Cubs

Evaluating the Bears' draft grades

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Evaluating the Bears' draft grades

As soon as every selection is made in a draft, its analyzed: according to the player, according to the need, according to the scheme, according to whatever there is to according to.

The trouble with critiques, however, is that they are based on projection in these cases, not real fact. You have the college performance database but now are valuing the same player in an entirely different level of his game.

Sort of like rating college recruiting classes. High school players will develop but not all at the same rate or to the same ultimate level as others. So there is a time factor; NFL teams dont grade players on freshman-year play, but draft grades actually are assigning a value to a player before his freshman NFL season.

Nevertheless, its always amusing (and sometimes bemusing) to see how Bears drafts are graded:

NBC Sports Rotoworlds Evan Silva rates the first Phil Emery draft a "B" based largely on the first four picks, particularly wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey at No. 2. "Only time will tell but this looks like GM Phil Emerys first win," Evan concludes.

Longtime Platteville chum John Czarnecki over at FOXSports isnt so sure about the win thing. Czar likes the key top four picks generally but drops the overall to a C- because they didnt address their offensive line needs.

The offensive-line thing bothers Mel Kiper out at ESPN.com, and NFCNorther Kevin Seifert comes in with a C with Mels comment cited: Im really surprised they had six picks and didnt get a single offensive lineman.

The View from the Moon doesnt remotely subscribe to the OL hand-wringing, so exception taken with Mel and Czar on that one.

And on the Bears draft grade? Easy. I am solidly with colleague Mike Florio over at ProFootballTalk.com, who awarded the same grade to every team.

Cubs Talk Podcast: It's time for a culture change for the Cubs

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AP

Cubs Talk Podcast: It's time for a culture change for the Cubs

After the Cubs Convention, fans left still uncertain about the team headed into the 2020 season. Host David Kaplan and NBC Sports Chicago Cubs writer Tim Stebbins discuss what they took from Cubs Con, the culture change that is coming to the organization and a realistic possibility that the Cubs are looking into disgruntled star Nolan Arenado.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

The Chicago Bears' offensive line was viewed as one of the team's biggest strengths at the start of the 2019 season. By the time the year came to an end, it was considered one of the club's biggest weaknesses. 

The most concerning issue with the offensive line's regression was that it wasn't isolated to a single player. All five starters played a part in the disappointing performance.

The biggest letdown came at right guard. Kyle Long, even when healthy, was a far cry from the player who at one time was considered one of the most talented offensive linemen in the league. His body failed him again, leading to another injury-shortened year that continued a streak of four straight seasons of nine games or less. Long decided to retire this offseason, leaving the Bears with a big void that GM Ryan Pace has to fill this offseason.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Long was replaced by Rashaad Coward, and while Coward's play wasn't terrible, he isn't the long-term answer the Bears need in the starting lineup. 

Chicago didn't fare much better at offensive tackle, where Bobby Massie and Charles Leno, Jr. each had a season to forget. Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6). The offense didn't stand a chance as a result. It's unlikely either player will be replaced in 2020, but more depth (at the very least) is needed.

And let's not forget the drama at center and right guard, where Cody Whitehair and James Daniels were forced to switch positions midseason because of Daniels' struggles at the pivot. Both players fared well once the swap was made. Whitehair finished the year with the Bears' eighth-highest grade on offense from PFF, while Daniels' 70.3 was third-best.

NFL offenses simply don't stand a chance without a functional and consistent offensive line. The 2019 Bears are proof of that. But don't expect sweeping changes (sans right guard) to be made this offseason. Leno, Jr., Massie, Whitehair and Daniels will begin 2020 as starters, and there's a good chance Coward will too. There might be a chance to add a starting-quality player in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and the Bears should take advantage of that opportunity if it presents itself. But with salary-cap issues and limited draft capital, Chicago may have little choice but to give this unit another season to prove they are, in fact, one of the better starting-fives in the NFC.