Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright drops by to chat and answer all of your Bears questions.
Wright joined ESPNChicago.com in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University.
Send your questions now and join Wright Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:00 PM)
Thanks everyone for stopping by to chat. Finally the NFL draft is over, but the work is just about to get started now with the rookie minicamp this weekend.
Michael G. (Villa Park) [via mobile]
I question their 2nd round pick in Ego. It feels like a bigger stretch than Kyle Long last year. What was the thought behind the pick considering itger better talent being there at that spot?
Michael (1:04 PM)
Was there better talent, Michael? I keep telling people to stop focusing on these pre-draft publications and what the draft experts say. Their livelihoods don't depend on hitting on these picks the way the scouts and GMs' do. A scout I trust told me that Ferguson has "better athleticism than several think" and is a good fit for "how Mel wants the defensive front to play next year." The scout went on to add that he's "good vs. the run w/upside athletically as a rusher" and that Ferguson has "similarities to Jay Ratliff when he was at Auburn." Even after the draft Phil Emery said he went in to watch a bunch of tape of Ferguson because they already had him targeted as a potential pick. On that film, what Emery saw is that teams simply couldn't run on Ferguson. Remember, this is a team coming off the worst season in franchise history in terms of stopping the run. Stopping the run is always the No. 1 priority for a defense.
Who was your favorite pick/value by Emery?
Michael (1:05 PM)
Easy, Ka'Deem Carey. Carey was considered by some scouts to be the best running back in the entire draft. People try to say he's slow, but you don't put together back to back 1,900 and 1,800-yard seasons in a major college conference if you can't run away from people. So what he doesn't time well. The game speed is always different. Plus, I like Carey's brusing style.
Mark F. (Chicago)
You stated that you believed this was Phil Emery's best draft. How do you know this when none of the drafted players have played a down.
Michael (1:07 PM)
I don't know. In fact, every one of the guys he took could wind up being busts. But in this time of instant reaction/analysis, did you want me to say "I don't know how to look at this draft because they haven't played a down," and then end the story there? Would you have read that?
Do you enjoy the draft? I find myself getting too excited and then having to remind myself that it is really a tossup which of these players end up having any impact.
Michael (1:08 PM)
Not really, Ricky. It's a long drawn-out process. I'm more partial to actual football, starting with training camp. Training camp is always my favorite time of the NFL schedule because by the time it starts, you've been away from it for so long that you can't wait to get back to it.
Mike, I'm fairly happy with what Emery did, but I still can't get over this Ego Ferguson pick. With everything I had read about him, he was a late 3rd round pick and has minimal college production. Ease my concern man!Also, how do you feel about the Bears picking up Christian Jones as a UDFA? Loved that pickup.
Michael (1:09 PM)
Do you anticipate another move bringing the Bears another safety or are they content with who they have on the roster currently?
Michael (1:11 PM)
Scott, Phil Emery is NEVER, I repeat, NEVER content. With all the draft picks and undrafted rookie signings, Emery expects teams to start dumping some of the veterans onto the open market. So he anticipates some players being available pretty soon from that secondary market, where they might be able to bring in a safety capable of challenging for a starting gig.
Chris Atlanta, Georgia [via mobile]
What do you think about Emery taking Kyle Fuller over Calvin Pryor?
Michael (1:13 PM)
Think about it like this: the Bears say they went into the draft with six targeted players and three of them were still on the board at No. 14. So my guess was those three were Fuller, Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and they chose Fuller. So Fuller must have been their favorite player. I talked to a source just a couple of days ago that told me the Bears looked at Fuller and Oklahoma's Aaron Colvin as the best cornerbacks in the draft. Obviously, you don't take Colvin with that first-round pick with him coming off that knee injury.
Ryan Z (Indianapolis)
Michael, do you think everyone would be losing their minds over ego if he was taken 3rd round? In essence the pick was the same, because half of everyone who boo'ed emery for the ferguson pick wanted him to take sutten......guess what he did, in the third round. So can we just swtich the twos draft position and stop talking about it.
Michael (1:14 PM)
I think you answered your own question. And I agree with you.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
Now that Emery has been around awhile, what are the biggest differences that you see between him and Angelo?
Michael (1:15 PM)
The biggest difference is I think Emery is probably more inclusive, and empowers the other personnel guys to have a real say in what this team does. Angelo wasn't a dictator or anything, but sometimes the scouts didn't feel he let them fully do their jobs.
So, yeah, Kyle fuller pick? Looks like CB was a high priority after all. But, did the Bears have DT Donald higher on their board?
