Chicago Bears: 2013 NFL draft

Cowboys had different view of Long

May, 31, 2013
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Kyle LongReid Compton/USA TODAY SportsKyle Long said even he was surprised he was drafted so high after being taken at No. 20.
The Dallas Cowboys apparently didn't share the same enthusiasm for Kyle Long as did the Bears, who selected the Oregon guard with the No. 20 pick in the draft.

According to bloggingtheboys.com, which was able to piece together the Cowboys draft board based on photos and videos of interviews from various angles with Jerry Jones standing in front of the board, Dallas had targeted Long as a low third-round selection. He was No. 66 on their board.

Maybe it was the fact Long started just four games for the Ducks, not providing an extensive body of work.

Then again, depending on your view of the Cowboys' draft history, maybe the disparity isn't such a bad thing.

The selection of Long that high did surprise many -- including Long -- but general manager Phil Emery said he couldn't pass up on Long's combination of athleticism and versatility.

Both teams had Bears' second-round pick Jon Bostic slotted nearly the same.

The one Bears' pick who was ranked higher by the Cowboys was Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington, was ranked No. 107 by Dallas and picked at No. 188 by the Bears.

Bears sign second-round pick Bostic

May, 9, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears signed second-round draft choice linebacker Jon Bostic to a four-year deal, the team announced on Thursday.

Bostic is the fifth member of the Bears' 2013 draft class to agree to terms on a contract.

A second-round pick out of Florida, Bostic isn't expected to seize a starting job as a rookie, but the expectation is that at some point he'll become the starter in the middle, which is currently manned by veteran D.J. Williams, who was signed in free agency. Bostic possesses the versatility to play all three linebacker positions, and while he's expected to be a reserve in 2013, there's a chance he could earn a place in some of the team's sub packages.

Bostic (6-foot-1, 245 pounds) started 32 of 51 games at middle linebacker at Florida and contributed 237 tackles, eight sacks, 19.5 tackles for lost yardage and five interceptions. Bostic tacked on seven quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, a recovery and seven pass breakups.

Bostic ran a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which ranked as second best among middle linebackers. Bostic also ran a 4.24-second short shuttle at the combine, which serves as an indicator of his agility.

The entire Bears' rookie class will be at Halas Hall from Friday through Sunday for the club's annual rookie mini-camp.

Only first round pick offensive lineman Kyle Long remains unsigned.

Bears agree to terms with UFAs

April, 28, 2013
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The NFL Draft came to a close on Saturday, but the Chicago Bears remained hard at work on the phones in the aftermath as they attemped to sign undrafted rookie free agents.

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with 10 players for their 2013 class of undrafted free agents.

Here’s the list:

WSU WR Wilson a low-risk proposition

April, 27, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It’s impossible to predict if wide receiver Marquess Wilson will land on the Chicago Bears' final 53-man roster after the way his college career unraveled at Washington State.

[+] EnlargeMarquess Wilson
James Snook/US PresswireMarquess Wilson's decision to walk away from Washington State cost him in the draft.
Wilson quit the team last year and accused Cougars head coach Mike Leach of abuse, a story he eventually recanted.

But the damage was done.

Wilson’s decision to walk away from Washington State for the final three games of 2012 and the subsequent controversy with Leach overshadowed what been a productive college career. The wideout posted back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards in 2010 and 2011, catching a career-best 82 balls for 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns his sophomore season.

Wilson made 52 catches for 813 yards and five touchdowns last year before he pulled the plug. He still left Washington State as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards with 3,207, the ninth-most in Pac-12 history.

Wilson had 14 100-yard games.

From a pure talent standpoint, Wilson deserved to be drafted higher, but his stock plummeted for obvious reasons.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: 7th-round pick Wilson

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
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Marquess WilsonVladimir Cherry/US PresswireReceiver Marquess Wilson was a risk the Bears were willing to take in the final round.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here's a look at the Chicago Bears' seventh-round pick, receiver Marquess Wilson of Washington State.

Wilson led the Cougars in receiving last year with 52 catches for 813 yards and five touchdowns despite playing just nine games.

SportsNation

How would you grade the Bears' selection of Washington State WR Marquess Wilson?

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    38%
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Discuss (Total votes: 6,205)

Strengths: Nearly 6-foot-3, Wilson presents matchup problems for defensive backs. Despite his height, Wilson shows surprisingly good agility, and the ability to keep defenders’ hands off him coming off the line. Given the fact he’ll likely be asked to play in the slot for the Bears, it’s encouraging that Wilson is considered a player who is willing to make tough catches over the middle. Over his first two seasons at Washington State, Wilson was highly productive, racking up 2,394 yards receiving on 137 catches.

