Bears need more from '4’s' in drafts after recent misses


Bears need more from '4’s' in drafts after recent misses

The Bears’ release of linebacker Khaseem Greene on Monday after two undistinguished seasons was no surprise even against the backdrop of their change to a 3-4 defense and its increased job opportunities for linebackers.

But Greene’s departure points to a pattern that GM Ryan Pace need to change, and appears to have to have taken a step toward doing just that.

Greene was Chicago's 2013 fourth-round draft choice. The year before, the Bears’ fourth-rounder was Evan Rodriguez, who contributed even less than Greene in his one season with the Bears. Last season the fourth-round pick was used on running back Ka’Deem Carey, who got on the field for just 100 of the Bears’ 1,005 plays and did not contribute even an assisted tackle on special teams. The Bears invested their 2015 fourth-round pick on running back Jeremy Langford from Michigan State, making Carey very much of a roster longshot in large part because of special-teams shortcomings.

[MORE BEARS: Bears waive LB Khaseem Greene, add QB Pat Devlin]

The Bears stayed on point with their draft-board ratings in selecting Langford. But the fact that the Bears regarded running back as a need does not bode well for Carey.

“We did have it as a need but honestly It was still best player and he was the best player on the board," Pace said. "That’s one of those situations where it kind of worked out hand in hand.”

Franchises do not typically turn on fourth-round draft choices. But the Green Bay Packers, for example, fashioned three-fifths of their offensive line (tackle David Bakhtiari, guards T.J. Lang and Pro Bowler Josh Sitton), one-third of their defensive line (right end Mike Daniels) and their nickel cornerback (Davon House) from fourth-round picks.

Prior to the Rodriguez-Greene-Carey run, the Bears had found Corey Wootton, Henry Melton, D.J. Moore and Craig Steltz in successive fourth rounds.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Get the latest Bears gear here]

Because of Le’Veon Bell on the Michigan State depth chart, Langford necessarily developed other skills in order to get on the field. Those other skills loom as tipping points and possible keys in reversing the fourth-round “slide.”

“When I was younger, it was a little frustrating playing DB and playing receiver,” Langford said. “I just wanted to find a home. I think in the long run, learning the whole offense and really reading defenses better, it helped in the long run.

“I played all special teams, so I can tackle.”

That would put him ahead of recent Bears No. 4’s.

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos

The Chicago Bears will reunite with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in Denver this summer, as word broke Monday that the Broncos will host the Bears for joint training camp practices in advance of their preseason game in August.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs confirmed the news on Twitter.

This is the second time Denver will welcome the Bears for training camp sessions. The two teams held joint practices back in 2018.

Training camp won't be the first time the Bears will see Fangio since his departure last offseason. Chicago pulled off a last-second victory over the Broncos in Week 2 of the 2019 season when kicker Eddy Pineiro booted a 53-yard game-winner with time expiring in the fourth quarter. His kick was set up by the clutch version of Mitch Trubisky, who connected on a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on the play before Pineiro's conversion.

Fangio left a lasting impact during his time as the Bears defensive coordinator that reached its peak in 2018 when Chicago was widely regarded as the most ferocious defense in the league. The Bears finished third in yards allowed per game and ended the season with the top run defense. Their 27 interceptions were tops in the NFL, too.

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

The 2020 NFL Combine will go a long way in determining the final draft grade for each of the 337 prospects participating in on-field drills. General managers and scouts want to see whether their athletic testing matches the traits noted on film. If a player runs faster than he plays, scouts will question his on-field instincts and overall football IQ. In the alternative, if he runs slower than he plays, questions about level of competition and the ability to 'win' on the NFL level will be raised.

But in order to understand whether or not a prospect is having a good performance, you first have to know what the NFL is looking for as its minimum time/result required for each position and drill.

NFL Hall-of-Fame executive Gil Brandt, one of the legendary draft minds in the sport, shared what has become the standard breakdown each team uses when assessing a player's 40 time, 3-cone drill, broad jump, vertical jump and more.

Check it out:

Keep this page bookmarked this week and refer back to this chart as your favorite Bears prospects try to run and jump their way to Chicago. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.