Bears

J.T. Thomas draft capsule

J.T. Thomas draft capsule

J.T. Thomas, Linebacker
Height: 6-2 Weight: 225 College: West Suburban
What they say about Thomas

CBSSports.com

Overview

Thomas' career nearly ended the way it began -- accompanied by injury. Two games into his true freshman season, a lingering ankle sprain earned him a medical redshirt. Then, during summer camp before his senior year, he succumbed to a minor neck ailment. But Thomas came back quickly to earn first-team All-Big East accolades this fall, making 73 tackles, seven for loss, 2.5 sacks, four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

In between his first and final seasons, Thomas played in all but three games, bringing home multiple team honors for his hard work and high effort during practice and on Saturdays. He started all 13 games for the Mountaineers as a junior, racking up 76 tackles and seven passes defended. Those marks helped him earn coaches' vote on their all-conference first team.

The productive linebacker has his work cut out for him to become an NFL starter. He's an intense player with natural athleticism but his lack of size and marginal instincts make a him a mid-to-late round prospect likely forced to settle for a special teams role, at least early in his career.
Analysis

Positives: A high-motor, full-effort linebacker who will throw himself into contact with reckless abandon. Flies around the field and uses above-average athleticism to recover from mistakes and track down ball carriers from the backside. Takes smart angles to the football and wraps up on contact, making sure tackles to prevent additional yards after the catch. Is relentless fighting off blocks and never gives up on a play. Has some natural fluidity and smoothness in his hips and possesses above-average straight-line speed. Shows the ability to sidestep blockers and can get upfield in a hurry when asked to rush the passer.

Negatives: Has loads of experience, but has not honed his instincts through extended playing time. Often misdiagnoses plays and flies up to defend the run on play-action passes. Will get caught peeking into the backfield or incorrectly anticipating routes. Loses control and has a habit of running himself out of the play while looking for the highlight hit. Is undersized and does not possess the frame to add weight without sacrificing speed. Can be washed at the point of attack by stronger blockers and often allows offensive linemen into his frame. Gets lost in zone coverage consistently and guesses all too often instead of making reads and watching runpass keys. Has a slight injury history and violent style of play will only lead to more ailments at his current build.
Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Prepped in Florida before redshirting in 2006 was bothered by an ankle sprain, though did earn Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year recognition. Arrested in August 07 for transferring and receiving stolen property (laptop), although charges were dropped upon completion of a diversion program. A reserve in the fall, tallied 19 tackles, three for loss and zero sacks in 10 games. Started all 39 games at weak-side linebacker his final three seasons totaled 65-10-3 with three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick in 08; tallied 76-7- with five pass breakups and two interceptions in 09; had 73-7-2 with four pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 10. Dealt with neck pain during 10 spring practice and fall camp. Team captain.

Positives: Good speed, athletic ability and hip flexibility. Nice agility to slip and avoid blocks. Chases hard and ranges to the sideline. Good coverage instincts blankets a lot of ground. Tough, blue-collar worker who will play hurt. Vocal on-field leader. Durable, three-year starter with special-teams experience. Good work ethic.

Negatives: Has very short arms and marginal take-on strength. Lacks bulk strength and struggles to provide resistance against the run engulfed by larger blockers. Not explosive. Average change of direction and closing burst. Recorded only a 30-inch vertical jump, the lowest of any outside linebacker at the Combine. Character needs to be evaluated.

Summary: Average-sized, athletic, run-and-hit weak-side linebacker who would be best protected and free to roam in a fast-flowing 40 front. Will have to prove his worth on special teams.

NFL projection: Priority free agent.

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

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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."