Bears

Draft Day 2: Bears have some enticing opportunities

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Draft Day 2: Bears have some enticing opportunities

Back when the draft was done over two days Rounds 1-3 on Saturday, 4-7 on Sunday teams looked forward to the overnight between the days. That was the time to inventory draft boards sometimes scrambled by day one events, and very often a gem had somehow slipped through.Alex Brown was such a nugget in 2002, a first-round talent whod drifted down for fuzzy reasons. So was Nathan Vasher in 2004. And Roosevelt Colvin and Warrick Holdman in 1999.The Bears hold the 18th pick of the second round, 50th overall. It will be up to GM Phil Emery and his staff to move on nuggets when the rounds start again Friday evening.Theres a couple different ways we can go in the second round, especially in the third, fourth and fifth rounds in terms of having flexibility the rest of the draft, Emery said. Getting a defensive end makes the rest of the scenario work for us the best possible way.The trade for Brandon Marshall and signings of Devin Thomas and Eric Weems dialed down urgency for addressing wide receiver. Running back Michael Bush, quarterback Jason Campbell andguard Chilo Rachal those and others gave the Bears quality veteran depth and allow the Bears to truly pursue a best player available.Wide receiverStephen Hill from Georgia Tech was the Combine sensation with his initial 40-yard dash time in the 4.2s. Some projections put him into the first round despite virtually no college production, in part because of a non-passing scheme.Hill rightly went nowhere in the first round. He will in the second, probably sooner rather than later.The same for Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina. LSUs Rueben Randle did not get a first-round phone call but should not have long to wait on Friday.Offensive linePerhaps the biggest surprise ofRound 1was the number of offensive linemen projected as possible No. 1s who are still on the board: tackles Mike Adams from Ohio State, Jonathan Martin from Stanford, guards Cordy Glenn from Georgia and Amini Silatolu, and Wisconsin center Peter Konz.Most were on the cusp of Round 1, arguably overrated by some analysts, but they do represent quality now in Round 2. The Bears selected McClellin because they had him rated higher than any of the available offensive linemen when their turn came at No. 19.That player McClellin was at that spot at that time and he was the highest rated player we had, Emery said.CornerbackNational Football Post draft analyst Wes Bunting said during the NFL Scouting Combine that cornerback is a value area of the draft class. Three went in the first 17 picks but Bunting concluded that starter-level cornerbacks would be available in rounds 2 and 3.Brandon Boykin from Georgia, Nebraskas Alfonzo Dennard and Trumaine Johnson from Montana are that group. Janoris Jenkins from North Alabama was rated a first-round talent but with off-field issues that have him off many boards entirely.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How much pressure is on Roquan Smith now that he is finally in the fold?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How much pressure is on Roquan Smith now that he is finally in the fold?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast David Haugh, Mark Gonzales and Leon Rogers join David Kaplan on the panel.

Roquan Smith’s holdout is over. How much pressure is on him now that the first round pick is finally in the fold?

Plus, the panel discusses how Joe Maddon can use grand slam hero David Bote down the stretch and if Tiger Woods is a lock to win a major in 2019.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

With Roquan Smith arriving, Bears gain major element of their present and future

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USA TODAY

With Roquan Smith arriving, Bears gain major element of their present and future

You knew it was going to get done. They always do. And Roquan Smith was going to be in a Bears uniform later rather than sooner because of contract issues. And now he reportedly is.

Smith now resumes the process of NFL orientation and acclimation that began with his rookie minicamp and continued through OTA’s and other workouts. Those are a long way from game speed, but the Georgia rookie linebacker is considered a long way from typical, so best guess is that he will arrive in Denver with his teammates at least in pretty good conditioning shape and actually a little healthier than quite of few of them, owing to having the good fortune of not playing two preseason games.

Now what?

Whether Smith plays Saturday in Denver against the Broncos is the question of the week. Given that he will have the better part of the week practicing against NFL competition, which, when you throw in off days and walk-throughs, is not a whole lot less than his teammates had prepping for the Hall of Fame game Aug. 2.

If Smith does not see the field in Denver, that would push back his first game action until Aug. 25 in Chicago against the Kansas City Chiefs, which is game three and the one starters play the most extensively in the preseason. Smith likely sits out the fourth game, against Buffalo, increasing the value of snaps in Denver next Saturday.

NBC Sports Chicago recently looked at prominent cases of Bears holdouts (Cedric Benson, Curtis Enis, McNown) and notable non-holdouts (Lance Briggs, Olin Kreutz, Charles Tillman, Brian Urlacher), with the clear conclusion that there is no demonstrable relationship longer-term between the success/lack of same of players who got contracts done on time and those who went through negotiating delays. Holdout players occasionally have injury issues but those, as in the cases of Benson, Enis and McNown, had less to do with the holdouts than ability shortcomings, or injuries unrelated to their holdouts.

The difficulty with fully understanding the current situation is that neither side has gone public with much in the way of detail, except the Bears dropping hints that they were giving in on a point that more than one player agent told NBC Sports Chicago never should have been there in the first place – the prospect of un-guaranteeing monies based on unspecified possible on-field situations. That allowed the Bears to claim a bit of the perceived PR high ground, with some immediate public reaction that now it was Smith’s turn to give in.

Regardless, no one really cares about all of that now. Notably, his teammates don’t particularly care. They know it’s a business, and Smith evinced none of the first-round repulsiveness that bugged teammates in the cases of Benson, Enis and McNown, who were all roundly disliked virtually from before the holdouts were resolved.

Smith has engendered none of that and now becomes a critical component of a defense in dire need of impact players. He has been projected as an obvious drop-in ahead of Nick Kwiatkoski and alongside Danny Trevathan, which suddenly gives the Bears more firepower at inside linebacker than they have had during the Vic Fangio regime, which has had to hope for health from Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman and even Kwiatkoski, none of whom have put together 16-game Bears seasons for various reasons.

The Bears have seen arrows pointing sharply upward for members of their 2018 draft class. James Daniels (No. 2A) is already challenging for a starting spot on the offensive line. Anthony Miller (No. 2B) has been hampered by injuries in the past few days but was arguably the standout wide receiver in camp. Bilal Nichols (No. 5) has worked into the defensive-line rotation. Kylie Fitts (No. 6) has shown flashes as an edge rusher. Javon Wims (No. 7) flashed against Baltimore. 

Now comes what the Bears hope to be the flagship of the draft class.