Bears

'Best available' has Bears leaning toward pass rusher or DB as draft approaches

'Best available' has Bears leaning toward pass rusher or DB as draft approaches

With the 2017 draft now one month off, decisions are firming and options considered. And the Bears have given themselves interesting options at the No. 3 pick.
 
Adding quarterbacks (Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez), cornerbacks (Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper) and a safety (Quintin Demps) have the immediate effect of filling their most dire of the position needs and reducing the pressure to place need above quality, never a good situation.
 
Instead the Bears are positioned to stay with their preferred best-available philosophy, with strongest indicators pointing to a defensive player in a draft considered by many to be among the best-ever for defensive backs.
 
Which remains a need, two needs actually, even with free-agent additions.
 
The Bears do not have a proven elite-grade cornerback; Cooper is considered ascending, but Amukamara was signed to a one-year deal for a reason, Kyle Fuller missed all last season after ostensibly minor knee surgery, and Tracy Porter turns 31 in August and has just 3 total interceptions through two Bears seasons.

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The 2016 draft had five cornerbacks selected in the first 25 picks, led by Jalen Ramsey to Jacksonville at No. 5. Four went in the 2015 first round but none before Trae Waynes to Minnesota at No. 12. The 2014 class had five in the first 31 picks.
 
This draft is projected to have starter-quality corners as late as the fourth round but the Bears have those; they don’t have the definitive depth-chart-topper.
 
And they do not have a ball-hawking free safety, which GM Ryan Pace considers one of the most difficult positions to fill, and of which the 2017 has a couple.
 
"Obviously, the league has shifted toward passing quite a bit," coach John Fox said during this week’s owners meetings. "I think largely because a lot of the rules of the game for a long time there has been more yards per pass than more yards per rush.

"Because of that, you don’t need in many cases a big, banger box safety. When I was with the New York Giants in the late '90s, my safeties were 6-3, 220. Now [offensive] people are going to no-backs. Obviously, it’s not going to be a run. So you’re covering specialized backs, specialized tight ends. So you have to be more corner-like to play safety, as far as cover ability, range, defending passes way more than runs."
 
The Bears traded up to invest a Top 10 pick (and the fourth-round selection needed to move up from No. 11 to 9) in a pass rusher with Leonard Floyd. One could be available around No. 3 if edge rushers Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas don't go 1-2.

"I’ve always been of the belief that the best pass defense is the pass rush," Fox said. "There are a lot of different coverages, a lot of different schemes. But at the end of the day, when you’re putting pressure on the quarterback – and not just sacks – but pressing the quarterback puts stress on him to make errors. I think we still need to improve in that area. I think we have improved. But we still need to improve."

Alvin Kamara officially out for Week 7 game at Bears

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USA TODAY

Alvin Kamara officially out for Week 7 game at Bears

The Bears are getting good news on their injury report, but the Saints definitely are not.

While it sounds like Mitchell Trubisky will return for the Bears, the Saints will be missing both of their backfield starters for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.

Quarterback Drew Brees was already known to miss the game, but now running back Alvin Kamara is officially listed as out with an ankle injury. Kamara had 11 carries for 31 yards and seven receptions for 35 yards in last week’s 13-6 win at Jacksonville, but won’t take on the Bears.

The 24-year-old has 373 rushing yards and 276 receiving yards this season.

Latavius Murray is expected to fill in for Kamara as the starter. Murray has the same 4.3 yards per carry average as Kamara so far this season.

Brees has been out since injuring his thumb in a Week 2 loss at the Rams. Teddy Bridgewater has gone 4-0 as the starting quarterback, but won’t have the threat of Kamara behind him on Sunday.

On top of that, starting tight end Jared Cook is also out with an ankle injury. Cook has 15 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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Bears injury report: Mitchell Trubisky still listed as questionable after three straight days of full practice

Bears injury report: Mitchell Trubisky still listed as questionable after three straight days of full practice

Everything leading into Week 7’s Bears-Saints game makes it sound like Mitchell Trubisky will make his return under center, but officially he’s still questionable.

Trubisky still has that designation despite being a full participant in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Trubisky has missed the past two games with a left shoulder injury.

Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols and offensive lineman Ted Larsen are also questionable. Nichols was limited in practice on Friday with hand and knee injuries. Larsen was a full go in practice on Friday with a knee injury after being limited on Wednesday and Thursday.


Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe are listed on the injury report, but expected to play.

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