Pro Football Focus is currently running a series on the "Secret Superstars" of the NFL. Players who performed better than the media or even the numbers said were dubbed as the secret stars of their respective teams. Last week the NFC North was broken down, and Bears Insider John Mullin wrote his story on cornerback Tim Jennings being named the Bears unknown star.Here is a look at the rest of the division, and who each team has as their superstar behind the scenes.Detroit Lions: Willie Young, DEWith all the star power on the Lions' defensive line, Willie Young had to fight to even make a roster spot in 2010. The sixth round draft pick was inactive for all but two games his rookie season, but Turk McBride's off-season departure bumped Young up to the No. 4 defensive end, behind Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril and Lawrence Jackson.But Young made the most of his time on the field, as PFF notes "of all 4-3 defensive ends with at least 100 pass rushes, Young had the fourth highest Pass Rushing Productivity Rating (13.4)." In other words, Young knows how to get to the quarterback. He recorded 3.0 sacks in 2011, and could be in line for an even bigger role in 2012 alongside defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.Green Bay Packers: D.J. Smith, ILBPackers' inside linebacker A.J. Hawk has been one of the few draft busts under Ted Thompson, but the general manager, like the Lions,also may have struck gold in the sixth round.The 5-foot-11 linebacker was considered undersized coming out of Appalachian State last year, and was assumed to play a role on special teams more than anything defensively for the Packers. With starters Desmond Bishop and Hawk manning the 3-4 defense, the rookie Smith played zero defensive snaps until Week 12 against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Including that Week 12 game, Smith recorded 33 tackles and an interception in four consecutive starts.Thompson and the Packers have been reluctant to part ways with Hawk, but Smith's impressive showing last year could force Green Bay's hand to insert him in the starting lineup.Minnesota Vikings: Chris Cook, CBKnee injuries cost the 2010 second round draft pick a decent amount of his rookie season, but Cook came back strong in 2011. PFF noted one play in particular, when Cook broke up a Matthew Stafford pass intended for Calvin Johnson late in the fourth quarter. That contest, which PFF called Cook's "coming out party," saw the second year cornerback allow just three catches on six targets, and two passes defended.Cook was arrested for domestic assault during the year and was dismissed by the team, but he seems to have his legal troubles behind him. He is expected to enter the season as one of two Vikings' starting cornerbacks, and at 6-foot-2 will be valuable in defending the likes of Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Brandon Marshall.
For fantasy football players planning their annual summer draft strategy, reviewing a player's average draft position (the average draft slot where a player is being selected in fantasy drafts across the country) is a great place to start.
It's also a great place to look to gauge the national opinion of the Bears' skill players on offense. For example, Todd Gurley, the Rams' feature running back, currently sits atop fantasy draft boards with an ADP of No. 1 overall. Le'Veon Bell is second, and Dallas' third-year runner, Ezekiel Elliott, is third. Essentially, they're considered three of the best -- if not THE best -- running backs in the NFL by fans.
So where do guys like Jordan Howard, Allen Robinson and Mitch Trubisky rank? Let's take a look.
Note: Average draft positions are from Fantasy Pros.
Jordan Howard: ADP = 25 (RB15)
Players ahead of Howard include Bengals second-year back Joe Mixon, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Packers receiver Davante Adams. Call it a hunch, but Howard will outproduce this ADP.
Allen Robinson: ADP = 42 (WR17)
Robinson trails players like Josh Gordon, Doug Baldwin and Stefon Diggs on draft boards. This seems fair with Robinson coming off a torn ACL.
Mitch Trubisky: ADP = 168 (QB26)
Trubisky has a chance to be one of this year's fantasy football league-winners if he quickly takes to Matt Nagy's offense. He's being criminally underrated in fantasy circles.
Tarik Cohen: ADP = 77 (RB32)
Unless Cohen becomes the Bears' feature back, which is a long shot, this ADP and overall ranking seem about right. The only way he makes a jump up fantasy rankings is if the Bears use him like the Saints used Alvin Kamara, with similar results.
Trey Burton: ADP = 94 (TE9)
Burton is one of the Bears' favorites among fantasy GMs. He's expected to become Chicago's Travis Kelce this season. If he does, he'll be a fantasy star.
Anthony Miller: ADP = 206 (WR206)
Fantasy players like Miller the most of all receivers opposite Robinson this season. He's got a chance to prove them right with his blend of inside and outside receiver traits.
Taylor Gabriel: ADP 357 (WR110)
Yikes. Gabriel is essentially undraftable in fantasy leagues this season, according to this ADP. No one is suggesting Gabriel will be the next coming of Tyreek Hill, but this seems awfully low.
Kevin White: ADP 328 (WR105)
White has a slightly higher upside in the opinion of fantasy owners than Gabriel, but he's still nothing more than free agency fodder at this point in summer drafts.
The 2018 Home Run Derby starts Monday night at 7 p.m., and Cubs Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber have picked who will be their pitchers.
Baez has chosen his brother Gadiel, while Schwarber selected Mike Sanicola, who played at the University of Miami and is a friend of Schwarber’s agent, Jason Romano.
Gadiel does have a baseball background in his back pocket. After playing baseball in high school, he played at Cowley College (JUCO), Tabor College (NAIA) and played in an independent league for two years.
It’ll be a first time experience for both Baez and Schwarber, who are the first Cubs to participate in the Home Run Derby since Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant did it back in 2015.
Could Baez or Schwarber be the home run king? Will just have to wait and see.