Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

With the Bears holding the No. 3 pick of the upcoming draft, the obvious and automatic focus settles on Player A, B, D etc. "Best available" is an operating philosophy that routinely rules the moment.
But for the Bears and the 2017 draft, another overarching philosophical principle is in play. Specifically, what is the concept (for want of a better word) guiding what GM Ryan Pace is attempting to do?
Coach John Fox, as well as Pace, want a team founded on defense, running the football and ball security. They know the franchise need for a quarterback, but a team building on defense could reasonably be expected to weight their draft decisions toward that side of the football.
Meaning: A quarterback like Clemson's Deshaun Watson could alter the entire persona of the Bears and the Halas Hall building, but if the far-and-away best option at No. 3 is defense…?
What makes this draft and the Bears' operating concept intriguing is that the chances will be there potentially to build a true elite defense. Beginning at No. 3:
"I think [Alabama defensive lineman] Jonathan Allen is one of the two or three best players in this draft," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock via conference call on Monday. "What I like about him is he dominates outside…but I think he's going to make his money on an inside pass rusher. Inside or outside, I think he's a special player."
Behind that – and last year's No. 1, Leonard Floyd, addressed the rush-linebacker spot – is the secondary, with both cornerback and safety among the strongest positions in the draft.
"This is a great corner class," Mayock said. "If you don't get one in the first round, you can come back in the second or third rounds and really help yourself."
The safety group is such that Mayock posited the prospect of two going in the Top 10, maybe Top 5. 
Deciding on a "concept"
One former NFL personnel executive maintained that the salary cap all but precluded building offense and defense equally, so the need was to define an identity and build to that, within reason. Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo opted a concept that built both offense and defense equally, but with designated positions ticketed for more cap resources: quarterback, running back, one wideout, two O-linemen, one franchise pass rusher, etc. Not all 22 positions are created equal but creating offense and defense simultaneously was doable.
"It's really what a team is looking for," said Mayock, speaking both of player preferences but in a way that extended to picking players for a scheme. Or philosophy.
Different concepts, like diets, work if you execute them well.

The Bears reached Super Bowl XLI with a Top 5 defense and a mid-teen's offense. The Indianapolis Colts prevailed in that game with a No. 3 offense and a defense ranked in the low 20's in both yardage and points allowed.

Madden 21 rating release: Bears' Cole Kmet ranked top rookie tight end

Madden 21 rating release: Bears' Cole Kmet ranked top rookie tight end

Bears tight end Cole Kmet is the highest rated rookie tight end in this year’s installment of Madden.

EA has slowly released the newest ratings for the popular video game franchise throughout the week.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Bears news and analysis.

Kmet received a 70-overall rating in Madden 21, due in large part to his wide-ranging abilities. In fact, he doesn’t lead all rookie tight ends in many categories, just pass blocking, awareness and trucking (the ability to run over a would-be tackler). However he ranks near the top in many other categories, like catching, strength and jumping.

Kmet was the first tight end off the board in the 2020 draft when the Bears selected him with the 42nd-overall pick.

Last season at Notre Dame, Kmet caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns.

The full list of Madden 21 ratings will be released Friday. The game itself will be available on Aug. 25.

RELATED: Madden 21 rating leaks: Chicago Bears Top-10 overall rated players


2020 Bears training camp preview: How important is a fast start?

2020 Bears training camp preview: How important is a fast start?

Very important! 

If that feels facile, you're right! It is. But Bears camp is supposed to start in two weeks and they don't know 1.) who their quarterback is and 2.) if they'll even play. Let's keep the simple things simple. 

On paper, in mid-July, the Bears' first quarter of the season looks like a real opportunity – if not an advantage. Opening in Detroit will be tougher than anyone in Chicago wants to admit, but Nagy's had success there already and it's not like the stands will be packed with football-starved fans operating on eight beers and a renewed sense of optimism. Games against the Giants, Falcons, and Colts round out the first month, two of which (NYG, IND) are at Soldier. If the Bears are as talented as they want us to believe, there are obviously 2-3 wins in that stretch. 

The problem, of course, is that seemingly on every level, no one knows what's going on. To say it's a mess is putting it mildly. Take the AFC East, where three team facilities are located in areas with the least amount of coronavirus transmission while the fourth is literally in the pandemic's epicenter: 

If the NFL marches on with the 2020 season – be it blindfolded at full-speed or adjusted and maybe centralized – it'll do the Bears a great deal of good to pile up wins quickly. Their schedule definitely doesn't get any easier as it goes along. But the fact of the matter is that there may not even be games – this year's calendar was designed specifically to allow for a delayed/shortened season – and there almost certainly won't be fans; home field advantage, except maybe for kickers, went out the window. 

If the Bears end up playing the front 9 (or technically 8 I guess?), they've obviously got to win the majority of them. Look no further than last year, when three straight wins revived the Bears season and had them sitting at 7-6. The last hurdle between them and a miraculous postseason berth? Road games in Minnesota and Green Bay with a matchup against Pat Mahomes to boot. Had they won those (very) winnable games earlier in the year against the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers, they probably don't have to stake their playoff hopes against Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers in back-to-back weeks. 

So, as it stands on July 16th, the uncertainty doesn't really lie in whether the Bears should win those early season games, but if they're even going to play them at all. 

- Which version of Nick Foles will Bears get?
- Can Mitch Trubisky save his career?
- Who will win the QB competition?