bud Dupree (OLB), Kentucky

Not quite the value the Bears needed at No. 7, but shouldn't have lasted this long.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford

They keep trying to find ways to help Andy Dalton's performance match his pay.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Collins (S), Alabama

The clear-cut best at his position. Polamalu's replacement as defensive makeover continues.

23. Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown (DT), Texas

Piece for the post-Suh/Fairley Era — stopgap Ngata not too far behind. 

24. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon (RB), Wisconsin

An effective new toy for Palmer to mix in with targets Fitzgerald & Brown.

25. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphries (OT), Florida

A need filled to help preserve Cam (besides his yogurt).

26. Baltimore Ravens: Nelson Agholor (WR), USC

Torrey Smith & Jacoby Jones are gone. Marc Trestman likes the tools in his toolbox.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Peters (CB), Washington

Discipline issues but strong in press/man. Fills a clear need in Big D.

28. Denver Broncos: Cam Erving (C), Florida State

Potential Pro Bowler replaces now-Bear Montgomery. Snapped for Jameis, now Peyton.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Bernardrick McKinney (ILB), Mississippi State

Edges out Clemson's Anthony & UCLA's Kendricks at his position to infuse some youth.

30. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma

So the Bears, Lions & Pack all pick DTs. Is the North turning Black and Blue again?

31. New Orleans Saints: Devin Smith (WR), Ohio State

The pick they get from Seattle for Graham gives Brees an alternative deep threat.

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

Somebody has to replace Revis & Browner. Second Bayou Bengal first rounder named Collins.

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

USA Today Sports Images

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

As the Bears set their foundation for training camp during OTAs this month, one part of that is beginning to identify each player’s strengths and weaknesses on which to build in Bourbonnais. 

Designing an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths was one of the reasons why Ryan Pace hired Matt Nagy, who then hired Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. Easy is the wrong word — but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Bears to not build an offense around their second-picked quarterback. 

But as Nagy and Helfrich are installing that offense during OTAs and, next month, veteran minicamp, they’re also learning what Trubisky’s weaknesses are. And the one Helfrich pointed to, in a way, is a positive. 

“Experience,” Helfrich said. “I think it’s 100 percent experience and just reps, and that’s kind of what I was talking about was knowing why something happened. As a quarterback, he might take the perfect drop and be looking at the right guy in your progression, and that guy runs the wrong route or the left guard busts or something. The defense does something different or wrong, even. And trusting that is just a matter of putting rep on top of rep on top of rep and being confident.”

It'd be a concern if the Bears thought Trubisky lacked the necessary talent to be great, or had a lacking work ethic or bad attitude. Experience isn't something he can control, in a way. 

This isn’t anything new for Trubisky. His lack of experience at North Carolina — he only started 13 games there — was the biggest ding to his draft stock a year ago; while he started a dozen games for the Bears in 2017, the offense was simple and conservative, designed to minimize risk for Trubisky (and, to be fair, a sub-optimal group of weapons around him). 

But even if Trubisky started all 16 games in an innovative, aggressive offense last year, he’d still be experiencing plenty of things for the first time. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made this point back in September that still resonates now with regard to Trubisky:

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks,” Roethlisberger said. “In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

So the challenge for Nagy and Helfrich is to build an offense that accentuates Trubisky’s strengths while managing his lack of experience. For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles succeeded in those efforts last year with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively. 

For Helfrich, though, one of Trubisky’s strengths — his leadership qualities — are already helping mitigate his need for more experience. 

“He’s still in the mode of learning and doing things out here,” Helfrich said. “We might have run one play 10 times against 10 different defenses, you know? And so his response to every one of those 10 things is brand new. And so, you see his reaction to some of those is good. Some of those things you want to improve upon and then keep your chest up and lead because we need that.”