Michael (1:16 PM)
I think if Donald would have been available, the Bears would have taken him. I heard when Donald went off the board at No. 13 to St. Louis, the Bears weren't upset at all, and in fact were celebrating because they knew they'd be able to get Fuller.
Mike, it seems to me that the Bears did a good job of filling need positions through the draft. What do you see as un-addressed areas of need on the roster right now?
Michael (1:17 PM)
Matt, even though the Bears drafted a couple of linebackers last year, I still think depth at that position is relatively thin. What happens if D.J. Williams goes down again this season? You'd probably have to use Jonathan Bostic at the Mike. But then, who would be your Sam? See what I'm saying?
Rob Hartwell (Brigus)
Thoughts on the Bears passing on Louis Nix twice?
Michael (1:19 PM)
Lots of people passed on Nix. A whole lot. So again, it's important for us observers to not become overly reliant on these pre-draft publications and experts because it's clear these teams see the players quite a bit differently. Even from team to team the personnel folks view these prospects quite a bit differently. While Nix was dropping like a rock, I texted a personnel man I know about him and asked why he was falling. His response: "Maybe stamina/endurance, effort/attitude, consistency/speed. Also, not a true fit for some teams and I've had friends from other clubs say he didn't interview well."
Big Ran (Manteno IL)
Why draft a punter when we could of picked one that wasn't drafted or on waivers. Thought we could of drafted a safety with that pick. It would of been o long shot to make the team but same thing with this punter.
Michael (1:21 PM)
You draft the player because you like him. It's apparent that at that spot, the Bears didn't like any of the available safeties. Also, when you draft a punter, most of the time you're expecting him to make the team otherwise, you'd do exactly what you just said: grab one that wasn't drafted or one off the street.
Ron Dayne had two 2k yard seasons in college, so yes, slow RB's can put up big collegiate numbers. You can always find marginal backup rb's off the waiver wire. Bears should have gone for more secondary or pick a linebacker in that spot.
Michael (1:22 PM)
If I recall correctly, Arian Foster timed badly coming out of college too.
Tom (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
While a lot of people are down on drafting the only punter in the draft, it seems to me that the Bears got the best punter (at least to them) in the draft. And at virtually no signing bonus and for much less than they were paying Podlesh (to be below average)...Do you agree that this selection was both a football decision and a salary cap decision?
Michael (1:22 PM)
FERNANDO (SOUTH CAROLINA )
Why would the bears sign jordan lynch as a qb then switch him to running back
Michael (1:24 PM)
I'm scratching my head on that one, too, Fernando. But Emery said that he really likes Lynch's toughness, and instincts as a runner. I halfway wonder whether they try Lynch at running back, then decide to try to give him some reps at quarterback. But I'm with you. I haven't seen enough of Lynch running the ball to really have an opinion to how he'll transition over to the running back position.
The "Foster was slow too so Carey was a good pick" rationale is so absurd. So I guess every team should wait til the 6th round to take a QB since Brady worked out? Surely you can offer up better analysis that that!
Michael (1:25 PM)
Well, as I said, many scouts I've talked to considered him to be the best running back in the draft. Heard that from at least three scouts not associated with the Bears. That's good enough for me.
Andy - champaign IL [via mobile]
Michael do you think the bears have done enough to make this defense a playoff caliber unit? Including FA acquisitions and draft
Michael (1:27 PM)
This is a lame answer, but we really won't know until they strap on the pads and go at it. I think you should look deeper than just the additions in free agency and the draft. Look at what they did with the coaching staff. Last season, the Bears played alright on defense before they started having injuries. When that happened, lots of young players were forced to play a ton of minutes and they struggled because the position coaches teaching them simply weren't very good at it. That's why the Bears went out and added some assistants to help Mel Tucker, because he couldn't be everywhere at once.
Can you tell me about Christian Jones? How does a 2nd to 3rd round projected pick go undrafted? can't just be the drug test right?
Michael (1:32 PM)
Bergs, you ever notice how when it comes to the really talented players, teams are never deterred by a little thing like a failed drug test? I'm being sarcastic, but also keeping it real. You're right that Christian Jones is a heck of a talent. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. So it's obvious Jones is a tremendous athlete. But a lot of teams just didn't see Jones as a scheme fit. Also, he could probably stand to improve his awareness, and he also struggles to get off blocks sometimes. I definitely think he'll be one of the undrafted free agents that make this team. So call this one a score for the Chicago Bears.
Michael (1:33 PM)
Guys that's my time. One thing I've always enjoyed about covering the Chicago Bears is the strong opinions always shared by the fan base. Keep them coming because it keeps guys like me on my toes. Again, thanks everyone for coming. See you next week.