Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
AZBearsFan

Reassessing the RB Draft at the 11th Hour

Recommended Posts

13 hours ago, WindyCity said:

We are drafting deep backups at spots other than TE and RB, I am not sure how married to his picks he is going to be.

Expecting even a TE or RB at 87 to be higher than RB3 or TE3 in 2019 at least early on (not saying they can’t be, but expecting it) is a stretch IMO given where we are picking. If we get two 2019 even semi-regular contributors out of the 5 picks we have at non-kicker positions then that’s a pretty good draft IMO. You’ve already made up your mind about Shaheen though and we disagree on that. 

It was interesting to hear Pace name drop Ryan Nall today at his presser. I don’t really see a role for him outside of maybe as a short yardage back and I suspect that the name drop had intentions that have nothing to do with Nall’s abilities, but interesting nonetheless. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, abstract_thought said:

In the past 5 drafts we've seen 8, 6, 3, 7, and 5 backs drafted before pick 87. If that rate continues, the best available will be something like Hill, Singletary, Williams, and Ozigbo.

Fans and analysts tend to overstate the devaluation of the position. RBs are still being drafted in large quantities.

I'm thinking more along the same lines as you are especially since there is a pile of mid round caliber backs this year.

That's an average of 5.8 backs per year so let's say that 6 backs will go before #87.  The top four are pretty obvious and then we'd probably need to list 4 more two of which would be gone.  Now out of the top ten there are 4 left and those are who we'll have to choose from.

If I go strictly by their NFL rankings and toss out Rodney Anderson over injury concerns those four could be; Mattison, Armstead, T Will, and Singletary and at one time or another all have been seen as possibilities for the Bears. 

Going on into and to the end of round four we could probably add Hill and Ozigbo to the list to round out the top 12 back.  Forgetting all else and playing it strictly by the numbers which is about all mocks can do our pick should be one of those six.

If Pace and Nagy truly like who they have now and want to add a home run hitter type to round out the backfield Dan Wiederer makes a case for Justice Hill.

Will Justice prevail?

Figure out where you’d like to start. It doesn’t matter really. With Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, the eye-catching moments are easy to find.

If you want the best game from Hill’s best season, drop right into the Cowboys’ November 2017 shootout loss to then-No. 5 Oklahoma. That afternoon Hill ripped through the Sooners defense for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns, uncorking a display full of jump-cuts, spins, jukes and sprints.

In three seasons at Oklahoma State, Hill did a lot of that on his way to 3,539 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.

If you need measurables to back up that tape, then perhaps scan through Hill’s combine testing from February. His 4.40-second 40-yard dash time was the fastest among running backs. Same goes for his 40-inch vertical leap.

And if you’re curious about potential fit for the running back-needy Bears? Spend a little more time familiarizing yourself with Hill’s running style and it becomes easy to see how Bears coach Matt Nagy might use a back this quick, this slippery, this intelligent, this competitive.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is, by his own admission, “a big fan.” “Big-time juice,” Jeremiah says of Hill. “Just ultra twitched up. He’s a home-run hitter.”

Adds ESPN draft expert Todd McShay: “He can fly. And his (combine) workout backed up some of the explosive plays you see on tape.

“Now, he benefited from an offensive system that was a spread. And he had creases that he could exploit. But as a change-of-pace back and a guy who can catch the football and you can move him around a little bit, you’ll get some big-play opportunities.”

It’s widely believed the Bears are looking to add to a playmaker to their backfield. Last month’s trade that sent Jordan Howard to the Eagles was far from a surprise to those who had been paying close attention and understand Nagy’s desire to add explosiveness and versatility to his backfield. But that deal also accentuated the need for the Bears to use this draft to find the right guy to replace Howard and better his production.

Now the pressure’s on. Nagy, Pace and their talent evaluators must identify a young playmaker to help lift their offense to the next level.

The Bears aren’t scheduled to pick until Round 3 and pick No. 87 on Friday night. Thus they’ll likely have to wait awhile to make their splash. But this year’s running back class has enough quality depth to offer a pretty appealing menu as the Bears look to order a back late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.

At the combine in February, Nagy emphasized how he values running backs with vision and the ability to make tacklers miss. He also mentioned his affinity for hybrid backs who seamlessly become weapons in the passing game.

Pie-in-the-sky dreamers see Penn State’s Miles Sanders as the ideal fit, an elusive, multidimensional back with a great feel for the game. But most draft experts would be stunned if Sanders were still on the board when the Bears go on the clock for the first time.

