Chicago Draft Needs
Bears face an uncertain offseason
The NFL combine is the first off-season action NFL fans get. The off-season can be a cold and hard time for fans to have to wait until week one, but the combine gives people a hint of what to expect on draft day.
The Chicago Bears’ staff especially needs a good draft to avoid filing for unemployment if another 3-13 season happens. However, teams don’t find wins just by drafting well in the first round. The Bears’ third overall pick is very valuable, but it’s what the Bears do in the later rounds that can impact how many wins they get in the 2017 season.
We all know by now that Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round with the 199th pick. Brady is not the only star to get drafted that late.
Players like Antonio Brown, Kam Chancellor, and Chicago’s own Jordan Howard were all drafted in the 5th round or later. Who is a sleeper for the Bears to target?
There is a lot of holes on this Bears’ roster, but a big one is at the wide receiver position. With Jeffery possibly on the way out, and who knows if Kevin White will ever actually play, and the rest of the club nearly leading the league in drops last season, whoever is the gunslinger next season is going to need something to work with.
A sleeper wide out for the Bears’ to look at is Josh Malone from the University of Tennessee. Malone arguably left a little early, skipping out on his senior year. He had an impressive junior year, nonetheless, racking up 972 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Malone still has a lot to prove at the combine, but this is a player who was in an offensive scheme that ran the ball, a lot. Between QB Josh Dobbs and RB Alvin Kamara, a lot of the play calling went to the run game.
Anytime teams find sleepers, it isn’t so much because of the stats. It is how they made the most out of their limited opportunities. Just look up any of Malone’s highlights and you will see that nearly all of his big catches were contested balls that he came up with. Watch all 11 of his scores this season; only two of Malone’s scores were blown coverages. The rest of Malone’s scores were either contested balls he came down with or he beat his DB flat out.
The key catches are his ones against Virginia Tech and Florida. His touchdown against Tech shows his ability to win those 50/50 balls. His touchdown run against Florida shows what he can do after the catch. Throw him more passes and his stats skyrocket. This is a player the Bears can snag in a later round who can help build their nearly non-existent wide receiver corps.