Bears

Bears looking beyond rookies for defensive boost

Bears looking beyond rookies for defensive boost

With only one 2017 draft choice spent on defense, and that player — Alabama safety Eddie Jackson, fourth round — being held out as part of rehab from a broken leg suffered last October, the defensive report on this weekend’s rookie minicamp would be ... well ... maybe later.

More to the bigger Bears point than the influx of rookies is the virtual tsunami of veteran players that point to likely no fewer than six new starters from the lineup that finished the 2016 season.

The number might have been as high as seven but middle linebacker Danny Trevathan’s return from a ruptured patellar tendon, suffered in the Nov. 27 loss to the Tennessee Titans, is problematic at this point.

“I think that's in question whether he'll be ready [by training camp] at that point,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.

But the defense, which stumbled badly when nose tackle Eddie Goldman was out with an ankle injury, has added two starting cornerbacks – Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper — plus a starting safety – Quintin Demps — and added mass on the defensive line with Jaye Howard and John Jenkins.

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The key, however, projects to be Leonard Floyd, whose otherwise standout rookie season (7 sacks) was hampered by two concussions and a total of four missed games.

“He’s got a foundation of a year behind him, and he was only available about half the time last year,” Fangio said. “He had a bunch of those little injuries that interrupted his progress throughout the season. Hopefully with the year under his belt, getting in better shape, better condition, and take off. If he stays healthy, I feel good about him.

“He had a nice stretch there. I don’t remember the exact games, maybe it was like Game 9-12 where he was practicing and playing and you could see him coming. Then he got dinged twice in the last two games, or the last four games and it interrupted again.”

The Bears did not pick up the fifth-year option on cornerback Kyle Fuller, a distinct longshot after missing all of 2016 with a knee injury and clearly not a favorite of this coaching staff. But Fangio is declaring “competition,” which could give Fuller a shot at restarting a career that has faltered badly.

“Absolutely, I mean, it's wide open,” Fangio said. “I hope to see Kyle healthy and out there running around. Moving like he's 100 percent, and we'll go from there.”

Bears dubbed NFL's most underrated team

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USA Today

Bears dubbed NFL's most underrated team

It's been a long time since the Chicago Bears were relevant. And while they haven't played a single snap of the 2018 season yet, it appears the team constructed by GM Ryan Pace is ready to compete for a playoff spot in December.

At least, that's what longtime NFL writer Mike Tanier thinks after suggesting the Bears are the league's most underrated team and this year's version of the Philadelphia Eagles:

The Bears' secret weapon this season will be offensive innovation. In a league that cannot wait to give Brian Schottenheimer and Norv Turner types seventh or eighth chances to prove they can produce 20th-ranked offenses, the Bears will gene-splice Doug Pederson brood mate Matt Nagy with Chip Kelly disciple Mark Helfrich to transform Mitchell Trubisky into Carson Wentz and out-Eagles the Eagles.

Expectations don't get much higher than that. The Eagles, in case you've forgotten, enjoyed a miraculous Super Bowl run last year thanks to second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and an offensive-minded head coach from the same coaching tree as Matt Nagy. Chicago could certainly enjoy a similar uptick in offensive production, but whether a more dynamic offense leads to an increase in wins is hard to predict.

The Bears play in a much more competitive division than the Eagles did last year, especially with the Cowboys' regression and the Giants downright awful season. Chicago will face three top-tier quarterbacks in the NFC North with two teams, the Packers and Vikings, potential Super Bowl contenders.

Are the Bears underrated? Yes, it seems they are. And yes, they should outplay expectations this year. However, fans should take a step back and realize it will take time -- maybe a season or two -- before the combination of Trubisky and Nagy are ready to take off.

Where are Bears skill players being selected in fantasy football drafts?

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USA Today

Where are Bears skill players being selected in fantasy football drafts?

For fantasy football players planning their annual summer draft strategy, reviewing a player's average draft position (the average draft slot where a player is being selected in fantasy drafts across the country) is a great place to start.

It's also a great place to look to gauge the national opinion of the Bears' skill players on offense. For example, Todd Gurley, the Rams' feature running back, currently sits atop fantasy draft boards with an ADP of No. 1 overall. Le'Veon Bell is second, and Dallas' third-year runner, Ezekiel Elliott, is third. Essentially, they're considered three of the best -- if not THE best -- running backs in the NFL by fans.

So where do guys like Jordan Howard, Allen Robinson and Mitch Trubisky rank? Let's take a look.

Note: Average draft positions are from Fantasy Pros.

Jordan Howard:  ADP = 25 (RB15)

Players ahead of Howard include Bengals second-year back Joe Mixon, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Packers receiver Davante Adams. Call it a hunch, but Howard will outproduce this ADP.

Allen Robinson: ADP = 42 (WR17)

Robinson trails players like Josh Gordon, Doug Baldwin and Stefon Diggs on draft boards. This seems fair with Robinson coming off a torn ACL.

Mitch Trubisky: ADP = 168 (QB26)

Trubisky has a chance to be one of this year's fantasy football league-winners if he quickly takes to Matt Nagy's offense. He's being criminally underrated in fantasy circles.

Tarik Cohen: ADP = 77 (RB32)

Unless Cohen becomes the Bears' feature back, which is a long shot, this ADP and overall ranking seem about right. The only way he makes a jump up fantasy rankings is if the Bears use him like the Saints used Alvin Kamara, with similar results.

Trey Burton: ADP = 94 (TE9)

Burton is one of the Bears' favorites among fantasy GMs. He's expected to become Chicago's Travis Kelce this season. If he does, he'll be a fantasy star.

Anthony Miller: ADP = 206 (WR65)

Fantasy players like Miller the most of all receivers opposite Robinson this season. He's got a chance to prove them right with his blend of inside and outside receiver traits.

Taylor Gabriel: ADP 357 (WR110)

Yikes. Gabriel is essentially undraftable in fantasy leagues this season, according to this ADP. No one is suggesting Gabriel will be the next coming of Tyreek Hill, but this seems awfully low.

Kevin White: ADP 328 (WR105)

White has a slightly higher upside in the opinion of fantasy owners than Gabriel, but he's still nothing more than free agency fodder at this point in summer drafts.