Bears

Rotoworld NFL mock draft 2.0: At No. 28, the Cowboys select...

Rotoworld NFL mock draft 2.0: At No. 28, the Cowboys select...

NBCSports' and Rotoworld's NFL Draft expert Josh Norris released his second 2017 NFL mock draft. Here are picks' 20-32. Also, be sure to check out the entire mock draft here:

This mock draft will change. Frequently.

The process is still young. Free agency is weeks away. The Combine has not kicked off. So as of now, I’m focusing more on current team needs and possible changes in the coming months. Prospect positioning becomes more clear as the process moves along. Future iterations will be more fleshed out.

Picks 14 and 15 will be decided by a coin toss at the NFL Combine.

20. Denver Broncos - OL Antonio Garcia, Troy - Few tackles each year project as seamlessly to the left side as Garcia. His footwork, athleticism and nastiness to finish off plays makes him one of my favorite prospect in this class.

21. Detroit Lions - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama - I know this will surprise many of you, but I think the Lions make tight end a priority this offseason. Not necessarily to replace Eric Ebron, but rather one to compliment him. Plus Howard is far more talented than Ebron.

22. Miami Dolphins  - EDGE Derek Barnett, Tenn - Mario Williams won’t be back. Cam Wake is 35 years old. Opinions on Barnett might be split regarding if his style translates into being a consistent pass rusher.

23. New York Giants - LB Haason Reddick, Temple - It was widely known that the Giants hoped to draft Leonard Floyd last year as an outside linebacker who also offered some pass rushing upside. Reddick offers a totally different frame but potentially could fill the same role.

24. Oakland Raiders - CB Quincy Wilson, Florida - The guarantees on the contracts of Sean Smith and David Amerson are coming to an end. While Teez Tabor received the bulk of the attention, I know many prefer Wilson as a prospect. Tre’Davius White is also a possibility here.

25. Houston Texans - T Cam Robinson, Alabama - Right tackle will likely be a priority for the Texans with Derek Newton’s injury.

26. Seattle Seahawks - T Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin - We will hear closer to Combine season how much Ramczyk’s hip surgery will impact his evaluation. The Seahawks need to continue to invest high picks in the worst position on the roster.

[RELATED: Complete 2017 NFL Draft coverage]

27. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State - The Chiefs depth and talent at inside linebacker has been lackluster for years, and whenever Derrick Johnson goes down with an injury it is even more apparent.

28. Dallas Cowboys - EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri - Charles Harris could be drafted much, much higher. He is a pass rusher with an amazing get off and a successful counter move. That is the skill set to create pressure and sacks in the NFL.

29. Green Bay Packers - CB Sidney Jones, Washington - The Packers care about size, so possible targets at corner will be more clear after the Combine. Jones has ball skills, which this team has coveted in the past.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn - Look at Lawson and you see what many consider the Steelers’ prototype along the edge. Injuries continued to slow down his collegiate career, but Lawson is one of the best edge players in the class. He has burst and strength.

31. Atlanta Falcons - DL Jaleel Johnson, Iowa - I was expecting more from Johnson during Senior Bowl week, but that says more about my expectations than his evaluation. Few defensive linemen exit college with his hand use and understand of balance and counter moves.

32. New England Patriots - LB Zach Cunningham, Cunningham is going to be a draft favorite in the coming months. The Patriots linebackers could look quite different next year, depending on how contracts play out.

Read more at Rotoworld.com.

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 7!

Walter's choices in Week 7 are a chance to go to Mardi Gras or a celebration of St. Patrick's day in Chicago. Bears fans should be excited about his decision in Week 7... and now we're all looking forward to St. Patrick's Day again!

The 12-week old dachshund was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. 

Now, Walter is ready to rumble between the well-manicured lines of Sweetness Field. He is NOW adoptable via onetail.org and has two adorable sisters named Martha and Millie, who are already adopted. 

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: www.onetail.org

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Saints

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Saints

1. Get production from receivers not named Allen Robinson. 

Robinson can expect to be followed all game by Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who’s limited opposing receivers to nine catches on 20 targets in his last three games (a sampling of those receivers: Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, D.J. Chark). So if Robinson isn’t open, it likely will have less to do with his own play and more the play of one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. 

With that in mind, Sunday will be a significant test for the Bears’ other pass catchers. This team’s offensive identity was supposed to be steeped in an ability to spread the ball around to guys like Taylor Gabriel, Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson and Trey Burton, but so far this season, the only thing the Bears have proven to do well is get the ball to Robinson. That absolutely has to change on Sunday. 

Miller feels primed for a breakout game after ditching his shoulder harness, while Gabriel is back from a concussion suffered on the final catch of his explosive three touchdown game in Week 3 against Washington. Those two guys need to show up, and the Bears need to better scheme plays for Cohen, who’s averaging 4.5 yards per touch — lower than his average in 2017 with Dowell Loggains calling the plays. 

Robinson still could have a productive day — he’s that good — but the Bears shouldn’t count on it.

2. Hold your own against the Saints’ front. 

The Saints are outstanding at affecting quarterbacks without blitzing, with their 76 pressures ranking second in the NFL — this for a team that’s only blitzing on 22 percent of its defensive snaps. And of those 76 pressures, 63 have come from defensive linemen. 

Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan have been monsters this year, combining for eight sacks while consistently generating that pressure off the edge. Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie will need need to have their best games of 2019 to keep them away from Mitch Trubisky, but the interior of the Bears’ line will have its hands full, too. David Onyemata, Malcom Brown and Sheldon Rankins all have at least one sack, putting an onus on Cody Whitehair, James Daniels and Rashaad Coward and/or Ted Larsen to keep those guys out of Trubisky’s face.

If not, Trubisky will have a difficult time getting comfortable and going through his progressions, which could lead to some forced/panicked throws...which could be jumped by Lattimore or another one of the Saints' defensive backs.   

3. Get game-wrecking plays on defense.

The thought here is Sunday’s game will be a tight defensive battle, with the game swinging on which team gets a turnover deep in its opponent territory. For the Bears, that means coming up with the kind of game-wrecking play (or plays) we’ve come to expect from this defense. 

Teddy Bridgewater has been sacked on only 16.7 percent of his drop-backs (24th, per PFF), though, with tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead among the best pass blockers at their position in the NFL. It’ll be a fascinating matchup for Khalil Mack, who will need to be at his best to beat the Saints’ best and “sack the football,” as he’s so good at doing. Or maybe Sunday is time for Eddie Jackson to get his first interception of the season (though he’s only been thrown at about two times per game, down from his average of nearly three times per game in 2018). 

However the Bears’ defense does it, they need to do it in a game in which their offense very well could struggle to move the ball. 

Prediction: Saints 13, Bears 9. 

While the Saints will be without future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, star do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara and reliable tight end Jared Cook, this is a team should have the advantage at the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense (the Bears, of course, will be without Akiem Hicks and might start a greenhorn at right guard in Coward). That advantage matters greatly in close games, in which grinding out a few yards here and there will become critical, especially in the fourth quarter.

And too, Sean Payton has built a strong coach of the year case for how he’s guided the Saints to an undefeated record without Brees. The Saints are playing a strong brand of complementary football, with a ball security-based offense and a defense that’s progressively got better this year (punter Thomas Morstead, for what it’s worth, is outstanding and shouldn’t be completely overlooked). 

So the Saints will arrive at Soldier Field undermanned, but with an advantage at the line of scrimmage and on the sideline. And those will be enough for New Orleans to emerge with a win, sending the Bears to 3-3 in the process. 

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