Weaknesses: Character might be an issue. Suspended last Nov. for violating team rules, Wilson later left the team and accused the Washington State coaching staff of abuse. Wilson eventually recanted that story and explained it came as a result of him being angry with losing his starting job. Such a situation shows a lack of maturity. Interestingly, the university didn’t allow Wilson to return for its pro day. Physically, Wilson isn’t considered an imposing specimen. At the NFL Combine, Wilson benched 225 times just seven times. Wilson has also experienced concentration issues resulting in dropped passes. Wilson’s speed is considered just average.

By the numbers: Ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Averaged 18.3 yards per catch as a true freshman and 16.9 in his sophomore year. Set the school record for receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,388) in 2011, and led the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (115.7).

What it means: The Bears needed a dynamic receiver capable of taking the tops off coverages from the slot, but it doesn’t appear that’s what the team acquired with the selection of Wilson. Wilson has shown he can produce against solid competition based on his back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. But his issues in 2012 are cause for concern. If Wilson takes to NFL coaching and matures, there’s a good chance he’ll earn a spot somewhere in the receiver rotation. Although he’s not considered especially explosive, Wilson should be able to find a niche.

Next: The Bears will round out the 2013 class by signing undrafted prospects to free-agent contracts late Saturday and will likely announce the signings on Sunday.
Cornelius WashingtonTodd Kirkland/Icon SMICornelius Washington made 22 tackles for Georgia last season.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Keeping with the mantra of acquiring “dynamic” players, the Chicago Bears appeared to acquire another Saturday in the sixth round (188th overall) in Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington, who was considered by some to be a late second-round talent.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, but the call came,” Washington said. “That’s what’s really important.”

The addition beefs up an already fairly explosive Bears pass rush. If Washington adjusts quickly to the NFL game, he’ll become an immediate contributor as a situational pass rusher, which just might signify the end of Israel Idonije's tenure with the Bears.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: 6th-round pick Washington

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
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Cornelius WashingtonRadi Nabulsi/ESPN.comSixth-round pick Cornelius Washington was projected by many as a third- or fourth-round pick.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here is a look at the Chicago Bears' sixth-round choice (No. 188), defensive end Cornelius Washington out of the University of Georgia.

Washington is listed as an outside linebacker in draft guides. He made 76 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks during his career at Georgia.

SportsNation

How would you grade the Bears' selection of Georgia DE Cornelius Washington?

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    47%
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Strengths: Numerous outlets projected Washington to be drafted in the third or fourth round. Washington is another athletic hybrid-type player who boasts impressive measurables and athleticism. Flashed extreme speed at the NFL Combine. Described as a powerful player with a great build. Competed at the highest level in the SEC, arguably the top conference in the nation.

Weaknesses: Washington was never a full-time starter with the exception of his final year with the Bulldogs when he started 10 of 14 games. Even with playing time, Washington was kind of hit-or-miss in terms of on-field production. Had an off-the-field incident, a DUI arrest, in 2011. Injured hamstring at Pro Day.

By the numbers: Washington is 6-4, 264 pounds. He ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Second highest vertical leap (39-inch) and top bench press of all the linebackers at the NFL Combine. Washington tested with the linebackers.

What it means: If Washington can keep it together, he projects to be a valuable contributor on special teams at the onset of his NFL career. There is no shortage of ability here. Washington is Phil Emery’s prototypical “dynamic athlete”, but he needs to prove he can successfully adjust to life in the NFL. Plenty of players with Washington’s talent never make it because they lack the proper focus. It will be interesting to see how Washington competes at defensive end with reserves Turk McBride and Kyle Moore. The Bears haven’t ruled out re-signing Israel Idonije, but with another defensive end now in the mix, the odds of bringing back the veteran seem to be shrinking by the minute.

What’s next: The Bears hold one more pick in the seventh round (No. 236) as a result of their earlier trade with the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears could still stand to gain another cornerback or wide receiver.

Bears further beef up O-line with Mills

April, 27, 2013
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Jordan MillsStacy Revere/Getty ImagesBears draft pick Jordan Mills showed off his skills in the Senior Bowl.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Saturday’s fifth-round choice of Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills is just the latest in a series of moves the Chicago Bears have made to overhaul the offensive line -- clearly the weakest unit on the team last season in the eyes of general manager Phil Emery.

The Bears are set at left tackle with Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod.

On the right side - it’s a different story.