Iowa State’s David Montgomery also will be on the radar. He’s a reliable back with good vision and instincts who has the potential to become a starter in Week 1. And Memphis’ Darrell Henderson often seems like a Mentos tablet waiting to be dropped into a 2-liter bottle of Coke after leading the Football Bowl Subdivision last season with an average of 8.9 yards per carry and 15 runs of more than 40 yards.

Justice Hill

Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill runs the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine on March 1, 2019. (Michael Conroy / AP)

Still, it’s difficult to sleep on Hill, who operates with the kind of competitive electricity that would immediately endear him to Nagy. Hill plays fast. He plays hard. He has the balance and toughness to run through contact and the burst and wiggle to avoid it in the first place.

As a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Hill also believes his brain will aid his transition to the next level. “It helps you learn easier,” he says. “You just look at a play and you learn it. … I’m a competitor and I like to compete, no matter what the field is. If it’s football, if it’s school work, I’m just trying to compete. And I’m taking that (mindset) and moving on to the next level.”

Throughout the pre-draft process, Hill has had to handle questions about his size. At 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, he’ll have to prove that won’t be an issue in the NFL. Furthermore, he missed the final three games of last season with injured ribs and then couldn’t complete all of his testing and drill work at the combine after he tweaked a hamstring.

Plus his pass-catching prowess — 49 catches over three seasons — wasn’t exactly elite. But around league circles, Hill’s receiving numbers are seen as more of a byproduct of the Oklahoma State system than a knock on the running back’s ability.

At the combine in February, Hill identified LaDainian Tomlinson as the running back he most admired growing up and Christian McCaffrey as his current favorite back. He also offered a simple self-endorsement heading into the draft.

“I bring a little bit of everything to the table,” he said. “I’m an explosive runner. I’m a big-play guy. If you get the ball in my hand, I’m going to make something happen.”

Edited by soulman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, soulman said:

I'm thinking more along the same lines as you are especially since there is a pile of mid round caliber backs this year.

That's an average of 5.8 backs per year so let's say that 6 backs will go before #87.  The top four are pretty obvious and then we'd probably need to list 4 more two of which would be gone.  Now out of the top ten there are 4 left and those are who we'll have to choose from.

If I go strictly by their NFL rankings and toss out Rodney Anderson over injury concerns those four could be; Mattison, Armstead, T Will, and Singletary and at one time or another all have been seen as possibilities for the Bears. 

Going on into and to the end of round four we could probably add Hill and Ozigbo to the list to round out the top 12 back.  Forgetting all else and playing it strictly by the numbers which is about all mocks can do our pick should be one of those six.

If Pace and Nagy truly like who they have now and want to add a home run hitter type to round out the backfield Dan Wiederer makes a case for Justice Hill.

Will Justice prevail?

Figure out where you’d like to start. It doesn’t matter really. With Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, the eye-catching moments are easy to find.

If you want the best game from Hill’s best season, drop right into the Cowboys’ November 2017 shootout loss to then-No. 5 Oklahoma. That afternoon Hill ripped through the Sooners defense for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns, uncorking a display full of jump-cuts, spins, jukes and sprints.

In three seasons at Oklahoma State, Hill did a lot of that on his way to 3,539 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.

If you need measurables to back up that tape, then perhaps scan through Hill’s combine testing from February. His 4.40-second 40-yard dash time was the fastest among running backs. Same goes for his 40-inch vertical leap.

And if you’re curious about potential fit for the running back-needy Bears? Spend a little more time familiarizing yourself with Hill’s running style and it becomes easy to see how Bears coach Matt Nagy might use a back this quick, this slippery, this intelligent, this competitive.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is, by his own admission, “a big fan.” “Big-time juice,” Jeremiah says of Hill. “Just ultra twitched up. He’s a home-run hitter.”

Adds ESPN draft expert Todd McShay: “He can fly. And his (combine) workout backed up some of the explosive plays you see on tape.

“Now, he benefited from an offensive system that was a spread. And he had creases that he could exploit. But as a change-of-pace back and a guy who can catch the football and you can move him around a little bit, you’ll get some big-play opportunities.”

It’s widely believed the Bears are looking to add to a playmaker to their backfield. Last month’s trade that sent Jordan Howard to the Eagles was far from a surprise to those who had been paying close attention and understand Nagy’s desire to add explosiveness and versatility to his backfield. But that deal also accentuated the need for the Bears to use this draft to find the right guy to replace Howard and better his production.

Now the pressure’s on. Nagy, Pace and their talent evaluators must identify a young playmaker to help lift their offense to the next level.

