Bears

NFL Draft Profile: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy

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NFL Draft Profile: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of 200 prospects, including what the scouts around the league are saying and video interviews with each player.

Justin Hardy (WR), East Carolina

5’10” | 192 lbs.

2014 stats:

121 rec, 1494 yards, 10 TD

Projection:

3rd-4th round

What scouts are saying:

"Hardy consistently attacks his on-field responsibility with urgency and aggressiveness and he's a very reliable target. With more teams running the ball out of three-WR sets, some coordinators will see value in the way Hardy gets after run-blocking assignments. Hardy must prove that he has the quickness to get separation out of his breaks." - NFL.com's Lance Zierlein

"Not an elite speed player, but accelerates well with subtle quickness off the line of scrimmage to shake press. Intuitive target and finds soft coverages to exploit defenses. Excellent depth in his routes and works back to the ball, always trying to get open. Terrific job with body fakes to sell patterns. Quick footwork with concentration through the process, showing the ability to refocus on the move. Natural ballskills with sticky hands and a large catching radius, attacking the ball, not allowing it to come to him. Quick-thinker and has his next move figured out before the catch. Not content with just catching the ball and took advantage of catch-and-go designed plays in college. Tracks well with easy adjustments. Plays with urgency and competes on each snap, finishing runs and improvising when needed. High football intelligence. Heady and willing blocker and more than adequate in this area. Primary punt return duties the last three seasons (63/495/7.9). Soft-spoken, but confident and always trying to prove himself. Consistent workmanlike effort with meticulous practice habits. The most productive receiver in FBS history with a record 387 career catches and his 4,541 receiving yards ranks third all-time in FBS history." - CBS Sports' Dane Brugler

Fit for the Bears:

In a draft that is loaded with talent at receiver, Hardy hasn't gotten a lot of publicity. But the former East Carolina star posted big numbers in 2014 and could be a steal in the middle rounds for the Bears. While he doesn't have elite size or speed, Hardy is reliable and runs great routes. He could compete for the outside spot opposite of Alshon Jeffery in 2015 and make an impact right away. If the Bears whiff on some of the top receiving targets in the draft, expect Ryan Pace to target Hardy on either Day 2 or Day 3. 

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

As the Bears look to acquire a veteran quarterback to push Mitch Trubisky, one name that’s been thrown around is Andy Dalton.

According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., the Bears have “been in touch” with the Bengals regarding a potential Dalton trade.

Dalton comes with a hefty cap hit ($17.5 million) and is only under contract through 2020, but Trubisky being on his rookie deal would help the Bears stomach his salary. The 32-year-old threw for 3,494 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season, sporting 78.3 passer rating.

Adding Dalton would give the Bears insurance in case Trubisky’s 2019 struggles persist next season. Dalton is an established veteran who is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The two worked together from 2016-18, when Lazor was Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach (2016) and OC (2017-18).

Dehner’s report doesn't offer any specific packages the Bears and Bengals have discussed. However, barring a surprise, Cincinnati will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in the NFL draft in two months. Considering Burrow is set to become the Bengals’ quarterback of the future, trading Dalton will give him the chance to play elsewhere.

The Bears have made it clear Trubisky is entering 2020 as their starter. However, someone like Dalton could usurp him if the former No. 2 overall pick can’t find his footing this season.

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

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USA TODAY

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

NBCS Chicago is celebrating Black History Month with special episodes to discuss the impact of the black athlete in sports. In the final episode of the series, Laurence Holmes is joined by his "Football Aftershow" teammate and former Chicago Bear Alex Brown to discuss, making coaching in the NFL more diverse, is the Rooney Rule helping, and the common practice of moving black quarterbacks to other positions.

(4:20) - Alex Brown on being pushed to not play quarterback in high school

(9:15) - Jalen Hurts asked would he be willing to change positions in the NFL

(17:03) - Alex Brown on playing in a Super Bowl that featured 2 black head coaches

(22:12) - Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy not being mentioned for a head coaching job

(26:00) - Does the Rooney Rule work?

(40:35) - Overcoming unfairness

(44:28) - Watching a NFL where there are successful black quarterbacks

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player  below:

Under Center Podcast

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