Bears

Re-drafting: A Bears tradition GM Ryan Pace must end

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Re-drafting: A Bears tradition GM Ryan Pace must end

Organizations can get themselves into difficulty when they feel forced to re-draft the same positions repeatedly because of injuries or misses on picks. The Bears under new general manager Ryan Pace hope they are not falling into another of those holes, but the incoming staff felt the need for a virtual do-over from the final draft of the Phil Emery administration.

Four of the Bears’ six draft choices were at the same positions addressed in the 2014 draft. Pace and the Bears stayed on point with their draft board but four of six repeat selections cannot be excused to coincidence or grades.

Pace wasn’t aware of the organizational do-over he was transacting. “It was really best player available all the way through,” he reiterated. “That’s how it fell. We knew we had a lot of needs.”

Therein lies the problem.

This is not a good thing. Position players have cycles if they are NFL caliber. If they don’t, the team has to draft or go into free agency for their replacement too soon in the overall cycle. And re-drafting too frequently involves reaching on a pick because it is being made specifically to fill a need.

In his first draft as Bears general manager, Ryan Pace nearly did a re-draft of the 2014 class left by Emery:

2014 (round) 2015 (round)
DT Ego Ferguson (2) DT Eddie Goldman (2)
RB Ka'Deem Carey (4) RB Jeremy Langford (4)
S Brock Vereen (4) S Adrian Amos (5)
OT Charles Leno (7) OT Tayo Fabuluje (6)

Emery selected Ferguson and Will Sutton in rounds 2 and 3 last year. Because of either scheme change or performance – Ferguson fits in the 2015 plan, Sutton TBD – Pace and the Bears went into free agency to add defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Ray McDonald in advance of this weekend’s draft.

Despite drafting Shea McClellin at No. 1 in 2012 and Jonathan Bostic at No. 2 and Khaseem Green at No. 4, the Bears needed to go into free agency for Sam Acho, Mason Foster and Pernell McPhee. Even allowing for the switch to a 3-4, this is a significant number of replacements for Bears players drafted in the first four rounds.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

But Pace is necessarily less interested than mistakes of 2014 than with improving the hit quotient for 2015.

“What I’m excited about and what we talk about is there’s a lot of opportunities still going forward,” Pace said.

Dubious do-over history

The Bears were forced to reach for offensive tackles when Jimbo Covert’s career was cut short because of back problems. The real trouble came when they reached in the 1991 first round for Stan Thomas. When Thomas proved to be a bust, the Bears were forced to use a second-round pick on Troy Auzenne 1992. When Auzenne failed to secure left tackle, the Bears used another No. 2 pick in 1994 for tackle Marcus Spears – another bust.

At wide receiver, the Bears used a No. 2 pick in 1987 for wide receiver Ron Morris. The Bears used a No. 1 the next year for Wendell Davis, which should have set them up nicely in the pre-free agency era, but both Davis and Morris were out of football with knee injuries by 1993, when the Bears used the No. 7 pick of the draft for wideout Curtis Conway.

[MORE: Kevin White excited for transition to Chicago, Bears]

The Bears selected safeties in 11 of the 13 drafts from 2002-2014, using picks as high as the second and third rounds. Despite selecting Brock Vereen last year and signing Ryan Mundy last offseason, the Bears made safety a priority in 2015 free agency, signing Antrel Rolle to start, and in the draft, using a fifth-round pick on Adrian Amos from Penn State.

Ideally, Amos helps stop that repeating pattern.

“Some safeties you don’t get to see enough isolated in ‘man’ coverage a lot,” Pace said. “But you do with him. We’re going to start him out at safety and have him there. In different packages he can have different roles but he’s a safety first for us.”

Former Bear Tommie Harris shows vulnerable side in new music video

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USA TODAY

Former Bear Tommie Harris shows vulnerable side in new music video

Tommie Harris is showing a more vulnerable side of himself to the world. Known for intimidating opposing quarterbacks as a defensive tackle for the Bears from 2004-2010, Harris opened up about a personal tragedy in a music video he uploaded on Monday.

Harris's song "Deflated" goes into the inner turmoil he suffered after his wife, Ashley, died in 2012. It's a poignant look into Harris's life after football and how he's used music to cope with his new reality.


Harris has even used his music to help others. According to NBC Nashville, Harris joined the Redemption Songs Project in 2018 to help jail inmates express themselves by writing songs of their own.

If you'd like to hear more of Harris's country music, he uploaded "Grand Canyon" last November.

Here's what the 2020 NFL draft TV broadcast could look like

Here's what the 2020 NFL draft TV broadcast could look like

The 2020 NFL draft will take place as scheduled on April 23-25 despite the nationwide social distancing campaign enacted to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The NFL canceled the three-day party in Las Vegas and the league won't hold any public events to celebrate the players or the teams, but the show will go on in a much different way.

NBC Sports' Peter King outlined how this year's draft will likely be broadcast, which will be a familiar sight for anyone who's working from home or paying attention to how television has adapted to these challenging times:

If you’ve done Zoom video conferencing, or you’ve watched recent nightly newscasts, maybe you’ve seen eight or 10 people on the laptop screen or the TV all ready to be called on by a host. Imagine the same thing on draft night. The NFL will send out about 50 portable camera kits with microphones to top prospects and college coaches, with better-than-FaceTime quality, so NFL draft coverage will be able to bring in, say, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow from the family home outside Athens, Ohio, when/if he’s the first pick of the Bengals. Then Burrow will be able to do his media availability with the Cincinnati press, and whatever other one-on-ones he chooses to do.

It'll be a stark contrast to how the NFL draft is traditionally conducted. From the days of Radio City Music Hall in New York City to the traveling roadshow it's become in recent years, the league has done a remarkable job turning its biggest offseason event into arguably the biggest event in the sport aside from the Super Bowl.

Diehard fans of the draft will enjoy the broadcast regardless of whatever form it takes. Whether it's a red-carpet event or a zoom-style meeting, the teams will still pick their players and fans will celebrate (or loathe) the selections. The casual observer may not be as impressed, however. The emotions of draft day, especially when players realize their life-long dream by walking across the stage and bearhugging Goodell, will be lost. At least, there will be less of it.

Sure, watching prospects celebrate with their families in the comfort of their own home will be fun, but the cloud of what really matters -- the coronavirus and the devastation its causing across the globe -- will be unavoidable. The setting of this year's draft will be a constant reminder of it, too.

But the show must go on (apparently). And if the NFL has proven anything over the years, it's that the league knows how to take advantage of every opportunity it has to captivate an audience. 

Maybe, just maybe, the best thing the draft has to offer fans this year is a much-needed distraction from the stress and anxiety of the real world. Don't bet against the NFL accomplishing that goal.