Bears

Jamal Adams argues why safeties deserve a top pick, could Bears think the same way too?

Jamal Adams argues why safeties deserve a top pick, could Bears think the same way too?

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 2017 NFL Draft class is loaded with defensive backs, which certainly is good news for a Bears team needing a boost to its secondary. 

What direction the Bears take in the draft will first be determined by free agency, which begins March 9 and features the likes of A.J. Bouye (cornerback from Houston), Stephone Gilmore (cornerback from Buffalo) and Tony Jefferson (safety from Arizona). But whatever direction the Bears do take on the open market to address their secondary, it'll can also be augmented through the draft in April. 

The thought here is that a dependable starting cornerback or safety could be found as late as the third or even fourth round. But could the Bears' plan go beyond that depth and include drafting a safety with the team's highest draft pick in over 40 years?

LSU safety Jamal Adams doesn't see why not. 

"The game is changing," Adams said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "You need safeties that can do everything in the back end, can cover, can make the calls, can tackle and just doing what the coaches are asking them to do." 

Finding a transformational talent is the goal when a team is picking in the top five, but generally speaking, those players usually come from one of three positions: Quarterback, tackle and edge rusher/defensive end. And that makes sense: Teams generally look for a quarterback, someone to protect a quarterback or someone to disrupt an opposing quarterback. Only seventeen of the last 50 top-five picks have come from positions other than QB/T/EDGE/DE (a number which includes menacing defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh, Marcell Dareus and Gerald McCoy). 

But one of the things Bears coach John Fox said he wants out of a quarterback (someone who "raises all boats") could apply to a safety, too. If someone with the pure talent and football skill of Adams or Ohio State's Malik Hooker (who isn't participating in on-field drills due to surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a sports hernia) were able to raise the level of play of everyone around him at Halas Hall, that could make them worthy of such a high pick. 

So if the Bears leave Indianapolis blown away by Adams or Hooker, and that player is at the top of their big board and available at No. 3, why not go with him?

"I definitely feel like I should be the No. 1 pick," Adams said. "Top five, that's definitely in the range."

There are no certainties yet, but the Bears are 'cautiously optimistic' that Mitch Trubisky will return this Sunday

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USA Today

There are no certainties yet, but the Bears are 'cautiously optimistic' that Mitch Trubisky will return this Sunday

The Bears won’t definitively say whether quarterback Mitch Trubisky will return for Sunday’s game against New Orleans, but, to borrow one of Matt Nagy’s favorite deflections, his arrow seems to be pointing in the right direction.

“I feel good that he’ll be able to practice the whole way, and have a good practice,” Nagy said. “His deal is going to be more a day-by-day deal –– let’s see exactly. Every day that goes by, was that a good day? Was that a bad day? Talk through it and see how he feels, see what the trainers say, where we as coaches think he’s at. And mentally, too. All that’s a part of this thing.”

Wednesday will be the first day that the Bears release a post-practice injury report. Trubisky returned to his throwing regiment on Monday and wasn’t limited with any sort of pitch count. He’ll be a full-go in practice, and feels confident that his left shoulder is close to feeling 100%. Trubisky (/Bears PR) brushed off the line of questioning when an official diagnosis was asked for, but his left shoulder, as reported, was dislocated.

“Yeah, it went back in,” he said. “It's a weird feeling – it's not good.”

Trubisky and the Bears were pretty confident off the bat that the injury wasn’t season-ending. Going forward, he’ll wear a protective brace on the shoulder, and the team plans to spend this week assessing his pain tolerance.

“Obviously I haven't gotten hit since then, and there always is some pain tolerance involved,” Trubisky added. “I mean, this is football. So you've just got to figure it out throughout the course of the week I guess. There are some ways we simulate getting hit –– either with the pads or going through certain drills with the trainers –– to try to get you as ready as possible and to make sure I can go out and do the job the way I know I can.”

The harness he’ll wear is similar to what wide receiver Taylor Gabriel had been using to protect a shoulder that was dislocated at multiple points last season. Gabriel actually cut off the brace during halftime of the Bears game in London because he was frustrated with how much it limited his pass catching. Still, the two have spent some time talking about what to expect.

“Mine’s a little different because I don’t need to necessarily catch,” Trubisky said. “But I’ve got to make sure I’ll be able to catch all the snap radius’ if something happens with that. I’ve been practicing everything that you could pretty much simulate with the trainers as much as you can to make sure I could go out there and do what my team needs me to do.”

For now, the public-facing message coming out of Halas Hall is that Trubisky and backup Chase Daniel will be splitting reps with the 1’s all week. And even though the Nagy-era Bears have always practiced excess precaution with injuries, there's an undeniable optimism in the building.

“I always say ‘cautiously optimistic’,” Nagy said. “I feel good about it, but we’re preparing with both right now. The thing with Chase is that we know he’s been in this role before. If it ends up being him, then it’s the same mojo.”

Which Saints player would you want on the Bears?

Which Saints player would you want on the Bears?

The Chicago Bears have a tough test ahead of them Sunday at home against the 5-1 New Orleans Saints. Not only is New Orleans rolling on offense, even without QB Drew Brees in the lineup, but their defense has ascended into near-elite territory over the last few games.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to NFL fans, either. The Saints are overflowing with talent on both sides of the ball and there are several players who would represent an upgrade on the Bears.

Let's start on offense, where the obvious pick is Brees. But since he won't take the field in Week 7, we'll look elsewhere. 

Running back Alvin Kamara is about as dynamic as it gets at the position in 2019. He offers an equally lethal skill set as a runner and receiver with the kind of contact balance and burst to flip the field in one play. Imagine him working in Matt Nagy's offense? Scary.

There's also wide receiver Michael Thomas, who may just be the game's best all-around player at the position. He can beat defensive backs on all three levels of the passing game and is off to an incredible start to the season with 53 catches, 632 yards and three touchdowns. I'll do the math for you: those numbers equate to a 141-catch, 1,685-yard season. Yup. He's going to be a tough assignment for cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara.

New Orleans' offense isn't limited to just talent at the skill positions, either. Tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk are two of their four highest-graded players on offense, per Pro Football Focus, and each would represent a potential upgrade over Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie. Armstead and Ramczyk each rank in PFF's top 15 at offensive tackle in 2019, while Leno, Jr. and Massie are both outside of the top 50.

On the defensive side of the ball, it's hard to find a player who the Bears would prefer over a current starter, but one candidate is cornerback Marshon Lattimore. 

Lattimore hasn't been great this season, but his incredible blend of long speed and ability to change directions quickly established him as one of the league's most talented cornerbacks during his rookie season. It's a volatile position where players go through peaks and valleys during their careers, but Lattimore's physical gifts are borderline rare.

Cameron Jordan, the Saints' premier edge rusher and most recognizable name on the defense, would be enticing as well. He leads the team with five sacks and has accumulated 31 pressures over six games, proof that he's a handful for opposing offensive linemen. He wouldn't be a perfect scheme fit for the Bears, but lining him up opposite Khalil Mack would be fun to watch (to say the least).

This is a tough call. What say you? Head over to Twitter and share your thoughts here.