Bears

View from the Moon: Day 2 draft blogging

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View from the Moon: Day 2 draft blogging

Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 5:34 p.m. Updated: 6:21 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com
North drafting

The drafts second day brought some skill players into the NFC North as Minnesota took the drafts first Notre Dame player, tight end Kyle Rudolph. Coach Leslie Frazier and personnel head Rick Spielman are not wasting a lot of time getting beyond Brett Favre.

The Detroit Lions took a bit of a gamble in Boise State wide receiver Titus Young, a lightweight (174 pounds) burner who caught 150 passes in his combined junior-senior seasons after being suspended as a sophomore.

Interestingly perhaps, the Lions supplemented two of their absolute strengths with their first two picks. Young will be opposite Megatron (Calvin Johnson). On the defensive line, Nick Fairley was drafted to play inside on a line that already has Ndamumkong Suh.

The Lions won their last four games of 2010 to finish 6-10. They will not be 6-10 in 2011.
Never mind
The 8th Court of Appeals granted the owners their block of the players block of the owners block of the players going back to work.

And from a press room wag with a sense of Hollywood Squares history: All they need now is Wally Cox to block. Or maybe Paul Lynd or Ruth Buzzi.

Tice take

Coach Lovie Smith kept a veil over plans for Gabe Carimi but offensive line coach Mike Tice pulled it back a little on Friday, stating that he sees the Wisconsin rookie tackle as an outside player, meaning tackle, not guard.

Tice said he and the Bears were surprised that Carimi was available when their turn approached at No. 29. Carimi was rated fourth among their line prospects, which confirmed what Jerry Angelo said after Thursdays first round, that the number of quarterbacks taken in the first round (four) helped push Carimi down.

And yes, size does matter. Its nice to have a guy in the building as big as I am, said Tice, himself 6-8.

Thinking DT

Back at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, draft guru Wes Bunting of National Football Post told me that LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis was a player to watch when the Bears turn came in the draft, particularly the second round.

Wes was among the first to point out that Nevis fits the scenario that Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell and others have cited working in the Bears favor. The proliferation of 3-4 defensive schemes have sent teams scurrying for jumbo defensive linemen and more linebackers.

The Bears and Lovie SmithRod Marinelli dont mind bulk but they treasure speed. So where a 3-4 scheme may pass over a D-lineman smaller than 310 pounds, the Bears did quite nicely with a healthy Tommie Harris at 290 pounds and Julius Peppers at 283.

So when Nevis weighed in at 294 at the Combine, he may have dropped off some draft boards but gone up on the one in Chicago.

I'm comfortable at any weight that I'm asked to play at, Nevis said. But that's what I got down to for the Combine

And just as the level of competition in the 2010 Big Ten was a plus for Gabe Carimi, Nevis career against offenses of the SEC prepared him well by the competition and the athletes you go against, Nevis said. They are big, strong, fast as well as smart.

And there was something at stake every Saturday. Every Saturday was like playing for a national championship game.

Something else to like about Nevis: Like Carimi, he was a four-year man at LSU, although not a starter until his senior season. He had just 10 sacks for his career, 4 as a junior and 6 as a senior. He is not a run-stuffer but more an undersized disruptor who is a shade under 6 feet but had nearly 30 tackles for loss in his final three LSU seasons.

Someone to watch as Saturday evening plays out

Happy kid
Fans will be following the NFL career of Gabe Carimi soon enough. In the meantime they can follow the rest of him on Twitter, @GabeCarimi, where this afternoon the rook tweeted, on the toad to chi town! so stoked to be a bear!

Carimis coach at Wisconsin, Bret Bielema, dropped by the NFL Networks draft desk and explained why the Badgers have a nice tradition of players with good size: Were in Wisconsin. You go to the grocery store, youre going to see big people.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

It didn’t take the Bears long to see how valuable Khalil Mack is to their defense, elevating the group from the moment he first stepped on the field.

He’s been among the league’s best outside linebackers since he first broke out in 2015, and the analytics back up the eye test.

He was the highest edge defender on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 players in the NFL, and their “wins above replacement” metric shows why.

It’s Mack and Von Miller, then everyone else.

“Foremost, Mack is a slightly more complete player than Miller when it comes to defending the run,” PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote. “Yes, run defense is significantly less important than an edge rusher’s ability to disrupt the quarterback, but with so little difference between the players, everything gets put under the magnifying glass.”

Over the past four seasons, both players have exactly 49 sacks, although Mack missed two games over that span. The Bears outside linebacker has the edge in interceptions, forced fumbles and tackles for loss, most coming with a lower quality defense around him than what Miller has had in Denver.