The Bears aren’t scheduled to pick until Round 3 and pick No. 87 on Friday night. Thus they’ll likely have to wait awhile to make their splash. But this year’s running back class has enough quality depth to offer a pretty appealing menu as the Bears look to order a back late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.

At the combine in February, Nagy emphasized how he values running backs with vision and the ability to make tacklers miss. He also mentioned his affinity for hybrid backs who seamlessly become weapons in the passing game.

Pie-in-the-sky dreamers see Penn State’s Miles Sanders as the ideal fit, an elusive, multidimensional back with a great feel for the game. But most draft experts would be stunned if Sanders were still on the board when the Bears go on the clock for the first time.

Iowa State’s David Montgomery also will be on the radar. He’s a reliable back with good vision and instincts who has the potential to become a starter in Week 1. And Memphis’ Darrell Henderson often seems like a Mentos tablet waiting to be dropped into a 2-liter bottle of Coke after leading the Football Bowl Subdivision last season with an average of 8.9 yards per carry and 15 runs of more than 40 yards.

Justice Hill

Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill runs the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine on March 1, 2019. (Michael Conroy / AP)

Still, it’s difficult to sleep on Hill, who operates with the kind of competitive electricity that would immediately endear him to Nagy. Hill plays fast. He plays hard. He has the balance and toughness to run through contact and the burst and wiggle to avoid it in the first place.

As a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Hill also believes his brain will aid his transition to the next level. “It helps you learn easier,” he says. “You just look at a play and you learn it. … I’m a competitor and I like to compete, no matter what the field is. If it’s football, if it’s school work, I’m just trying to compete. And I’m taking that (mindset) and moving on to the next level.”

Throughout the pre-draft process, Hill has had to handle questions about his size. At 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, he’ll have to prove that won’t be an issue in the NFL. Furthermore, he missed the final three games of last season with injured ribs and then couldn’t complete all of his testing and drill work at the combine after he tweaked a hamstring.

Plus his pass-catching prowess — 49 catches over three seasons — wasn’t exactly elite. But around league circles, Hill’s receiving numbers are seen as more of a byproduct of the Oklahoma State system than a knock on the running back’s ability.

At the combine in February, Hill identified LaDainian Tomlinson as the running back he most admired growing up and Christian McCaffrey as his current favorite back. He also offered a simple self-endorsement heading into the draft.

“I bring a little bit of everything to the table,” he said. “I’m an explosive runner. I’m a big-play guy. If you get the ball in my hand, I’m going to make something happen.”

No secret that I would be thrilled with Hill on the Bears.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, AZBearsFan said:

Expecting even a TE or RB at 87 to be higher than RB3 or TE3 in 2019 at least early on (not saying they can’t be, but expecting it) is a stretch IMO given where we are picking. If we get two 2019 even semi-regular contributors out of the 5 picks we have at non-kicker positions then that’s a pretty good draft IMO. You’ve already made up your mind about Shaheen though and we disagree on that. 

It was interesting to hear Pace name drop Ryan Nall today at his presser. I don’t really see a role for him outside of maybe as a short yardage back and I suspect that the name drop had intentions that have nothing to do with Nall’s abilities, but interesting nonetheless. 

You are drafting edge 4/5 and CB 4/5 at that spot as well.

A RB or TE  drafted at 87 is going to compete to be the #2 player. Right now they are competing against Adam Shaheen and at RB, Ryan Nall. That is a lot different than competing with Aaron Lynch and McManis/Tolliver.

I have not made up my mind on Shaheen, but I am not comfortable just handing him the #2 spot without depth and competition.  If a draft pick and Shaheen are  both good and able to stay healthy, perfect, cut Trey "the Lock Up" Burton in 2020 and save 8 million that you can move to other spots.                                                     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Hill. I think he would add scary speed and explosiveness to the offense.

If you are really committed to the committee approach would be even more interested as you could guarantee Hill does not get too many touches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

I like Hill. I think he would add scary speed and explosiveness to the offense.

If you are really committed to the committee approach would be even more interested as you could guarantee Hill does not get too many touches.

I liked his tape before combine happened, but his jumps and speed at combine really sealed it for me.  Jumping ability to me has always been a bigger tell of pure football athletic ability than 40 time.   When you can do both you don't know someone can play and you don't know heart, drive or intelligence, but you know they are an athlete.

Walter Payton could jump out of the gym.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

I like Hill. I think he would add scary speed and explosiveness to the offense.

