Bears

NFL Draft: Top 5 offensive lineman prospects

NFL Draft: Top 5 offensive lineman prospects

As the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago quickly approaches, CSNChicago.com is releasing a list of the Top 5 prospects at each position leading up to Day 1 of the draft on Thursday, April 28 . First up is the offensive line.

1. Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi

6’5” | 310 lbs.

Scouting Report:

"Most games Tunsil shows you everything you want. Balance, functional strength, posture, length, hands, nastiness, etc. The game against Auburn might have been his most challenging, but Carl Lawson plays like a future first round pick." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

6’6” | 312 lbs.

Scouting Report:

"Many will question Stanley’s strength and/or power. By this I think they mean anchor versus power. I believe Stanley combination of length, frame, footwork and athleticism is enough of a combination to get by with possibly adequate strength. I’ve seen him display an aggressive temperament on multiple occasions." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State

6’6” | 308 lbs.

Scouting Report:

"Where He Wins: Likes to use his length at the position to both stop momentum and carry pass rushers around the pocket. Not a real drive blocker, but has athletic feet and always look to sustain his blocks. Can overcome bad positions or some balance issues." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

4. Ryan Kelly, Alabama

6’4” | 311 lbs.

Scouting Report:

"Tenacious leader and three­year starter for highly successful Alabama program that puts a heavy emphasis on physical and mental toughness. Kelly might not be a combine warrior, but when the pads are strapped, he plays with enough strength and athleticism to thrive in both gap and zone running schemes. While he could use more mass on his frame, Kelly has the necessary skill­ set and football intelligence to step in and challenge for a starting position right away." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

5. Taylor Decker, Ohio State

6’7” | 310 lbs.

Scouting Report:

"Loves to finish plays. His demeanor and blocking intensity can be difficult to find. I’m not an OL coach, but there are holes in his game: aiming points, sustaining blocks, etc. But I think his strength can compensate for those flaws." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Click here for profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player. Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Why 'here we go again' may not be a bad thought for the Bears' defense

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USA Today

Why 'here we go again' may not be a bad thought for the Bears' defense

When Russell Wilson dropped a perfectly-placed dime to receiver Tyler Lockett in the back corner of Soldier Field’s north end zone on Monday night, it was naive to think some players on the Bears’ defense didn’t have "here we go again" cross their mind.

That score cut the Bears’ lead to 17-10 with plenty of time for a Super Bowl-winning quarterback to mount a comeback. More importantly, it came eight days after Aaron Rodgers fired an outlandishly-good touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison (who, like Lockett, beat Kyle Fuller on the play) for a touchdown that sparked a monumental fourth quarter Packers rally.

But thinking “here we go again” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative thought leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. For cornerback Prince Amukamara, it wound up being a motivational, positive thing. 

“I don’t know how other players thought, but I know personally for me, I kinda caught myself and said, okay, do not say here we go again,” Amukamara said. “Just know, try to remember what happened last week and try to step it up that much more to prevent it from happening. I think it definitely was in the back of my head and because it was, it just made me want to play that much harder. 

“… You try to take control of that thought because yes, they did march down the field and then it was 17-10 and it’s still in the fourth quarter, and it’s like gosh, we played so hard in the first half, let’s continue to finish. I was happy to stretch the lead a little more.”

Amukamara’s pick six on a swing pass to running back Rashaad Penny happened because of film study and coaching to jump that route, as well as catching thousands of balls from JUGS machines during the offseason. The extra motivation he got from not wanting the same Week 1 fate to befall his team in Week 2 was a bonus. But the mentality on the sideline after Wilson’s touchdown to Lockett was confident and positive, to the point where Eddie Jackson told Amukamara they should do a baseball celebration if one of them got a pick-six (that celebration didn’t happen in the commotion of Amukamara’s touchdown). 

Still, the Bears’ defense probably needed to finish the way they did against Seattle — with Amukamara’s pick-six and Danny Trevathan’s strip-sack — to make sure “here we go again” didn’t become a bad thing. Amukamara pointed to his third year in the league, when the New York Giants began the 2013 season with six consecutive losses, as an example of how things can spiral negatively. 

“We couldn’t get over that hump,” Amukamara said. “We just have to make sure that we don’t get that mood here.”

The Bears’ defense believed it could and would finish a game if given another opportunity following their Week 1 loss. But believing something and following through on it can sometimes be two different things, so for this group to accomplish what they set out to do on Monday can pay dividends the rest of the season. 

Meaning: The next time the Bears get in a similar situation as they had in Green Bay, they can think “here we go again” — but in the sense of finishing out a win, not losing control for a loss. 

“For us to be resilient and come up with the win, it shows a lot of character with our team,” Amukamara said. 

Leonard Floyd on track to ditch the club Sunday against Arizona

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USA Today

Leonard Floyd on track to ditch the club Sunday against Arizona

Leonard Floyd is on track to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals without a club on his right hand, though the Bears outside linebacker will still have a smaller brace on it. 

Floyd met with Bears trainers on Wednesday and it was determined he could practice this week without the protective club wrapped around his hand and fingers, which resembled a Q-Tip. Floyd’s new brace allows him the use of his fingers, which should benefit what he can do as a pass rusher. 

“It will help him,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He’s still not 100 percent. He’s still got a thing in his palm that will restrict him some.”

Fangio has been candid about Floyd being limited by the club in Weeks 1 and 2, and Floyd’s snap count decreased from 46 against the Packers (77 percent) to 39 against the Seahawks (59 percent). Floyd only has one pressure in 48 pass rushing snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, and hasn’t capitalized on the extra attention sent by opposing teams toward Khalil Mack. 

Fangio, though, isn’t concerned with Floyd’s lack of production and saw the third-year former first-round pick do some good things while inhibited by that club. 

“I think in light of the circumstances that he’s played with, with one hand, he’s done fine,” Fangio said. “To come to any conclusions about his play over the first two games would be not very prudent.”