It’s no surprise Ryan Pace was willing to trade multiple first-round picks to make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He’s the best in the league.

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Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

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USA Today

Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

Eddie Jackson is hosting a charity softball game this Saturday, June 15th at Schamburg Boomers stadium at 5:05pm. It’ll be offense vs defense so let’s take an early look at what these lineups might look like for both teams.

Defense

1. Eddie Jackson

Has home run hitting ability in the leadoff spot and a flair for the dramatic. This rising star puts the pressure on the opposing pitcher from the very first pitch. Plus it’s his game, so of course he’s batting first.

2. Kyle Fuller

Tied for the NFL interception lead in 2018, Fuller’s combination of speed, instincts and film study  at the top of the lineup helps set the table for the big bats.

3. Akiem Hicks

As Ed O’Bradovich said at the 100 year celebration this past weekend, Khalil Mack “is a man-eater, but (Akiem Hicks) is the man who makes it happen.” It’s long been said you put your most important hitter in the 3-hole.

4. Khalil Mack

The quintessential cleanup hitter. Who else would you want in this spot?

5. Danny Trevathan

Provides world champion protection behind Mack in the likely event that the opponent tries to pitch around #52.

6. Roquan Smith

Just when an opponent think they’ve gotten thru the heart of the lineup, the 2018 rookie who came up just shy of Brian Urlacher’s franchise tackling mark is there to “break a man,” as he said right after his Bears intro press conference.

7. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix

Sliding this new addition into the 7-hole takes some of the pressure off of him to make an immediate impact, while also trapping pitchers into thinking they might get a break against a guy who has shown big play ability in the past.

8. Bilal Nichols

One of the most underrated players in the entire league is perfectly fine lurking at the bottom of the order. A second cleanup hitter, he’s happy consistently performing and making his teammates better. Everyone in this lineup knows how valuable he is.

9. Leonard Floyd

Still in a bit of a prove it spot, but if he consistently plays the way he’s shown shown flashes of, he could not only be dangerous in this spot, but he could climb up the lineup pretty quickly.

10. Prince Amukamara

Veteran who knows he’s there to do a job and turn the lineup over. His speed and ball skills make him a threat.

11. Buster Skrine

Another newcomer, let’s see what he’s got at the bottom of the order.

Offense

1. Taylor Gabriel   *Anthony Miller

We can all agree there’s no reason for Miller, a guy who dislocated his shoulder multiple times to be swinging a bat amiright?? Miller has the Willie Mayes Hayes swag you want from the leadoff man when healthy tho.

As for ‘Turbo’ Taylor Gabriel, of course you’re putting a guy who’s been clocked at 23 mph at the top of the lineup.

2. Tarik Cohen

Perfect spot for the swiss army knife of the offense. Could lay down a bunt and beat it out, move the runner, or even hit one to the gap and clear the bases.

3. Mitch Trubisky

The obvious spot for the leader of the offense and Akiem Hicks’ pick (outside himself) to win the home run derby part of this event. Let’s just hope he breaks out the punky QB headband and sunglasses look again this weekend.

4. Kyle Long

The most veteran member of the offensive line is there to protect the QB. Whether or not he’s even in the lineup, if anyone goes high and tight on # 10, better believe they’ll answer to #75.

5. Cody Whitehair

Some more muscle in the middle of the order. Has made it clear he’s good with moving around the lineup if the coaches think it’s best for the team.

6. Allen Robinson

Based on what we saw in the playoff game, he could be on his way to putting up big numbers anywhere in the batting order. Definitely a guy you want up late with the game on the line.

7. Charles Leno

Flies under the radar at one of the most important positions in football. If a pitcher thinks he’s in the clear after getting past Robinson, Leno will be there to throw a big block into that thinking.

8. Trey Burton / Adam Shaheen

When healthy, they provide some pop towards the bottom of the lineup. Let’s have Anthony Miller ready as the designated runner if these guys can get on base.

9. Bobby Massie

The ultimate team guy as he showed by signing a team friendly deal to stay in Chicago much earlier in the offseason than he had to.

10. James Daniels

As the new man in the middle on the offensive line, the burden falls on him to turn the lineup over and set the table for the speedy top of the order.

11. Mike Davis

Good spot to start for this new addition. Could easily see him towards the top of the lineup if he produces the way Matt Nagy & company thinks he can.

The defense has been ahead of the offense for pretty much the entire Pace/Nagy regime. But if Matt Nagy is involved, there’s sure to be no shortage of hidden ball tricks, squeezes and other trick plays with awesome names, so I might have to give a slight edge to the offense in this game.