Bears

Upon further review: Less need for WR to Bears at No. 7

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Upon further review: Less need for WR to Bears at No. 7

The prospects of either Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White running routes opposite Alshon Jeffery is something that quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen would relish every bit as much as offensive coordinator Adam Gase. One, probably White, is apt to be available when the Bears’ turn on the clock comes at No. 7 of the first round.

If the wide receiver is the significantly higher-rated player on the draft board at that point, general manager Ryan Pace and the Bears can be reasonably expected to honor their board and make the call.

[MORE: Bud Dupree over Vic Beasley for Bears at No. 7?]

But Pace has been part of a draft — 2006 — that he considers a major key to the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl championship. In that draft, the Saints landed wide receiver Marques Colston in the seventh round, 252nd overall and eventually the Saints’ all-time leader in virtually every receiving category.

Pace will not wait until the seventh round to grab a wide receiver. For one thing, barring a trade, he doesn’t have a “7,” having used the seventh-round pick to help get rid of Brandon Marshall in the trade to the New York Jets.

But he is clear on both his philosophy and on his take on the 2015 draft class:

“Impact players on offense or defense, they’re available at different points in the draft,” Pace said on Wednesday. “This is a deep receiver class, though.”

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Analysts have posited that as many as five or six wide receivers could be selected in the first round, particularly in the wake of the impact receivers from the 2014 draft had in their rookie seasons (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, all in the first round).

A similar number could be gone in Round 1 again this year. And the Saints, with Pace involved, traded up in the first round to get Cooks. But prospects like Jaelen Strong from Arizona State and Breshad Perryman from Central Florida may be still on the board when the Bears’ second turn at No. 7, in the second round, choose to find Marshall’s replacement.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.