Bears

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Never too early to think QB of future for Bears

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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Never too early to think QB of future for Bears

By Josh Norris

Please do not use these “projections” as where prospects were once considered. Mock drafts this early are more for watchlist purposes. "Next year" is not always better than this year. Remember how closely these prospects are evaluated and even nitpicked during the process. That does not happen on live viewing.

1. Washington Redskins - DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State - You will see Bosa listed as an edge player in many places. He can line up outside, but I’ve seen Bosa handled tackles a guards while closed by another defender. He wins with power and quickness.

2. Cleveland Browns - QB Cody Kessler, USC - Of the quarterbacks in first round contention (at this time), Kessler easily was the most consistent in terms of positive performances. His arm is not outstanding, but he certainly has functional mobility and a willingness to work through reads.

3. Oakland Raiders - T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame - You all know how much I love Stanley’s game. I would have ranked him as the top T in the 2015 draft. He can take over for Donald Penn on the left side.

4. Tennessee Titans - CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida - Hargreaves has faced some of the top receivers in the country. He has not always won, but there is obvious skill in his game. Expect him to lock down many opponents this season.

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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DL/EDGE DeForest Buckner, OregonArik Armstead was worthy of a first round selection, but there were numerous games where Buckner was the better player. After focusing on offense early in the 2015 draft, the Bucs might shift to defense in 2016.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars - DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama - The Jags added a much needed edge player in Dante Fowler. They have plenty of young pieces on offense. A long term interior defensive line piece might be their biggest need.

7. New York Jets - QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State - Remember, it is May of 2015, but I do not see how someone can watch Christian Hackenberg’s 2014 games and see a top 10 worthy prospect. Was the situation good? No. Did he make it worse? Frequently, yes. 2015 will obviously be important for his evaluation.

8. St. Louis Rams - LB Myles Jack, UCLA - A complete linebacker who can help in the run, blitzing and in coverage. The Rams could use a linebacker who consistently plays at a high level.

9. Arizona Cardinals - QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State - I am so happy we will have more than two games to evaluate Cardale. After re-watching both, the Oregon contest was more impressive than his game against Alabama. His evaluation is a bit of a mystery right now: will Cardale continue to escape out of the back of the pocket? Can he progress past being a see-it, throw-it passer?

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10. Minnesota Vikings - T Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss - Tunsil suffered a fracture fibula in December, so that is definitely worth watching. Before the injury he was one of the more dependable left tackles in college football.

11. Carolina Panthers - S Su’a Cravens, USC - Cravens makes plenty of plays in the backfield, at the line of scrimmage and at the second level both in coverage and against the run. I would be interested to see how he handles more split safety or single high reps.

12. Chicago Bears - QB Connor Cook, Michigan State - At times, Cook’s inability to effectively handle pressure borders on being a fatal flaw. Hopefully he harnesses the positive reps when he shows good movement while keeping his eyes up. Cook is certainly willing to throw into contested situations.

Check out Norris' complete 2016 first round mock draft at Rotoworld.com

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

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USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.