NFL Wire News

Bears reset 2015: New GM rafts receiver for Cutler

on

The Sports Xchange

Offseason speculation was rampant suggesting new Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace wanted to replace quarterback Jay Cutler.

To the contrary, apparently, Pace not only wanted Cutler, but drafted to help him with wide receiver Kevin White from West Virginia, the seventh pick in Round 1.

“In my mind, we just got Jay another dynamic weapon,” Pace said. “That’s what I’m excited about (with) it.

“I hope right now he’s fired up because we just gave him another powerful weapon. With this receiving corps, this only adds to Jay’s ability to distribute the ball.”

The trade of Brandon Marshall opened an obvious hole for the Bears on the outside and White fills it with more speed than they had with the controversial veteran who was dealt to the Jets.

Eddie Royal figures to be the Bears slot receiver and Marquess Wilson will battle for playing time, but White should be an immediate starter.

Second-round pick Eddie Goldman, a Florida State nose tackle, lined up across from third-round Bears pick Hroniss Grasu, Oregon’s center, in the Rose Bowl.

“A good battle,” Pace said. “Those are two great players going at it and they’ll be doing it again in practice. They’re both competitive. You saw it throughout the game.”

Grasu believes his experience in Oregon’s no-huddle spread offense counts as a great asset.

“At Oregon, when you play offensive line, it just comes down to move a guy that’s lined up in front of you from Point A to Point B,” he said. “I think we’ve done that pretty well at Oregon. There’s a reason why we’ve been leading the Pac-12 in rushing yards.”

The no-huddle aspect of it places a lot of pressure on centers.

“I think it will really help out in Chicago because I was always asked to make a lot of decisions under a short amount of time, a matter of six or seven seconds,” he said.

The Bears get a look at some of their new talent in a rookie minicamp this weekend (May 8-10). Meantime, here is an early peek at the 2015 Bears:

2014 RECORD: 5-11, 4th in NFC North

COACH: John Fox

1st season with Bears

14th season as NFL coach

127-96 overall; 8-7 postseason

2015 CAMP SCHEDULE

Rookie minicamp: May 8-10

OTA dates: May 27-29, June 1-3, June 8-11

Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

BEARS PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

(Rookies in capitals)

Offense:

WR: K. WHITE, M. Wilson, J. Bellamy, R. Lawrence

Slot: E. Royal

LT: J. Bushrod, C. Leno

LG: M. Slauson, M. Ola, R. Groy

C: W. Montgomery, H. GRASU

RG: K. Long, V. Ducasse, C. Boffeli

RT: J. Mills, J. Weaver, T. FABULUJE

TE: M. Bennett, Z. Miller, D. Rosario, B. Pascoe, B. Annen, J. Maxwell

WR: A. Jeffery, M. Mariani, J. Chiles

QB: J. Cutler, J. Clausen, D. Fales

RB: M. Forte, J. Rodgers, K. Carey, J. LANGFORD, S. Perry

Defense:

LDT: J. Ratliff, J. Jenkins, B. Dunn

NT: W. Sutton, E. GOLDMAN

RDT: E. Ferguson, R. Mcdonald

LOLB: P. Mcphee, W. Young, L. Houston, D. Bass, J. Brown

LILB: J. Bostic, K. Greene, S. Acho, J. Merrell

RILB: M. Foster, C. Jones, D. Lattimore

ROLB: J. Allen, S. Mcclellin, C. Washington, A. Lane

LCB: T. Jennings, D. Hurst, T. Mitchell

SS: A. Rolle, R. Mundy

FS: B. Vereen, A. AMOS

RCB: K. Fuller, A. Ball, A. Louis-Jean, S. Mcmanis

Special Teams:

P: P. O’donnell

PK: R. Gould

LS: T. Gafford

H: P. O’donnell

KO: R. Gould

PR: M. Mariani

KR: M. Mariani

GRADING THE DRAFT — C plus

By Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

Given the trade of Brandon Marshall, adding a dynamic receiver like Kevin White certainly makes sense for the Bears. White comes with some questions considering that he was only a dominant player for one season at West Virginia, but his size, strength, speed and ability to win contested passes could make him a favorite of Jay Cutler’s immediately and a verifiable NFL star. Defensive-minded head coach John Fox nabbed the two-gapping defensive lineman to help Chicago’s adjustment to the 3-4 scheme with Eddie Goldman in the second round and after hitting a home run with former Oregon Duck Kyle Long a few years ago, the Bears could win big again with highly dependable center Hroniss Grasu in the third round. Safety Adrian Amos flashed at Penn State and may be able to bring some consistency to a trouble spot for the Bears. Chicago improved in this draft, but where will the pass rush come from?

SCOUTING ALL DRAFT PICKS

–Round 1/7 — Kevin White, WR, 6-3, 215, West Virginia

A replacement for Brandon Marshall, his 4.35-second 40-yard dash speed makes him the lid-lifting receiver the Bears have lacked when defenses cheated up in tighter zone or man coverage. He’s athletic enough to go up for the ball, but played only two years in an offense that left him a lot of leeway in terms of running tight routes. So he’ll have to prove he can be a more precise route runner. A breakaway threat because of his speed, he isn’t known for owning flashy downfield moves.