If you are really committed to the committee approach would be even more interested as you could guarantee Hill does not get too many touches.

I like offensive guys who when they come on field you have to note it and have a plan or they can or will really hurt you.  Guys that draw attention so that it opens other guys up.  Guys that you have to change personnel for.  Guys that can get chunk yards if you don't overly respect them.  Cohen and Patterson are two of those guys.  I think Hill could be a third.

A lot of times because of design and/or slighter build of those guys you can't over use them or they will get hurt.  Or maybe they do two things well, but not three.  

But if you have a stable of them ...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

You are drafting edge 4/5 and CB 4/5 at that spot as well.

A RB or TE  drafted at 87 is going to compete to be the #2 player. Right now they are competing against Adam Shaheen and at RB, Ryan Nall. That is a lot different than competing with Aaron Lynch and McManis/Tolliver.

I have not made up my mind on Shaheen, but I am not comfortable just handing him the #2 spot without depth and competition.  If a draft pick and Shaheen are  both good and able to stay healthy, perfect, cut Trey "the Lock Up" Burton in 2020 and save 8 million that you can move to other spots.                                                     

I don’t see a guy like Oliver competing with Shaheen. Oliver isn’t playing Y in 2019 - everything I read about him suggests that he’s a well below adequate blocker for any inline duties at this point, so I see him for 2019 as passing game role player competing more with Wims and Patterson for reps. 

Agree a RB has a decent chance to get a regular role but that’s going to almost certainly lay he #3 at least for 2019 behind Davis and Cohen, who unless Nagy converts to more of a receiver is still going to get about 1/3 of the backfield RB snaps. I figure Davis for about 50% of the RB snaps at least this year and if that holds up you’re talking about a guy looking at about 10 snaps a game in 2019 outside of injury or maybe less. We are going to run some empty sets too without question.  Also re: RB:

Something to keep in mind this weekend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, AZBearsFan said:

I don’t see a guy like Oliver competing with Shaheen. Oliver isn’t playing Y in 2019 - everything I read about him suggests that he’s a well below adequate blocker for any inline duties at this point, so I see him for 2019 as passing game role player competing more with Wims and Patterson for reps. 

Agree a RB has a decent chance to get a regular role but that’s going to almost certainly lay he #3 at least for 2019 behind Davis and Cohen, who unless Nagy converts to more of a receiver is still going to get about 1/3 of the backfield RB snaps. I figure Davis for about 50% of the RB snaps at least this year and if that holds up you’re talking about a guy looking at about 10 snaps a game in 2019 outside of injury or maybe less. We are going to run some empty sets too without question.  Also re: RB:

Something to keep in mind this weekend. 

I think Oliver's lack of blocking, when you consider Shaheen improved to mediocre as a blocker, will be offset by what he adds in the passing game and the Bears will have Shaheen when they need a big dude to lurch on the field in obvious blocking situations.

They need another weapon in the passing game at TE, they cannot be a Burton injury away from making massive changes to their offense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this years TE group is stacked

Hockeson

Fant

Irv Smith

Strenberger

Knox

Warring

Oliver

Rare to see that type of depth in really athletic TE prospects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As if we didn't already have enough mystery and confusion Andrew Dannehy adds a little more.  Here he reminds us of Pace's unpredictable nature.

ATM: Don’t Let The Bears Surprise You

https://dabearsblog.com/2019/atm-dont-let-the-bears-surprise-you

212bf710fe9dfd56c9762bf769cdf891?s=16&d= Andrew Dannehy | April 23rd, 2019

acrossmiddle.jpg?resize=1024%2C321

If there’s one thing Ryan Pace has done consistently during his time with the Bears it’s draft with the big picture in mind, often surprising fans with his selections.

It’s also been clear that Pace doesn’t always see the team’s needs the same way as fans and media members do.

• In 2015, Pace used the seventh pick on Kevin White after signing Eddie Royal to a big contract and already having Alshon Jeffery onboard. Later in that draft he took Jeremy Langford with Matt Forte coming off of a career year.

• In 2016, Pace traded up for Leonard Floyd despite having Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Later he took Cody Whitehair, a move that led to the release of fan-favorite Matt Slauson. He then drafted Nick Kwiatkoski despite having just signed Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman.

• In 2017, Pace took Mitch Trubisky shortly after signing Mike Glennon, grabbed Adam Shahen after signing Dion Sims and took Tarik Cohen after Jordan Howard’s breakout rookie season.

