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Posts Tagged ‘Mel Kiper’

Grading the Chicago Bears 2008 NFL Draft

Posted by sportsmaven on June 30, 2008

The Chicago Bears opened their rookie mini-camp and all eyes are on evaluating the rookies of the 2008 draft class, as well as the two free agent QB acquisitions. Now that all the draft grades have been passed out, the Bears look to have had a strong draft, as judged by nearly every football prognosticator, talent evaluator, and draft guru. The expert draft grades:

ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Chicago Bears: GRADE: B
AOL’s FanHouse: Chicago Bears: Grade: B

More grades? Your thoughts? Please feel free to send me a link……

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What Will The Chicago Bears Do In The 2008 NFL Draft?

Posted by sportsmaven on April 26, 2008

There have been countless mock drafts, endless expert analysis and general watercooler, beer garden, happy hour sports conversations on what exactly the Chicago Bears will do with their draft picks in today’s NFL Draft. The consensus? Nobody knows exactly what the Bears will do…..and that’s exactly the way that Bears GM Jerry Angelo likes it.

ESPN’s expert NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks the Bears will go with a offensive lineman, specifically Vanderbilt OT Chris Williams. Todd McShay from Scouts, Inc is going with Boise State OT Ryan Clady (personally, I think he’ll be long gone by pick 14). Fox Sports analyst Jay Glazer has the Bears picking Illinois standout RB Rashard Mendenhall. And finally, the guru of all mock draft analysts, the most accurate mock draft expert, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning Star has the Bears choosing Virginia OG/OT Branden Albert. Other late circulating rumors have the Bears entertaining trade offers and the possibility of moving down in the draft (which is real, since Jerry Angelo seems to prefer that strategy over all others.)

One thing is certain about this draft: This is a make or break draft for Jerry Angelo. He has to hit big in this draft and he has to hit big with picks on the offensive side of the ball. The Bears have many holes to fill: OT, OG, WR, RB, possibly QB. The Bears need at least 2 starter grade picks out of this draft and and probably 4-5 major contributors in order to compete in the NFC this coming season.

The NFC will be a vastly improved conference this coming season, and in particular, the NFC North Division. The Minnesota Vikings look drastically improved with the addition of WR Bernard Berrian to strengthen the offense and DE Jared Allen to a underrated defense, the Detroit Lions look to make a step up from last season if they play their draft cards correctly and the Green Bay Packers are the reigning division champions, who many feel will drop off after the retirement of QB Brett Farve. (I believe the Packers will be in contention for the division title all season long.) In addition, teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Seattle Seahawks are bulking up to compete for the NFC crown.

The Bears hold 11 draft picks and 4 of the first 100 picks. The Chicago Tribune ranked the top GM’s in the NFL in terms of draft picks that went on to become starters in the league. The top GM was, surprisingly Arizona Cardinals GM (and former Bears Director of Pro Personnel) Rod Graves. The Bears Jerry Angelo made it into the top 10 at #10, mostly on the strength of his defensive picks. Offense has not been good to Jerry Angelo draft picks, which puts even more pressure on hitting this draft big. The Bears need playmakers, explosive players, football players, not combine gym rat types. Jerry Angelo stated this week that this was a 10 man draft at the top, which is not good if you hold the 14th pick. While I don’t envision Angelo trading up, it wouldn’t surprise me if he traded down. The OL pick in the first round seems to be the majority opinion in mock drafts and analyst opinions. Which means that it’s most likely Chris Williams. 2nd round RB and third round WR/OL. After that, it’s more of a crapshoot, which makes predictions a waste of good time. Good luck, Jerry Angelo……you’re going to need a lot of it.

By the way, some of the players I like in this year’s draft that I would be thrilled to see the Bears pick:

RB – Rashard Mendenhall, James Stewart, Ray Rice, Matt Forte

WR – Mario Manningham, Malcolm Kelly, Eddie Royal, James Hardy, Jordy Nelson

OL – Ryan Clady, Branden Albert, Chilo Rachal, Duane Brown, Anthony Collins, Chris Williams

QB – Chad Henne, Joe Flacco, Dennis Dixon

Safety – Tom Zbikowski

DT – Marcus Harrison, Pat Sims

LB – Jordon Dizon, Xavier Adibi

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Chicago Cubs Steal Some Press From The Chicago Bears

Posted by sportsmaven on January 20, 2007

This week, the attention in the Chicago sports world has been squarely focused on the matchup between the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game. So nobody’s paying attention to the Chicago Cubs, right? Wrong. The Cubs kicked off (couldn’t resist the silly football pun) the 22nd Annual Cubs Convention this afternoon, and kicked off is the phrase of choice as the team announced that they have signed P Jeff Samardzija to a 5-year, $10 million deal. Our friends at the Chicago Tribune reported that Samardzija was so intent on becoming a Cub that he asked for a no-trade clause in his contract and agreed to forfeit his entire $2.5 million signing bonus if he ends up leaving the team for another sport. Samardzija apparently was very deliberate about making his final decision, as noted by a very good ESPN The Magazine article, updated on January 16th.

So I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, what a coup for Jim Hendry and the Cubs!” Not only do they get Samardzija, a Mel Kiper Top 25 projected pick (#14) in the 2007 NFL Draft, to forfeit football, but he offers the team a no-trade clause as an added bonus. The Cubs essentially get a potential top of the rotation pitcher for what will seem to be a bargain basement price if Samardzija lives up to his potential. Then again, he could go down the Mark Prior path and prove to be an unwise investment, but I love the gamble that Jim Hendry is taking.

My other thought was that Samardzija still harbors interest in playing football. Could he be making a play to circumvent the NFL Draft by essentially telling teams he will not be playing baseball, maybe sit out a season, and then work his way into a free agent situation to play the balance of the football season (once baseball season ends) for the Bears, a la Deion Sanders? I’m not sure if his Cubs contract forbids playing football after the baseball season ends, but the thought is definitely one that may have some teeth.

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