Bears

Bears select West Virginia LB Thomas in Round 6

Bears select West Virginia LB Thomas in Round 6

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 3:47 p.m. Updated: 6:00 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

J.T. Thomas draft capsule

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The Bears 2011 draft came to a quiet close with their selection of West Virginia linebacker J.T. Thomas in the sixth round, the 195th pick overall.

Thomas, 6-1, 241 pounds, started 13 games in each of his last three Mountaineers seasons after working as reserve in 10 games his freshman year. He will need to be a solid contributor on special teams although, GM Jerry Angelo and the Bears liked that Thomas comes with options.

He fits us perfectly, can play all three positions, Angelo said. He played multi-roles there at West Virginia. We spent a lot of time on him, saw him at an All-Star game. He got hurt during that practice week, but we feel very, very good about his fit and picking up a linebacker was a goal today and he was the right one.

That would be an important step up.

The Bears behind Jerry Angelo have fared very poorly drafting linebackers other than picking Lance Briggs in the third round of the 2003 draft. One linebacker was selected in every draft from 2002 to 2009, a list comprised of Bryan Knight (2002, 5th round), Joe Odom (2003, 6th), Leon Joe (2004, 4th), Rod Wilson (2005, 7th), Jamar Williams (2006, 4th), Michael Okwo (2007, 3rd), Joey LaRoque (2008, 5th) and Marcus Freeman (2009, 5th).

Wilson made the team initially, was cut but returned and finished last season with the Bears. Williams gave the Bears several respectable seasons as a backup before being traded. But the Bears have gotten virtually nothing of consequence from multiple attempts to find a linebacker in the mid- to late rounds of their drafts.

But Thomas may be a better fit than some of his unsuccessful predecessors.

"Its the same defense that I played in at West Virginia, the same mentality, very aggressive, Thomas said. Ill also be playing alongside one of my best high school friends, Joshua Moore cornerback, drafted fifth round last year as well. It will definitely be fun and Im very excited.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

The Bears are one of the first teams mentioned when speculation about where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could play in 2020. The Bears are the most quarterback-needy club that also has a chance to make a Super Bowl run with a player like Brady under center, so it's logical to assume the soon-to-be free agent will at least entertain the idea of playing home games at Soldier Field next year.

Much of what happens with Brady will come down to how the Patriots view the 42-year-old (he'll be 43 at the start of next season). If all things are equal, and New England makes him a fair offer to come back, it's likely Brady would return to the only franchise he's ever played for. And if owner Robert Kraft's recent comments are sincere, it's more than likely that he will.

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Kraft, who was in New York City on Tuesday, was asked by TMZ reporters whether the Patriots will re-sign Brady this offseason. His response? 

"We plan to," Kraft said.

Well, there you have it, right? If the Patriots plan to re-sign Brady, then the Patriots are going to re-sign Brady; assuming, of course, you believe what Kraft is saying in January before New England's decision-makers have had enough time to assess their quarterback situation with, and maybe without, No. 12 under center.

Brady is coming off of one of his worst seasons as a pro, which is saying something considering he's been playing for two decades. His completion percentage was the lowest it's been in six years, his yardage total was the second-lowest in the last 10 years, and his 24 touchdown passes were the fewest he's thrown in a season since 2006. 

It's natural to wonder whether Father Time has finally caught up to him. Maybe, however, his down year was a result of lacking talent at wide receiver and tight end. Regardless of the reason, his 2019 campaign has called into question where he'll be in 2020.

But there are those three words Kraft said — 'we plan to' — that can't be ignored. At the very least, Bears fans can't get their hopes up. The Patriots tend to get what they want, and if they want Brady back in 2020, they'll have him.

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Add Dayton tight end Adam Trautman  to the growing list of tight ends the Bears have met with at the 2020 Senior Bowl.

After confirming Purdue's Brycen Hopkins and Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney spent time with Bears scouts (in the case of Pinkney, nearly 35 minutes), Trautman told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that Chicago's scouts have expressed a strong interest in his skill set.

"They're interested in me," Trautman said of the Bears. "They tell me they like what they see."

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of 2020 NFL offseason

Trautman had one of the best lines of the week when he said he prefers driving opposing defenders into the ground against their will over scoring touchdowns, and at a well-built 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, he has the perfect physical makeup to project as a guy who will do that on the next level. He needs development in that area of his game (run blocker), but his 'want-to' is half the battle.

Trautman wasn't the best tight end this week, but he was far from the worst. He's been consistent, and for a team like the Bears who are searching for a tight end who can be relied on as a second-level target for whoever is playing quarterback in Matt Nagy's offense, Trautman's consistency will be viewed as a plus.

Trautman had 916 yards and 14 touchdowns for Dayton in 2019. Scouts wanted to see whether he could handle the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl, and he's answered that question with a resounding yes.

He projects as a Day 3 pick with upside to develop into a starting quality tight end.