Bears

Moon's Mini-Mock NFL Draft 4.0: Staying on Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson

Moon's Mini-Mock NFL Draft 4.0: Staying on Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson

The Bears think enough of Leonard Floyd to bring the Georgia rush linebacker to Halas Hall for a pre-draft visit. The problem is that Floyd was on the guest lists of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Giants GM Jerry Reese, player evaluation VP Marc Ross and new linebackers' coach Bill McGovern made a group road trip to see Floyd work out.

All three of those teams draft ahead of the Bears, who may need to go against their preference and trade up if they hope to land the player rated as perhaps the best future pass rusher in the 2016 draft.

“I just think he has a chance to be more productive in the NFL than he was even in college,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. “I think for a 3-4 team in Chicago, that would be a really good fit.”

Coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio undoubtedly feel the same; their respective defensive successes at Carolina, Denver and San Francisco turned on edge pass rushers.

But chances are that Floyd does not last past the Giants at No. 10, even after the Giants stunned the market with an $85 million contract for Olivier Vernon as a foundation for their pass rush. As Chris Pflum at SBNation noted, Reese makes only occasional visits to Pro Days but when he does, it usually points to real interest. Reese went to LSU’s 2014 Pro Day and used his No. 1 for wideout Odell Beckham. In 2015, he attended Miami’s and then took Hurricane tackle Ereck Flowers with his No. 1.

With all that said, Mini-Mock is holding to the A’Shawn Robinson selection for the Bears at No. 11. Robinson has not been the subject of intense buzz around the NFL but is a young (21) force at a specific position of need for the Bears, that of defensive end in their base 3-4.

Moon's Mini-Mock NFL Draft

1. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California

Comment: Teams make deals like Rams’ trade-up only for a QB. Exactly which one Rams will grab – Goff or Wentz – is TBD but Goff considered more pro-ready. California connection won’t hurt Rams’ PR work.

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Comment: Someone was going to deal up for “the other QB” and it was Philly, who appear to have knowledge of what the Rams intend at No. 1. Wentz will have time to develop behind Sam Bradford, per Eagles GM.

3.  San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State

Comment: Strong possibility this pick gets traded just like the first two. If not, ‘Bolts signed Casey Heyward away from Green Bay, but Ramsey is elite and could start at any of 4 DB spots. True best-available and could be trade-up target for Baltimore in particular.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Comment: Tony Romo is 36 but ‘Boys crave pass rush desperately (Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory issues) Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan radio: "Ultimately we want to find a dominant type of pass rusher.” Bosa plays with an edge that fits Jerry Jones pattern.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Comment: Look for OSU RB Ezekiel Elliott dropping. Jags had Jack in for pre-draft visit, followed by coach and GM flying to LA for meeting last Saturday. Concerns over knee status seem to be allayed.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, T, Mississippi  

Comment: Titans will likely take OT back at No. 15 but Tunsil a quality addition to protect Joe Flacco better and after Ravens lost Kelechi Osemele in free agency. Ravens targeting DB and are in discussions over Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves III.

7. San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Comment: Chip Kelly can’t get his franchise QB here and Trent Baalke doesn’t want to mortgage future trading up. Kelly recruited Buckner to Oregon. Connor Cook could be surprise pick here if 49ers have a high enough grade.

8. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Comment: Many options here for a bad Browns team that can’t help but draft for “need” somewhere. OT to succeed Joe Thomas a better call here but Browns are not going to help RGIII if Isaiah Crowell (706 rush yards) is their top back. But after the Trent Richardson fiasco at No. 3 in ’13, would Browns go RB this high again? In-state star Elliott would be popular, plus productive (1,800+ yards each of last two seasons and 6.7 ypc for career). But Browns have abysmal record drafting skill high (Richardson, Manziel, Weeden) last 10 years.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida  

Comment: Mini-run on DB’s? Brent Grimes settles one CB spot but Hargreaves best-available if Bucs don’t grab ‘Bama’s DT Robinson or go OL with Jack Conklin or Ronnie Stanley.

10. New York Giants: Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia

Comment: Bears would’ve loved Floyd falling to them but Giants have tradition of keeping pass rush at top levels, signing Olivier Vernon this offseason while losing Robert Ayers. Floyd gets call over OT.

11. BEARS: A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

Comment: Leonard Floyd and Shaq Lawson are fits as edge rushers but MMM (“Moon Mini-Mock”) is staying with the ideal fit and best-available for the open five-technique spot in Bears’ base 3-4.

12. New Orleans Saints: Shaq Lawson, DE/LB, Clemson

Comment: Lawson is getting increased play and scrutiny and production trumps all. Saints need defense, Lawson upgrades edge play, and DT draft depth has talent in round 2.

13. Miami Dolphins: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Comment: Dolphins want DB help and could target MacKensie Alexander out of Clemson or Vernon Hargreaves if he falls, but dominating D-linemen are prized. The wild card is new coach Adam Gase; will he want more at RB for a balanced offense?

14. Oakland Raiders: MacKensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Comment: Best-available DB likely heads to Oakland and Raiduhs have history of draft surprises.

15. Tennessee Titans: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Comment: Stanley or Jack Conklin a bargain here, and Titans want help blocking for Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray. Made deal with Rams knowing OT help available outside Top 10.

How some others see the Bears pick:

Leonard Floyd, LB/DE, Georgia (Don Banks, Sports Illustrated; Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com; Todd McShay, ESPN; Pete Prisco, CBS Sports)

William Jackson III, CB, Houston (Aaron Lemming, Bear Report/Scout.com)

Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM; Ike Taylor, NFL Media analyst)

A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Jim Miller, Comcast SportsNet/Sirius Radio; Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune; Charlie Casserly and Lance Zierlein, NFL.com; Hub Arkush, Pro Football Weekly)

Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama (Will Brinson and Rob Rang, CBS Sports)

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (Mel Kiper, ESPN; Dane Brugler, CBS Sports; Charles Davis, NFL.com; Pat Kirwan, Sirius Radio)

Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame (Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated)

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida (Charlie Campbell, Walter Football; Matt Miller, Bleacher Report)

DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Lester Wiltfong Jr., Windy City Gridiron/SB Nation)

Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Cris Collinsworth, NBC)

Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Michelle Bruton, Bleacher Report)

Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Matt Miller, Bleacher Report)

Remaining first round order:

16. Detroit Lions
17. Atlanta Falcons
18. Indianapolis
19. Buffalo
20. N.Y. Jets
21. Washington
22. Houston
23. Minnesota
24. Cincinnati
25. Pittsburgh
26. Seattle
27. Green Bay
28. Kansas City
29. Arizona
30. Carolina
31. Denver

(Note: New England forfeited first-round pick)

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

5-27dionsims.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”

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

bearsfans.png
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.