Bears

Top 12 NFL Draft prospects according to a 12-year-old

Top 12 NFL Draft prospects according to a 12-year-old

As anticipation for Thursday night’s NFL Draft in Chicago builds, we know fans are in search of the latest player projections. To help ease the process, we enlisted a rising star in the industry. 

Camden Robbins is a 12-year-old Illinois native and big board wizard. He reached out via Twitter and gave us some insight into his “best available” before the first round begins. 

Here’s a look at the 12-year-old’s Top 12 prospects: 

1. Myles Jack - LB, UCLA

Jack is a flexible and fast player. Jack even played a little running back for the Bruins.

2. Laremy Tunsil - T, Mississippi  

Tunsil is the best offensive lineman in this draft. Tunsil has good hands. He also has good balance and footwork.

3. Joey Bosa - DE, Ohio State

Bosa is a very talented player. He is quick and strong. My favorite thing about him is his motor. He never quits. That is the mentality that can make you successful.

4. Jalen Ramsey - CB, Florida State

Ramsey is a flexible guy. Ramsey can play both cornerback and safety. The fact that he is both versatile and explosive makes him a threat.

5. Ezekiel Elliott - RB, Ohio State

Elliott is the best running back in this Draft. He is versatile and quick, but he will also block and catch the ball. Ezekiel Elliott is the complete package. 

6. DeForest Buckner - Oregon

Buckner is an athletic guy. NFL coaches will be pleased with his work ethic. He has loads of potential.

7. Josh Doctson - WR, TCU 

Doctson has good hands and run after the catch skills. He is also very competitive. Doctson’s injury worries some people, but people don't realize but that was a one-time injury. 

8. Carson Wentz - QB, North Dakota State      

Wentz is very athletic and a good player outside the pocket. He can't throw the deep ball consistently. In today's NFL, that is almost a skill you have to have. General managers don't want someone who can't make a long throw to tie or win a game. They want people who can throw the ball downfield accurately. 

9. Jared Goff - QB, California

Goff is not very good outside the pocket. He can't run like Paxton Lynch and Wentz. He can throw the deep ball, though. That may get some general managers over on his “side.” I still like him because of his throwing abilities. 

10. Vernon Hargreaves III - CB, Florida

Hargreaves has speed but he is short. Covering the likes of Dez Bryant and Alshon Jeffery would be hard matchups because of the size difference. He is short, but he is also strong. 

11. Leonard Floyd - DE/LB, Georgia

Floyd is tall and lanky. He has to put on more weight before the season. Floyd is the best off the edge. He’s very explosive. I am excited about Leonard Floyd’s potential. 

12. Darron Lee - LB, Ohio State

Lee has speed and instincts. He is a good tackler. He is a competitive player and has good potential at the next level. 

Watch out, Moon, Robbins may be gunning for your job. Follow the budding superstar @camdenw03.

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Sunday's game against Tom Brady and the Patriots will be a tough test for the Bears, but it looks like they're going to receive a big break.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't travel with the Patriots to Chicago and is "highly unlikely" to play Sunday.

Avoiding Gronkowski, who is one of Brady's favorite targets, would be a huge break for the Bears' defense. In six games this season, the tight end has 26 receptions for 405 yards and a touchdown; in 14 games last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gronkowski has not officially been ruled out yet, though time is running out for the Patriots to make a decision.

Meanwhile, Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday despite dealing with an ankle injury. Between having Mack on the field and Gronkowski off of it, good news keeps coming for the Bears' defense.

Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

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USA Today Sports Images

Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

There’s, probably, only one position in sports that can match the you-had-one-job scrutiny of a placekicker attempting a critical field goal late in a football game. As in: If you make the kick, it was expected; if you miss it, well, you didn’t do the one thing you were brought on to do. 

The comparison here is a closer in baseball. The expectation is whoever is called upon with a one-to-three-run lead in the ninth inning will convert the save and win his team the game. 

But when a closer blows a save and is in the spotlight during baseball’s regular season, there’s always a game the next day or, at worst, in two days. The immediacy and pace of a Major League Baseball team’s schedule lends itself to closers having to “flush” a bad outing and move on to the next one, since it might be tomorrow. 

For Bears kicker Cody Parkey, though, he’s had to wait a week until he gets his next “meaningful” chance at making a field goal after missing a game-winning 53-yard attempt last weekend against the Miami Dolphins. But moving on from a critical missed kick has never, and is not, a problem for the fifth-year veteran. 

“(It takes) five minutes,” Parkey said. “You kick the ball, and if it doesn’t go in you’re not going to sit there and cry on the field, you’re going to continue to move on with your life. I don’t think there’s really much to it other than knowing you’re going to have to kick another one sometime throughout the season, next game, in the next week, you never know. You stay ready so you’ll be ready for the next week.”

Not allowing those missed kicks to fester is an important trait for a placekicker to possess. What helps Parkey quickly work through his misses is focusing on having a good week of kicking in practice, and also an even-keel mindset that’s been instilled in him since a young age. 

“I think I’ve always been pretty mellow,” Parkey said. “At a young age, my coaches told me never let the highs get to high, never let the lows get too low. And I’ve kind of taken that to heart. If I miss a game winner, make a game winner, I’m going to have the same demeanor. I’m just going to be super chill and knowing it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun, we’re supposed to go out there and try our best. I put in a lot of work and I try my best on the field.”

That’s something, too, that special teams coach Chris Tabor sees in Parkey. 

“He's always been like that,” Tabor said. “He hit a good ball, his line was just off. In his career going in he was 7-of-8 over 50 yards. I'll be honest with you, I thought he was going to make it. And next time we have that situation, I know he will make it.” 

Age is just a number

Sunday will mark the 6th time in Tom Brady’s career that the 41-year-old has faced a head coach younger than him, but the first time it’ll be a coach other than Miami’s Adam Gase (who’s 40). Brady is 3-2 against Gase’s Dophins. 

Matt Nagy, meanwhile, is also 40. Brady just missed playing Kyle Shanahan (38) and Sean McVay (32), facing the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in 2016, a year before both those youthful coaches were hired. 

Meanwhile, the youngest player on the Bears — 21-year-old Roquan Smith — was three years old when Brady made his unassuming NFL debut on Nov. 23, 2000. 

They said it

A couple of amusing one-liners out of Halas Hall this week…

Nagy, when it was brought to his attention that Mitch Trubisky (105.6) has a better passer rating than Brady (98.2), chuckled: “You want to say that one more time?” 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, when asked if he’d ever heard of “Baby Gronk” Adam Shaheen: “(long pause)… Sometimes.”