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.

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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