Various pundits decried the state of the offensive line and the need to upgrade a group that blocked for 2,015 rushing yards and three different 100-yard rushers in 2011.The Bears didnt see it that way. Not in the first round. Not in the second round. Not even in the third round, where they chose a safety (Brandon Hardin) who missed 2011 with a shoulder injury.Indeed, the Bears opted for special teams and depth at safety over a possible upgrade on the offensive line.They could have gone for quality on the offensive line in the first round, or the second round. Because only one guard and one tackle were selected inRound 3and neither of those until 12 picks after the Bears, its simply possible that they did not have anyone rated worth the third round.But the Bears could have gone for help at either tackle: Iowas Reilly Reiff (No. 23 to Detroit), Mitchell Schwartz from Cal (Round 2, 37th overall to Cleveland), Cordy Glenn from Georgia (41st overall to Buffalo), Jonathan Martin from Stanford (42nd to Miami) and Jeff Allen from Illinois (44th to Kansas City);Or guard: Stanford guard David DeCastro (No. 24 to Pittsburgh) or Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State (40th to Carolina).But the Bears went for Alshon Jeffery in the second round in part because they just arent panicked over left tackle or anywhere else up front.Again, we talked a little bit about the O-line and we feel good about our group,general managerPhil Emery reiterated. Obviously we want to continue to improve. We dont feel like were finished at any position but this was the best player on our board and this person added another dynamic playmaker to us that presented problems for our opponents.
The Detroit Lions didn't gain any new fans after their questionable practice session (North team) on Day 1 of the 2020 Senior Bowl, but despite a lot of time warming up and working against air, there were a few prospect performances worth noting.
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love was the headliner, showing off his cannon of an arm in what was a clear display of starting-quarterback talent. Compared to fellow North team quarterbacks Shea Patterson (Michigan) and Anthony Gordon (Washington State), Love looked like the only quarterback who's capable of succeeding in the NFL. It wasn't even close.
Love has an effortless throwing motion. His passes are crisp, accurate and on a rope. Was he perfect? No. But he had the most impressive arm of the day. His first-round hype is very real and will only continue to build momentum as the week goes on.
As for Patterson and Gordon? Bears fans need to temper their excitement for both of them. Patterson's quirky throwing motion looks labored and forced while Gordon's slight frame and underwhelming arm strength scream backup at best.
Tight end Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) had a quiet first practice. His opportunities to make plays were limited. But he'll need a strong finish to the week to maintain his standing as the top tight end at the Senior Bowl.
One player Bears fans should highlight as a name to watch is Michigan offensive lineman Ben Bredeson. He looked the part on Tuesday. He has strong hands and the kind of powerful playing style that tends to lead to success in the NFL. He showed pretty good feet, too. He has a chance to rise up the board if he stacks two more positive practices together.
On the defensive side of the ball, Syracuse edge rusher Alton Robinson flashed in drills. He showed a good first step and violent hands at the point of attack. He won several reps with ease. The Bears have to add pass-rush help in the middle rounds, and Robinson looks like a quality prospect worth keeping an eye on.
Ohio State defensive lineman Davon Hamilton had a nice day, too. He was almost unblockable at times and practiced with a level of intensity that scouts are certain to like. While not a need in Chicago, Hamilton looks like a player whose value could trump need come draft day.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, a prospect pegged as a potential option for the Bears in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, struggled in his first Senior Bowl practice of the week, failing to throw with consistency or accuracy when targeting his South squad receivers.
This isn't an uncommon occurrence for quarterbacks participating in the Senior Bowl. It could take a few practices to develop rhythm and timing with a completely new set of pass-catchers, but there was a marked difference in Hurts' ball placement compared to fellow South team quarterback, Oregon's Justin Herbert.
Herbert is projected to be a top-10 pick, and while his footwork in bag drills didn't look anything remotely close to that high of a grade, his arm talent was (for the most part) on display throughout the practice.
The Bears' biggest draft needs center around tight end and offensive line, and there were a few obvious standouts from those position groups.
LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan was the most fluid and explosive route-runner on the South team which includes the likes of Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) and Harrison Bryant (FAU). His wide receiver background was evident; he created easy separation and flashed the kind of downfield speed that will be an asset in the NFL.
Pinkney, on the other hand, really struggled. He looked heavy-footed and forced his quarterback to make tight-window throws. It wasn't a great start for him.
One of the really interesting names to monitor over the next few days is Ben Bartch, the Saint John's offensive lineman who's making one of the biggest jumps in competition among all of this year's Senior Bowl participants. You wouldn't know it by how he performed on Tuesday, however. He was quick out of his stance, showed strong hands and a powerful base. He's going to be a riser from this game.
The best player on the field, bar none, was South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. He has a chance to jump into the top-10 with a strong week of practice, and if his first session was any indication of how this week is going to go, his stock is going to skyrocket. He was unblockable, including several reps where he bullied potential Bears target John Simpson (guard, Clemson) in one-on-ones.