NFL Draft

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Add Dayton tight end, Adam Trautman, to the growing list of tight ends the Chicago Bears have met with at the 2020 Senior Bowl.

After confirming Purdue's Brycen Hopkins and Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney spent time with Bears scouts (in the case of Pinkney, nearly 35 minutes), Trautman told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that Chicago's scouts have expressed a strong interest in his skill set.

"They're interested in me," Trautman said of the Bears. "They tell me they like what they see."

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Trautman had one of the best lines of the week when he said he prefers driving opposing defenders into the ground against their will over scoring touchdowns, and at a well-built 6-5, 251 pounds, he has the perfect physical makeup to project as a guy who will do that on the next level. He needs development in that area of his game (run blocker), but his 'want-to' is half the battle.

Trautman wasn't the best tight end this week, but he was far from the worst. He's been consistent, and for a team like the Bears who are searching for a tight end who can be relied on as a second-level target for whoever is playing quarterback in Matt Nagy's offense, Trautman's consistency will be viewed as a plus.

Trautman had 916 yards and 14 touchdowns for Dayton in 2019. Scouts wanted to see whether he could handle the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl, and he's answered that question with a resounding yes.

He projects as a Day-3 pick with upside to develop into a starting quality tight end.

Bears unlikely to find quarterback they need from 2020 Senior Bowl

Bears unlikely to find quarterback they need from 2020 Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — The 2020 Senior Bowl is wrapping up its three days of practices Thursday in Mobile, Alabama, and for Bears fans who were hoping GM Ryan Pace would uncover an NFL Draft gem at quarterback, it's time to move on. Those guys aren't here, and unless Pace gets aggressive in free agency or focuses on one of the several underclassmen who've declared, it's going to be a disappointing offseason for the anti-Mitch Trubisky contingent.

To be fair, Utah State's Jordan Love and Oregon's Justin Herbert have lived up to the billing as first-round passers throughout the week. Both have high-end NFL arm talent and will be picked way before the Bears' first selection, No. 43 overall. As a result, Pace has to divert his attention to the next tier of prospects, several of which failed to prove worthy of a second-round choice over the last few days.

Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts' struggles with consistent accuracy throughout 2019 was on display in Senior Bowl practices, especially on Day 1 where he looked nothing like a fringe-first-round pick he was hyped up to be when the Senior Bowl rosters were announced. He's played more like a Day-3 selection, and while his skill set will likely lead to some highlight moments during the actual game, his practice reps have sparked more questions about whether he has the arm talent needed to make an impact as an NFL starter.

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Michigan's Shea Patterson was downright brutal. To his credit, his throwing motion improved from a labored shotput style to a more compact release, but he just doesn't have the baseline talent needed to project as a developmental starter. He'll have a place in the league as a backup (maybe?), but he doesn't offer the kind of starting-quality traits that the Bears need to add in a young passer behind Trubisky.

Washington State's Anthony Gordon has his fan club among Bears backers, but his 199-pound frame and average arm strength may have him destined for undrafted free agency. There's no denying his level of production in Mike Leach's offense last season (5,596 yards and 48 touchdowns), but he doesn't project as an NFL starter and it's even a stretch to say he can be a legitimate No. 2. His performance during practices has been forgettable, and that's not how any quarterback wants to be described.

Colorado's Steven Montez, who began the week as a likely undrafted free agent, did nothing to suggest that should change. He has really good size (6'4, 240) and his arm is adequate enough to make NFL throws, but he's a wildly inconsistent passer who hasn't done much during his time as the Buffaloes' starter to think his ceiling is overly high on the next level. Like Patterson and Gordon, Montez is going to wait a while for his name to be called come draft weekend.

So where does that leave the Bears in their hunt for an improved quarterback depth chart? 

Washington's Jacob Eason and Georgia's Jake Fromm are the only viable options at this point in Round 2. Eason's NFL-ready arm and Fromm's experience and accuracy rank higher than any of the Tier-2 quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl and with such a sizeable gap between their skill set and those other guys, Pace will have no choice but to be aggressive and select one at No. 43 or 50 if his goal is to end April's 2020 draft with a rookie in the quarterback room.

Michigan's Josh Uche could be pass-rush answer Bears need

Michigan's Josh Uche could be pass-rush answer Bears need

Even with all-world outside linebacker Khalil Mack on the roster, the Chicago Bears are going to search for help in their pass rush this offseason. The 2020 NFL draft is the best way to accomplish that goal, especially because of the price tag that even average edge defenders command on the open market.

One player who may have put himself on the Bears' radar this week at the 2020 Senior Bowl is Michigan's Josh Uche.

Of all the edge defenders in Mobile, Alabama, it was Uche (6-1, 243) whose burst and bend around the edge was nearly unblockable regardless of who he matched up against. Uche wasn't unleashed in the Wolverines defense but he did manage a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2019 and totaled 14.5 sacks over the last two seasons combined.

The Bears need to add more speed off the edge. Former first-round pick Leonard Floyd simply isn't that guy, and the sooner the Bears realize that the better off they'll be.

GM Ryan Pace has what seems like a pretty simple decision to make about Floyd's future this offseason; he can rescind the fifth-year option in his contract and save the Bears more than $13 million against the 2020 salary cap. It would be a choice that likely marks the end of Floyd's career as a Bear, but at this point, that career has been nothing more than an underwhelming disappointment that's totaled just 18.5 sacks over four years.

Chicago can't waste the prime years of Mack's elite pass-rush production. If they don't add a high-impact complement opposite him, that's what they'll be doing. Uche could be that guy.