Bears LB Draft Preview: Offseason moves lower need level


Bears LB Draft Preview: Offseason moves lower need level Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2015 NFL Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what could be in store.

Bears pre-draft situation

No position group was addressed more aggressively by the Bears this offseason than linebacker in what will be the team’s iteration of a 3-4 scheme, as directed by new coordinator Vic Fangio. The priority signing was former rush linebacker Pernell McPhee from the Baltimore Ravens, with the Bears subsequently adding Mason Foster from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Sam Acho from the Arizona Cardinals.

Along with that, GM Ryan Pace said that Lamarr Houston, recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL, is ticketed for linebacker after spending his Bears’ half-season at left defensive end.

[DRAFT PREVIEW: OL Rebound in 2015 a must but not via draft]

All of these moves come on top of three drafts by former GM Phil Emery that brought in linebackers Jonathan Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Shea McClellin.

Bears draft priority: Moderate

Pace, Fox and anyone in the NFL know the value of and priority placed on pass rushers. The change to a 3-4 simply shifted that priority from the linemen to the linebackers, and the Bears reflected that in their aggressive work to add linebackers (Acho, Foster, McPhee).

Notably, those moves make a strong secondary statement about the questionable results of the drafts that included McClellin in the 2012 first round, and Bostic and Greene in the 2013 second and fourth. None of the draft picks established themselves as impact linebackers regardless of scheme or specific position.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans]

Regardless of the offseason additions in the position group, however, the priority placed on pass rushers effectively sets the need level permanently at “moderate.” Fox and Pace come from organizations that built strong pass rushes.

Keep an eye on...

Vic Beasley, ClemsonWith 25 sacks over his past two seasons, Beasley flashed at the Combine as well.

Alvin "Bud" Dupree, KentuckyHas size (6-foot-4, 269 lbs.) and speed (4.56) that could be a find at No. 7 of round 2.

Lorenzo Mauldin, LouisvilleA pass rusher who won’t go high in the first round but has the length (6-foot-4) that Bears prefer.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins


Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.