Bears

Luck, Griffin, etc.: Profiles of every first-round pick

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Luck, Griffin, etc.: Profiles of every first-round pick

From Comcast SportsNet
1. Indianapolis, Andrew Luck, qb, 6-4, 234, Stanford: A prototypical NFL QB with superior decision-making abilities, arm strength and mechanics. Father, Oliver, was also an NFL QB. 2. Washington, Robert Griffin III, qb, 6-2, junior, 223, Baylor: A fast runner and polished passer, Griffin could be a game-changer. Smart player with intangibles through the roof. 3. Cleveland Trent Richardson, rb, 5-9, 228, junior, Alabama: Compact, strong and polished downhill runner with excellent vision and acceleration. Good enough skills as a pass catcher to start. Could be best RB to enter draft in years. 4. Minnesota (from Cleveland), Matt Kalil, ot, 6-6, 306, junior, Southern Cal: Two-year starting LT with size and strength to protect blind side in NFL. Good in the run game, but will be tested by the better edge rushers. 5. Jacksonville (from Tampa Bay), Justin Blackmon, wr, 6-1, 207, junior, Oklahoma State: Jumping ability, open-field speed and possession-receiver toughness help cover for lack of elite wiggle and crisp route-running. 6. Dallas (from Washington through St. Louis), Morris Claiborne, db, 5-11, 188, junior, LSU: A talented athlete with a receiver's ball skills. Can velcro himself to WRs as long as he keeps his pads low enough. 7. Tampa Bay (from Jacksonville), Mark Barron, db, 6-1, 213, Alabama: Polished safety who can tackle and cover well. Excellent awareness highlights all his physical skills, which are strong across board. 8. Miami, Ryan Tannehill, qb, 6-4, 221, junior, Texas A&M: Good accuracy and a constant running threat, making him a raw project with promise. Converted from QB to WR and back to QB in college. 9. Carolina, Luke Kuechly, lb, 6-3, 242, junior, Boston College: A ready-made pro at inside linebacker, where he can find ball carriers and cover tight ends. 10. Buffalo, Stephon Gilmore, db, 6-0, 190, junior, South Carolina: Physical player who can disrupt WRs routes, but may struggle with advanced techniques. 11. Kansas City, Dontari Poe, dt, 6-3, 346, junior, Memphis: Big, strong and athletic, but not quite fast or nimble enough to move outside. Definitely an interior space-filler, which is not a negative. 12. Philadelphia (from Seattle), dt, Fletcher Cox, 6-4, 298, junior, Mississippi State: Furiously aggressive player who is strong, but raw. Goes for the big play. 13. Arizona, --Michael Floyd, wr, 6-3, 220, Notre Dame: Big, physical player who is a threat for the deep ball and in red-zone situations. Blocking ability a plus. Had off-field issues at Notre Dame. 14. St. Louis (from Dallas), dt, Michael Brockers, 6-5, 322, junior, LSU: Has come this far on substantial physical and mental gifts, could reach potential anywhere along the line. 15. Seattle (from Philadelphia), Bruce Irvin, de, 6-3, 245, West Virginia: A pure pass-rush play, Irvin was a workout warrior, but demonstrated a deep repertoire of pass-rush moves at WVU. Not a three-down player, but may not need to be. 16. N.Y. Jets, Quinton Coples, de, 6-6, 284, North Carolina: A big, powerful player who can disappear from time to time. 17. Cincinnati (from Oakland), Dre Kirkpatrick, db, 6-1, 186, junior, Alabama: Size may indicate a switch to safety, where his speed would play better, too. Sure tackler, but not great on balls in the air. 18. San Diego, Melvin Ingram, lb, 6-1, 264, South Carolina: A smart, athletic player who could be a hardworking contributor as OLB in some schemes. 19. Chicago, Shea McClellin, de, 6-3, 260, Boise State: Country strong, uses small size to his advantage by gaining leverage on linemen and has sure tackling ability. 20. Tennessee, Kendall Wright, wr, 5-10, 196, Baylor: Savvy and athleticism help him play above his physical limitations. Can space out at times. 21. New England (from Cincinnati), Chandler Jones, de, 6-5, 247, junior, Syracuse: A 4-3 DE whose toughness, big frame and motor show lots of potential. 22. Cleveland (from Atlanta), Brandon Weeden, qb, 6-4, 221, Oklahoma State: A 28-year-old who played minor league baseball before college football, Weeden brings maturity, accuracy and NFL-caliber arm strength and size. He has nice quick release and good touch. Struggles to retain accuracy and decision-making under pass rush. 23. Detroit, Riley Reiff, ot, 6-6, 313, junior, Iowa: Not as strong as Kalil, but nimbler and more technically sound. 24. Pittsburgh, David DeCastro, g, 6-5, 316, junior, Stanford: Three-year starter who can get on linebackers quickly in the running game. Nimble and strong. 25. New England, (from Denver), Dont'a Hightower, lb, Alabama.6-2, 265, junior, Alabama: Can shed blockers well and get to running backs. More instinctual than athletic. Some durability concerns. 26. Houston, Whitney Mercilus, lb, 6-3, 261, junior, Illinois: Fast and sudden in pass rush or against run, he can be a home-run swinger who sometimes strikes out. Long arms, relentless. 27. Cincinnati (from New Orleans through New England), Kevin Zeitler, g, 6-4, 314, Wisconsin: A big ol' road-grader in the run game, he could stand to get a bit faster and lighter. 28. Green Bay, Nick Perry, lb, 6-3, 271, junior, Southern Cal: A defensive end in college whose instincts, athleticism and size probably play better at OLB. 29. Minnesota (from Baltimore), Harrison Smith, db, 6-2, 213, Notre Dame: Has physical and mental attributes to be instant starter in NFL. Good athletic ability, but zone coverage is stronger than man. 30. San Francisco, A.J. Jenkins, wr, 6-0, 192, Illinois: Superior speed and acceleration combine with good body control to make Jenkins an appealing prospect. He's willing to go over the middle, but can't always shake DBs on the jam. 31. Tampa Bay (from New England through Denver), Doug Martin, rb, 5-9, 223, Boise State: Another polished, instinctual prospect, Martin does everything well, with the possible exception of holding onto the ball. More quick than fast, his speed is still a strong asset. 32. N.Y. Giants, David Wilson, rb, Wilson, 5-10, 206, junior, Virginia Tech: Dazzling, raw ability with higher risk and higher reward than a player such as Martin. Has speed and vision, though sometimes the cutback lanes he spies are too small.

