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.

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20. 

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start from new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."