• In 2018, Pace drafted Roquan Smith despite still having Trevathan and Kwiatkowski, then grabbed yet another inside linebacker, Joel Iyiegbuniwe. He later traded up to take Anthony Miller after signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel then took Javon Wims in the seventh round.

 

Not all of those picks were complete shocks, but they certainly weren’t expected either. The Bears only have five draft picks this year and while much of the focus has been on running back, don’t overlook what else the Bears might do.

Here are a few things that shouldn’t surprise you:

• The Bears draft an offensive guard before they draft a running back. Kyle Long’s injury history tells us this would be a wise investment and if Long isn’t able to stay healthy in 2019, they’ll need to replace him.

• They continue to add wide receivers. Kansas City has drafted six wide receivers over the past four years, including spending a fourth-round pick on Jehu Chesson a year after taking Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson. In 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles spent two picks on wide receivers after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to team with Nelson Agholor.

Wide receivers are an important part to this offense and the Bears have to have an eye on the future. They can’t continue to pay premium prices for players like Robinson and Gabriel, eventually they have to draft and develop their own. This is a topic I touched on a couple of weeks ago.

• The Bears take an outside cornerback with their third round pick. Take a look at Prince Amukamara’s injury history and this makes a lot of sense. A cornerback would provide depth right away and become a starter next year.

• They wait longer to take a running back than most think. A lot of people are penciling a back at Pick 87, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t until later on Day Three. Mike Davis is being paid to play quite a bit this year, if the Bears can’t add a dynamic all-purpose back, it seems like they may wait and try to find someone to fill and expand what they did with Taquan Mizzell in 2018. Hey look, I already wrote about that too. 

• They trade up and grab a dynamic running back. They key part of the last point was “if they can’t add a dynamic all-purpose back.” But, what if they can? What if the Bears are in striking distance of Miles Sanders or Darrell Henderson and they think that player can do for the offense what Kareem Hunt did for Kansas City in 2017? They should absolutely move up and grab him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

I think Oliver's lack of blocking, when you consider Shaheen improved to mediocre as a blocker, will be offset by what he adds in the passing game and the Bears will have Shaheen when they need a big dude to lurch on the field in obvious blocking situations.

They need another weapon in the passing game at TE, they cannot be a Burton injury away from making massive changes to their offense.

A healthy Shaheen developed into a good blocker in 2017.  He was a poor blocker in college and that was noted concern of mine and others.  Coming out he was actually more suited for that U role.  But his huge body screamed Y.  

But Shaheen is a huge man and a different body type than Oliver so transition was more natural.  Oliver, while I admittedly haven't looked at him much, is much more of a U player.  

Warring is more a hybrid between a U and a Y.   He is a bit more raw though, but still a nicer piece of clay.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

I think Oliver's lack of blocking, when you consider Shaheen improved to mediocre as a blocker, will be offset by what he adds in the passing game and the Bears will have Shaheen when they need a big dude to lurch on the field in obvious blocking situations.

They need another weapon in the passing game at TE, they cannot be a Burton injury away from making massive changes to their offense.

IF we draft a TE it would seem to make the most sense to take an "F" or "U" type guy who can threaten the seam and deep middle.

Shaheen's blocking has been OK and will probably improve.  He's not a guy whose gonna stretch a defense as a receiver but he'll be effective on shorter routes and in the red zone.  I'd like to see him playing a little lighter though.

When we line up with two "Y" TEs Nagy can use Sowell or Braunecker so the need for another "Y" TE just isn't there.  If Pace wants another TE from this draft he may have to prioritize that position over RB or another position.

The nearer we get to lift off the more I can see him either grabbing his top guy at #87 or if that player is off the board dropping back into early round four for another 5th round pick and have two in each round plus two 7ths.

Of course to do that he'd have to find a trading partner and that makes projecting it really tough to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We got rid of Howard because he is a non-factor in the passing game. Nagy wants everyone on the field to be a threat so he can be unpredictable and so teams cannot double people, but some how we are okay with Shaheen playing a major role even though at this point he is a non factor in the passing game.

He is Howard at a different position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

We got rid of Howard because he is a non-factor in the passing game. Nagy wants everyone on the field to be a threat so he can be unpredictable and so teams cannot double people, but some how we are okay with Shaheen playing a major role even though at this point he is a non factor in the passing game.

He is Howard at a different position.

I don't assume that's not fixable.  Shaheen was a very good receiver in college albeit in a lower level division.

Given where he started out and missing a year or nearly a year with a serious injury I'm not sure we can call it just yet.

But I agree we do need another TE who can threaten in the passing game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



×