Veterans J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott are expected to battle it out for the starting right tackle job, but neither is assured of a spot long-term. Webb and Scott are signed through 2013.

Mills is a versatile player who lined up primarily at tackle at Louisiana Tech, but also spent time at guard in 2009. At 6-5, 315 pounds, Mills has the size to play offensive tackle in the NFL, however, the Bears do seem determined to plug in larger bodies inside at guard.

“I’ll play anywhere, left side or right side.” Mills. “I told my coaches I’ll play anywhere they need me. Wherever they need me to win, I’ll be there. Like I told my coaches, if they need me at H-Back to lead block, I’ll do that.”

(Read full post)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Here's a look at the Chicago Bears' fifth-round pick, offensive tackle Jordan Mills of Louisiana Tech.

Mills started every game over his last two seasons at Louisiana Tech, and was named All-WAC first team during his senior season.

SportsNation

How would you grade the Bears' selection of Louisiana Tech OT Jordan Mills?

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    32%
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Strengths: Beyond his physical gifts, Mills possesses the type of attitude that will endear him to the coaching staff, according to multiple scouting reports. Mills is considered a hard worker in the weight room and in the classroom, and scouts rave about his dedication to the game. With the Bears looking for more athletic offensive linemen, Mills makes for an ideal fit because he possesses the speed to get up to linebackers and the coordination to block efficiently in space.

Weaknesses: Played against inferior competition at Louisiana Tech most of the time. Allows defenders to get into his body on occasion and lacks flexibility, which at this point may be something he can improve upon with refined technique. Has a tendency to lose leverage because he plays too high. Because Mills played in a spread offense in college, Mills will probably take time to adjust to NFL blocking schemes.

By the numbers: Mills is 6-foot-5 and weighs 316 pounds. He ran a 5.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His arms are 34 inches long and his hands measured 9 inches. To compare, Bears’ first-round pick Kyle Long’s hands measured 11 inches, and his arms were 33 3/8 inches.

What it means: The Bears have fully committed to protecting their most valuable asset on offense: Jay Cutler. For years the Bears seemed to neglect the offensive line, and instead focused on the defense. When the team did use draft picks to select offensive linemen, the players didn’t pan out. So by using this draft to add to more offensive linemen to the three the club acquired in free agency, the Bears give themselves more chances to uncover players who can contribute right away.

Familiar foe: Mills is a cousin of Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, but don’t think for a minute he plans to take it easy on him when the clubs meet twice a year.

“If somebody breaks a long touchdown, even though that’s my cousin and I love him, that’s not gonna be good for him,” Mills said.

Next: The Bears swapped picks with Atlanta in the fifth round, giving the Falcons the 153rd pick in exchange for No. 163. In return, Chicago acquired the Falcons’ 7th-round pick (236). The Bears entered the weekend without a seventh rounder. In the sixth round, the Bears hold the 188th overall pick.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears tacked on even more depth at linebacker in the fourth round Saturday by taking their second consecutive player at the position in Khaseem Greene of Rutgers with the 117th pick overall.

The selection came on the heels of the team taking Florida linebacker Jonathan Bostic on Friday in the second round, and alleviates depth issues for a linebacking corps that had already lacked in that area, even before the departures of future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach. The Bears picked up D.J. Williams and James Anderson in free agency as starters, but signed them to one-year contracts, and stalwart Lance Briggs, who turns 33 in November, has a deal that runs through 2014.

“I’m just ready to get down there and go to work,” Greene said. “I’m just extremely happy and excited to be in this position to come into such a great organization and be able to compete. As far as coming in and starting, I’m just gonna take it one day at a time. I’m just looking to come in, compete and contribute in any way I can.”

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: 4th-round pick Greene

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
12:56
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Khaseem GreeneAP Photo/Brian BlancoKhaseem Greene won 2012 Big-East Defensive Player of the Year honors at Rutgers.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here is a look at the Chicago Bears' fourth-round pick (No. 117), linebacker Khaseem Greene out of Rutgers.

Greene started three years at Rutgers and forced an NCAA all-time record 15 fumbles. He moved to linebacker his junior year after starting at free safety as a sophomore. Greene finished his Scarlet Knights career with 387 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and seven interceptions.

Greene made a pre-draft visit to the Bears.

SportsNation

How would you grade the Bears' selection of Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene?

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    52%
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Discuss (Total votes: 6,194)

What he said: “I’m just ready to get down there and go to work. I’m just extremely happy and excited to be in this position and come into such a great organization and compete.”

