With the Draft less than a week away it’s time for a double-dip today from the NFC North: the defending North Champ VIKINGS and the bottom feeding BEARS. DA BEARS look to still be a couple of years away from contention and need some new starting talent. The VIKES look like the team to battle it out with the PACKERS for top of the division, and like many top end teams fighting the Salary Cap, wouldn’t mind adding a starter or two, but have more interest in adding affordable quality depth at multiple positions.
DA BEARS 7 Picks
Round 1, Pick 8 TREMAINE EDMUNDS LB VIRGINIA TECH 6’044/253 DA BEARS clearly need to find a bit more help for new Franchise QB MITCH TRUBISKY, but are still in a position in the early rounds to take the proverbial best athlete available. EDMUNDS could be an instant starter and future Pro Bowler. The lanky athlete posted 109 tackles in 2017 which included 14 TFL, 5.5 sacks and 4 QBH. He may face a move to OLB, but with DA BEARS favoring a 3-4 scheme as their base D he may stay inside. His 4.55/40 at the Combine confirmed the speed he showed roaming the entire field in game video. He also has 9 3/8″ hands and 34 1/2″ arms. He is almost a lock to add his name to a long list of superlative BEARS LB like URLACHER, BUTKUS, SINGLETARY, MARSHALL, BUFFONE, GEORGE, etc.
Round 2 Pick 39 ANTHONY MILLER WR MEMPHIS 5’111/200 With the Saints nabbing CAM MEREDITH away from DA BEARS it sent a clear message to BEARS brass that more WR talent was needed. Hello Mr. Miller, who I think compares to a guy named Antonio Brown coming out of college. He’s even quicker than he is fast (4.50/40) with nice 10″ hands. Despite missing some time late in the season, including their Bowl Game, with a right foot injury MILLER hauled in 96 passes for 1462 yards and 18 TD. He’s trouble when he catches the ball and gets into the open downfield. Just what Trubisky needs.
Round 4, Pick 105 ANDREW BROWN DL VIRGINIA 6’033/293 A former 5-Star recruit coming out of HS, BROWN had a solid career for UVA on some less than dominant teams. Can play either inside or outside along the DL. Really showed well at the Senior Bowl penetrating upfield to disrupt plays. Just missed moving into my Top 100 (#105) and had a productive senior season as HC Bronco Mendenhall seemed to have the Cavaliers program on the right track. BROWN posted 46 T, 10.5 TFL, 3.5 S, 3 QBH. Look for him to be a solid rotation player, with some specific sub-package roles on his assignment list.
Round 4, Pick 115 COLBY GOSSETT OG APPALACHIAN STATE 6’047/311 4-year starter, this physical blocker really showed his stuff in Mobile. He showed me the talent to earn a starting job in the NFL in a year or two. Might be able to back up everywhere but OC. Has some nice measurables with 10″ hands and 33 7/8″ arms. Seems to have good awareness of what’s going on around him and will make blocking adjustments to help out pressured teammates. Gets to the second level well and takes care of most LB and S he encounters. Call him a mauler, but don’t underestimate his athleticism.
Round 5, Pick 145 HERCULES MATA’AFA DE/ER WASHINGTON STATE 6’022/252 This guy is a legend just waiting to happen with that first name. Very physical, tough player. I watched him playing DT in several games because he was the team’s best option there. Getting beaten up inside may have something to do with his decision to come out for the Draft. Has exceptional first step quickness and plays low. Call him an Edge-Rusher but be aware he may play all over the defensive unit for DC Vic Fangio. With vets McPhee and Houston gone as Cap casualties a job is wide open and Hercules is just the man to grab it. He should be a force for their D by mid-season 2018. Check out his 2017 stats; 45 T, 22.5 TFL, 10.5 S, 5QBH. Hercules spent more time on the opponents side of the line-of-scrimmage than his own.
Round 6, Pick 181 WILL RICHARDSON OT NC STATE 6’055/306 This man looks even bigger than his listed weight. He has a very wide base and 35 1/4″ arms. Has made more than his share of off-field knucklehead mistakes. May need a baby sitter until his head catches up with his mature body. But he has starting OT potential and is a high value choice at this Pick, at least on the field. Is a more natural pro OT than most of the guys already on their roster. Was credited with NOT allowing a sack or pressure on his QB during he 2017 season.
Round 7, Pick 224 RASHAAN GAULDEN CB/S TENNESSEE 6’006/197 I really believe this guy is going to convert to a very dependable S as a pro. His 4.60/40 time is item one in evidence against him playing an actual CB spot in the NFL. But he has good ball skills and will help immediately on Special Teams coverage units. His 2017 stats give you some insight into his all around DB skills; 65 T, 3.5 TFL, 5 PBU, 1 INT, 3 FF, 3 FR. Could be a pleasant surprise for a 7th Rounder.
