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.

Bears Season in Review: Adam Shaheen

Bears Season in Review: Adam Shaheen

The Chicago Bears 2019 season was a lesson in disappointment in almost every way possible, from the quarterback to the offensive line and even the vaunted pass rush. But no position underwhelmed more than tight end, and Adam Shaheen was a big reason why.

The former second-round pick of the 2017 NFL draft failed to make any impact whatsoever. And that's not hyperbole. He appeared in just eight games, registering nine catches for 74 yards and zero touchdowns. Believe it or not, his stat line was an improvement over 2018 when he had just five catches for 48 yards in six games.

Shaheen's career narrative has been defined by injury, and it continued last season. He was placed on injured reserve in late-November with an apparent foot injury, marking the second-straight season that his year came to an early end.

It's been a remarkably disappointing career for Shaheen so far, who was viewed as a Rob Gronkowski-lite coming out of Ashland University. His jump from the small-school ranks to the NFL was expected to include a steep learning curve, but after three forgettable seasons, it's safe to say Shaheen's failed in almost every way possible.

The Bears are expected to bring Shaheen back for 2020 and he'll likely be in a training-camp battle for a roster spot. Chicago is going to add more talent to the position via either free agency or the NFL Draft and it wouldn't be a surprise if Shaheen begins the offseason schedule last on the depth chart.

It's been an unfortunate outcome for a draft pick that seemed so promising in 2017. Instead of growing into a fixture in the Bears' lineup, Shaheen will be left to fight for his NFL future this summer.

Kirk Cousins on John DeFilippo: 'He’s going to add a lot to Bears' staff'

Kirk Cousins on John DeFilippo: 'He’s going to add a lot to Bears' staff'

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke with Chicago Sun-Times reporter Patrick Finley at the 2020 Pro Bowl and offered a glowing review of Bears quarterback coach, John DeFilippo, whose addition to Chicago's coaching staff is expected to bring the best out of Mitch Trubisky, the Bears' incumbent starter who's entering a make-or-break offseason with the team.

“He’ll be outstanding,” Cousins said. “He’s a great coach. He’s been around this league for a long time. I think it says a lot when someone like Matt Nagy, who knows quarterbacks so well, hires him. I think that says a lot about ‘Flip.’

“When you look at what he did with Carson Wentz as a young player, I think there’s a lot to like there. And he’s going to add a lot to that staff. It’s going to be to my detriment, because we’re in his division. But he’s a great coach.”

DeFilippo was the Eagles quarterback coach for two seasons (2016-17) and played an integral part in Wentz's development between his rookie and second seasons. Under DeFilippo's tutelage, Wentz went from a solid rookie season to an MVP-worthy campaign in 2017. It's also noteworthy that DeFilippo managed to get the best out of veteran Nick Foles, who replaced Wentz after a season-ending injury. Foles went on to enjoy a miraculous Super Bowl run.

DeFilippo certainly has his work cut out for him with Trubisky. The former second-overall pick has looked like an average starter (at best) through 41 regular-season starts and regressed mightily in 2019. Blame for his regression has been shared among the offensive line and play-calling, but he deserves much of the criticism too. His mechanics were sloppy, his accuracy was lacking and he just didn't play with the kind of downfield killer instinct Nagy wants from his starter.

Nagy's end-of-year comments about Trubisky needing to learn how to identify coverages didn't create much confidence in his near-term trajectory, either.

But that's why DeFilippo is in town. And if Cousins' comments prove to be true, then we may be on the precipice of a breakout season from Trubisky.

Or maybe DeFilippo will be the tie-breaking voice that allows the Bears to move on if Trubisky's struggles continue.