Bears could face both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in ‘15


Bears could face both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in ‘15

Most defenses would like very much to face rookie quarterbacks. The Bears, switching to a 3-4 after decades as a 4-3 team, may be in line to face both of the consensus top two quarterbacks – Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston – in the 2015 draft.

The Bears’ 2015 schedule includes road games to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers and to San Diego for an afternoon with the Chargers. As the draft analyses intensify, both teams are projected by some to have rookie quarterbacks.

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Myriad draft scenarios have been posited and more will surface in the week-plus remaining before the first round unfolds in Chicago on Thursday Apr. 30. Virtually all of them have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking either Mariota or Winston with the No. 1 overall pick.

“Tampa Bay isn’t etched in stone as to who they’re taking,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said via conference call on Tuesday. “They could take Mariota. And then where does Winston go?”

And if Tampa Bay opts for Winston, the Chargers have been reportedly entertaining thoughts to trade quarterback Philip Rivers. The most likely landing spot for Rivers has been speculated to be Tennessee, where the Titans hold the No. 2 overall pick. If San Diego swings a deal with Tennessee, the Chargers are projected to be making that trade expressly for purposes of grabbing Mariota.

“The only way that deal takes place if Mariota is available at No. 2,” Kiper said. “I don’t think they make that deal for Jameis Winston.”

Both Mariota and Winston come with caveats and concerns, Mariota because of the wide-open offense he ran at Oregon, Winston because of his off-field incidents. But the questions about Mariota because of scheme experience are “ridiculous” in the mind of someone involved in high-level quarterback evaluations.

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“I think the idea that [Mariota] is a spread-quarterback who runs read-options every play is ridiculous,” said Jon Gruden, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst. “I think he’s very poised. I’ve seen him run through some progressions…. He’s been asked to do a lot with pass protection.

“He learned the Oregon offense inside and out, and he’ll learn your offense. It’s just a matter of you teaching him and surrounding him with a support system, good players, good game planning, and an opportunity to be great.”

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

A boatload of Madden ratings dropped on Monday, and with it, more content than you could shake a stick at. 

The Bears, predictably, got a fair bit of love on the defensive side of the ball and were largely ignored on offense. 

No Fangio, No Problem

For a wide variety of reasons, it's trendy to point out that the Bears' defense is headed for some regression this season. Madden disagrees, though, rating the Bears defense (88) as the best in football. They did also give the Houston Texans' defense an 88 as well, but never let the details get in the way of a good story. Here's what they said: 

For Chicago, the unit is fronted by 99 Club member, LOLB Khalil Mack. FS Eddie Jackson (91 OVR) is a Superstar X-Factor like his teammate, Mack. That’s a scary combination for any opposing quarterback. Toss in CB Kyle Fuller (89 OVR) and you can see why this Bears unit should roar out of the gate in Madden 20. 

Year 2 Mitch Doesn't Get Any Love 

Trubisky was rated as the 24th best QB, which is already being debated passionately, regardless of how debatable it actually is. What's lowkey worse is that Chase Daniel, the 9-year NFL vet, got the same rating as Dax Raymond, the undrafted free agent. 

May We Remind You That Khalil Mack Is A Terrific Football Player 

Earlier in the month, Mack was revealed as one of the 4 players who received the infamous 99 rating. That means he's also the top-ranked LOLB, two points ahead of Denver's Von Miller and 16 points ahead of any NFC North LOLB. Enjoy those draft picks, Oakland! 

Akiem Hicks Gets Snubbed And Frankly We've Just About Had It 

Hicks was ranked as the 19th-best defensive lineman, which is just objectively untrue. In some alternate universe, there may be 18 better defensive linemen than Akiem Hicks, but that is just simply inaccurate in this one. He was heated about his rating, and we cannot blame him. 

The Lowest Ranked Bears Player Was ... 

Patrick Scales. Sorry Patrick Scales.

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

EA Sports released the full Madden 20 player ratings for every team in the NFL, and not everyone was happy with the numbers they received.

The Bears shared a video of backup quarterback Chase Daniel revealing ratings to his teammates, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks seemed the most upset of the group.

“Bring some of the scouts out here doing the madden ratings,” Hicks said. “Tell them to come see me.”

Hicks received an overall rating of 87, tied for fourth-highest on the team and 10th-highest among defensive ends.

He has the same rating as Green Bay Packers DE Mike Daniels and Detroit Lions DE Trey Flowers.

In the video, running back Tarik Cohen was disappointed with his 92 speed, which is tied for third-fastest on the team behind wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Emanuel Hall.

Cohen does lead the Bears with 97 agility and 92 elusiveness, but he thought his throwing power stat should be higher than 51 after his two career passing touchdowns.