Strengths: Greene had outstanding on-field production at Rutgers, including the year he spent at free safety (2010) where he was a second-team All-Big East selection. As a linebacker, Greene won 2012 Big-East Defensive Player of the Year honors when he led the Scarlet Knights with 136 tackles. He had 141 tackles the previous year as the conference’s co-Defensive Player of the Year. Considering his prior experience at safety, Greene is viewed by the Bears as a versatile player who can handle multiple linebacker spots if necessary. Greene likely projects to be a quality special teams contributor this upcoming season if he doesn’t earn a starting spot.

Weaknesses: Some analysts believe Greene’s numbers at Rutgers were inflated. He probably needs to bulk up to be a viable choice to fill in on the strong side.

By the numbers: Greene is 6-0, 241 pounds. He ran an average 40-yard dash time of 4.71 at the NFL Combine.

What it means: The Bears definitely got younger at linebacker with the pickups of Greene and second-round pick Jonathan Bostic. If both players develop, the Bears are set up for the future. In a perfect world, the Bears probably wanted to target another interior offensive lineman in the fourth-round, but with the board falling the way it did, Greene figured to be an acceptable choice. Most draft analysts had a second-to-third round grade on Greene, so this could be viewed as a great value pick.

Next: Barring a trade, the Bears will next be on the clock in the fifth round with the 153rd overall selection. Look for the Bears to possibly grab a cornerback next round, or perhaps a wide receiver depending on who comes off the board in the next round of picks.

Florida LB Bostic edges out field

April, 26, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With three linebackers flying off the board early on Day 2 -- Manti Te'o (No. 38), Kevin Minter (No. 45) and Kiko Alonso (No. 46) -- the Chicago Bears joined the party at No. 50 and selected University of Florida inside linebacker Jonathan Bostic to complement the offseason additions of veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson.

Linebacker was a must for the Bears.

Bears general manager Phil Emery needed to find a young linebacker to push Williams and Anderson for starting jobs, while at the same time providing the club with insurance in the event one of the front line guys went down with an injury.

“The reason we like Jon -- he’s a three-position linebacker,” Emery said. “We felt it was very important that if we were going to take a linebacker in the second round, that we get somebody who can immediately fill in at all three spots. If one of our starters was not available due to injury, that he could fill in immediately and we would have a good football player in place right now.

“Obviously he’ll be given the opportunity to earn a starting job. We see him as a future starter.”

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: 2nd-round pick Bostic

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
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Jonathan BosticJamie Rhodes/US PresswireThe Bears added another linebacker Friday, selecting Jonathan Bostic in the second round.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Here's a look at the Chicago Bears' second-round pick, linebacker Jonathan Bostic of the University of Florida.

Bostic started 13 games for the Gators last season at middle linebacker and finished with 68 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

The Bears hosted Bostic for a pre-draft visit.

(Read full post)

Kyle Long made most of his chances

April, 26, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- New Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long readily admits his meteoric rise up the draft charts to the 20th overall pick Thursday wouldn’t have been possible without an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

[+] EnlargeKyle Long
John Green/CSM/ AP ImagesKyle Long lacks experience but has top-shelf physical tools.
But now that he’s here, the plan is to make the organization and fan base thankful for making the decision, despite limited experience (five games) as a starter at Oregon.

“If it weren’t for the invite to the Senior Bowl that I got the opportunity to play against the elite competition that was there, I’d probably still be waiting around,” Long said.

He’s probably correct. Still, there’s no denying the buzz Long created in the scouting community with a few dominant workouts at the Senior Bowl, despite missing practice time due to a bout with the flu. Long’s performance made already-interested teams want to look deeper.

Of all the teams poking and prodding at Long during the pre-draft process, the Bears, he said, had done the most homework.

Perhaps the work wouldn’t have even been done by the Bears if not for a little persistence last season on Long’s part.

Rotating at offensive tackle with Tyler Johnstone in 2012, Long didn’t make his first start until Nov. 13 at USC. At first, Long was fine with the rotation because Oregon’s uptempo offensive attack produced so many snaps that it allowed him to play 45 to 50 snaps per game. Long felt that was sufficient enough for him to build game film for a shot at the NFL.

(Read full post)

Howie Long glad his son headed to Chicago

April, 26, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long couldn't be happier to see his son land in Chicago.

"This is to me one of the crown-jewel franchises in football," Howie Long said Friday after his son Kyle, an offensive lineman, was chosen with the Bears’ first pick. "There’s not a lot of them. The town, the history of the organization, the great players who’ve played here, the expectations in the building, it’s important.

“And it doesn’t hurt to have a franchise quarterback, much as that pains me to say.”

(Read full post)

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