Bud Dupree over Vic Beasley for Bears at No. 7?


Bud Dupree over Vic Beasley for Bears at No. 7?

The choice of the Bears at No. 7 in the first and second rounds of the 2015 draft will remain largely speculative until Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dick Butkus announce the picks. But just as the Bears are going through their final analyses of players, trade offers and other variables, takes a quick look at one of the priority areas for the Bears as well:

The Bears are still committed to developing an elite defense and pass rush. Two leading prospects are considered to be Vic Beasley from Clemson and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree. Beasley was the initial mock-draft conclusion but general manager Ryan Pace’s thoughts make Beasley-Dupree something of a coin-toss.

[MORE: Bears content with draft options at No. 7 but still willing to move]

Both were hugely productive pass rushers, Beasley collecting 33 career sacks, Dupree 23. Both appear to be solid character individuals. Both delivered impressive, near-identical times in the 40-yard dash and impressive strength indicators.

But Dupree’s 4.56 “40” time was at 269 pounds. Beasley’s 4.53 was at 246 pounds, and that was with muscle added in the offseason. Possibly more significantly, Dupree is 6-4; Beasley is 6-3. The latter is tall enough — offseason priority signing Pernell McPhee is 6-3, as is other rush linebacker Sam Acho.

So that’s tall enough, but Pace twice has stated the value he places on length.

“Length is important,” Pace said as recently as Wednesday. “Now, some guys are able to get away with it, like the [Dwight] Freeneys of the world or the Robert Mathises, because they’ve got such great get-off and edge quickness and ability to bend.

“But for the most part, length is important. I think we talked about that with Pernell McPhee. I think his length really helps him as a pass rusher.”

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McPhee is 280 pounds. Acho is 257. Dupree has length and mass over Beasley, something the new Bears defense places more of a premium on than the 4-3 schemes of Lovie Smith and Mel Tucker, where no linebacker topped 250 pounds. Dupree projects as a stouter player holding the point vs. the run.

Two players with closely similar abilities? The one — Dupree — with 23 more pounds and an inch in height may fit the rush-linebacker/end template Pace, coach John Fox and coordinator Vic Fangio are using.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run


Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5


Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.