The retool of DA BEARS roster is in full gear. This group should help plug some holes as TRUBISKY gets the full-time QB job under control. By 2019 this team could be a Play-Off contender again.
The NFC North champs have had some serious turnover on their roster including the purge of their QB group and the addition of prize VFA QB KIRK COUSINS. They need some depth in the form of talented, young blood, so let’s go get them some.
Round 1, Pick D.J. MOORE WR MARYLAND 6’0/210 With the lack of development from LAQUON TREADWELL it is time to get some serious help in the receiving corps for Mr. Cousins. MOORE was a 3-year starter for the Terps, but really came on last season despite having to catch balls from multiple mediocre QB. He shows good hands and is like a RB after he catches the ball, gaining lots of YAC downfield. Hauled in 80 balls, for 1033 yards and 8 TD. He also averaged over 10 yards per Punt Return. His hands are not huge at 9″, but they are very strong and DB have trouble stripping the ball loose from him. At the least a likely No. 3 WR right away.
Round 2, Pick 62 TYRELL CROSBY OT OREGON 6’045/309 The goal with this pick is to get a more athletic RT and allow MIKE REMMERS to move inside to OG. He has started since his frosh season. Has some footwork to clean up, but he’s mobile and fairly strong. His 10 3/4″ hands and 35 1/4″ arms are exactly what NFL OL coaches like out at the OT spots. Very tough for edge-rushers to get around the outside on him. Could start at RT sooner than later, and be out there for a decade. Those highly respected numbers crunchers at PFF had him listed as the only OT in D1 to be Top 10 in both run and pass blocking last season.
Round 3, Pick 94 OREN BURKS LB VANDERBILT 6’031/233 This 4 year starter has also been a team Captain the last two seasons. He’s a nice athlete with very good size for a pro LB job. Has 9 1/8″ hands and 33 3/8″ long arms. Back in the day he would have been described as rangy. Very quick in changing direction to get after the ball. That 4.61/40-time he posted at the Combine really got some attention in the scouting community. Was a late add at the Senior Bowl and was very productive. His 2017 stats were as follows; 82 T, 7 TFL, 1 S, 3 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 INT. He has pro starter written all over him. Should be an immediate hit on Special Teams as well.
Round 5, Pick 167 KENDRICK NORTON DT MIAMI (F) 6’027/314 It’s nice to see The U back turning out talented football players for the NFL. NORTON needs to work on his motor, which can run hot and cold at times, but he has all the other key numbers to make him a highly desired NFL prospect. His hands measure 10 3/4″, while his arms are 33 3/4″ long. If you doubt his upper body strength look as his Combine Bench press count of 30 with those long arms. He is simply a big body who can really move when he is properly motivated. He helps replace 3 DT from last years DL group who have left Minnesota during the off-season.
Round 6, Pick 204 MARK WALTON RB MIAMI (F) 5’095/202 With there still being rehab work to be done from last year’s knee injury by DALVIN COOK adding some RB depth isn’t a bad idea. Like Duke Johnson, who preceded him at Miami, WLATON is best flaring out of the backfield to make sure handed catches and turn upfield, where his balance, moves and speed give DB fits.
Round 6, Pick 213 CHASE LITTON QB MARSHALL 6’5/230 Even though they hit the jackpot in signing COUSINS it is never too early to find and groom the next QB for an NFL team. LITTON is a solid prospect, who still has a lot of technical work to do with his mechanics and his decision making, but may have eventual starting talent. Had 55 mph ball velocity in throwing at the Combine.
Round 6, Pick 218 DAVONTAE HARRIS CB 5’112/203 This small school player was quite impressive at the Shrine venue, and put up some solid workout numbers at the Combine. he ran a 4.44/40 and looked impressive in his bvd’s. He is solid in coverage and very sound coming up in run support. Looked adept in press as well as man-cover work in St Pete. Has speed to recover and finds the ball well in the air. Very fluid defender.
Round 7, Pick 225 JAMES LOONEY DL CAL 6’024/279 Seems to be a very well thought of player, who gets overlooked as a pro prospect. He’s versatile and has started for 3 years at CAL. He can play heavier if needed, but flashed 4.91/40 speed at the Combine. Brother of JOE LOONEY back-up OL with the Cowboys. His Combine vert was 35.5. Has nice balance to stay off the ground and pursues the ball relentlessly. Refuses to stay blocked and sheds well. This kind of athlete finds a way to stick on NFL rosters for years. Good upside for a pick this late.
This group of players would make a very solid contribution to the Vikings in 2018 and maybe even more so beyond.