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

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Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

As the Bears set their foundation for training camp during OTAs this month, one part of that is beginning to identify each player’s strengths and weaknesses on which to build in Bourbonnais. 

Designing an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths was one of the reasons why Ryan Pace hired Matt Nagy, who then hired Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. Easy is the wrong word — but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Bears to not build an offense around their second-picked quarterback. 

But as Nagy and Helfrich are installing that offense during OTAs and, next month, veteran minicamp, they’re also learning what Trubisky’s weaknesses are. And the one Helfrich pointed to, in a way, is a positive. 

“Experience,” Helfrich said. “I think it’s 100 percent experience and just reps, and that’s kind of what I was talking about was knowing why something happened. As a quarterback, he might take the perfect drop and be looking at the right guy in your progression, and that guy runs the wrong route or the left guard busts or something. The defense does something different or wrong, even. And trusting that is just a matter of putting rep on top of rep on top of rep and being confident.”

It'd be a concern if the Bears thought Trubisky lacked the necessary talent to be great, or had a lacking work ethic or bad attitude. Experience isn't something he can control, in a way. 

This isn’t anything new for Trubisky. His lack of experience at North Carolina — he only started 13 games there — was the biggest ding to his draft stock a year ago; while he started a dozen games for the Bears in 2017, the offense was simple and conservative, designed to minimize risk for Trubisky (and, to be fair, a sub-optimal group of weapons around him). 

But even if Trubisky started all 16 games in an innovative, aggressive offense last year, he’d still be experiencing plenty of things for the first time. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made this point back in September that still resonates now with regard to Trubisky:

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks,” Roethlisberger said. “In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

So the challenge for Nagy and Helfrich is to build an offense that accentuates Trubisky’s strengths while managing his lack of experience. For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles succeeded in those efforts last year with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively. 

For Helfrich, though, one of Trubisky’s strengths — his leadership qualities — are already helping mitigate his need for more experience. 

“He’s still in the mode of learning and doing things out here,” Helfrich said. “We might have run one play 10 times against 10 different defenses, you know? And so his response to every one of those 10 things is brand new. And so, you see his reaction to some of those is good. Some of those things you want to improve upon and then keep your chest up and lead because we need that.”
 

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.