–Round 2/39 — Eddie Goldman, NT, 6-4, 336, Florida State

A team planning to play a 3-4 was doing it without a real nose tackle until this selection. Although Goldman can play end as well, he is a natural nose who should be on the field on first and second downs but probably not in passing situations. Although he came out as a junior, at the very least he should split time at nose with Jeremiah Ratliff. Quick into a gap, he also can overpower blockers and occupy double teams. “He’s strong, he gets off blocks, I really like the pad level he plays with,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “He steps up in big moments. Up at the Clemson game this year, there’s three game-changing plays he makes to basically win that game for Florida State. This is a stout, strong nose tackle that anchors the middle of your defense. I think he’s an ascending player.”

–Round 3/71 – Hroniss Grasu, C, 6-3, 297, Oregon

Although he can play guard in a pinch, he’s viewed as competition for Will Montgomery for the starting center position and long term the future leader of the offensive line. A four-year starter, he played on the same line with Bears guard Kyle Long. Many Oregon offensive linemen have gone on to succeed out of their offensive system, and Grasu looks to be next. He had to make fast adjustments on the line prior to snaps in the no-huddle offense, so he’s brains as much as brawn. The Bears like his quickness and ability to help after the snap or to get out and lead on a screen. “The standout traits for this guy is his quickness and his balance,” Pace said. “He’s excellent at the second level. He’s quick on reach blocks. His makeup is outstanding. When you talk about work ethic, team captain, leadership, all those traits that we stress around here, he brings those to the table.”

–Round 4/106 – Jeremy Langford, RB, 6-1, 208, Michigan State

With Matt Forte missing minicamp and wanting a contract extension, the Bears could be looking long term with this one. Langford has a running style not unlike Forte’s. He had the combine’s fastest 40 time for backs (4.43) and is an adept cut-back runner, but lacks ability to break tackles or be a power back. He is far above average at picking up blitzes while pass blocking and at sliding out of the backfield as a receiver. This isn’t a back along the lines of the power type coach John Fox has often had in the past. The plan eventually is to use him in a two- or three-back rotation.

–Round 5/142 – Adrian Amos, FS, 6-0, 218, Penn State

A free safety known more as a center-fielder type than an enforcer. He has been criticized for being soft in run support, although he is a willing tackler. He just isn’t overly effective at it. But no one doubts his coverage skills, as he’s been a cornerback in the past in addition to playing safety. One impressive statistic about his pass coverage ability beyond seven career interceptions was he allowed only 3.9 yards per time targeted as a senior.

–Round 6/183 – Tayo Fabuluje, T, 6-7, 360, Texas Christian

Massive, high-character Nigerian native who figures as a right tackle mauler type. He has a constant battle going on with his weight. Fabuluje took a year off school to support his sister when his mother was sentenced to prison time on theft charges. His father had been deported more than a decade earlier. He worked three jobs during his year away from football to help his family, but returned to earn second-team All-Big 12 honors. He started out at BYU before transferring before the 2011 season.

NOTABLE VETERANS ACQUIRED:

–OLB Sam Acho: UFA Cardinals; $825,000/1 yr, $80,000 SB.

–CB Alan Ball: UFA Jaguars; 1 yr, terms unknown.

–G Vladimir Ducasse: UFA Vikings; $825,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB/$40,000 WO.

–LB Mason Foster: UFA Buccaneers; $825,000/1 yr, $80,000 SB.

–LS Thomas Gafford: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.

–DE Jarvis Jenkins: UFA Redskins; 1 yr, terms unknown.

–DE Ray McDonald: FA: $1.05M/1 yr, $50,000 RB/$30,000 WO.

–C Will Montgomery: UFA Broncos; $950,000/1 yr, $80,000 SB/$200,000 guaranteed.

–OLB Pernell McPhee: UFA Ravens; $38.75M/5 yrs, $2.5M SB/$15.5M guaranteed.

–TE Bear Pascoe: UFA Falcons; 1 yr, terms unknown.

–RB Jacquizz Rodgers: UFA Falcons; $785,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.

–S Antrel Rolle: UFA Giants; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

–WR Eddie Royal: UFA Chargers; $10M/3 yrs, $4M RB 2015/$6M guaranteed.

NOTABLE PLAYERS LOST:

–S Chris Conte: UFA Buccaneers; $1.5M/1 yr, $250,000 SB/$1.25M guaranteed.

–C Roberto Garza (released).

–WR Brandon Marshall (traded Jets).

–DT Stephen Paea: UFA Redskins; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$7.85M guaranteed.

–CB Charles Tillman: UFA Panthers; $1.75M./1 yr, $350,000 SB/$150,000 WO.

–S Anthony Walters (released).

PRESEASON PEEK — Mark that calendar

All times Central

Aug. 13: MIAMI (Thu.), 7:00

Aug. 22: at Indianapolis (Sat.), 6:30

Aug. 29: at Cincinnati (Sat.), 6:30

Sept. 3: CLEVELAND (Thu.), 7:00


About The Sports Xchange

Since 1987, the Sports Xchange has been the best source of information and analysis for the top professionals in the sports publishing & information business