Posts Tagged ‘Hakeem Nicks’
The Chicago Bears made a move downward as had been rumored by the Chicago SunTimes this morning the Bears traded the 49th pick in the draft to the Seattle Seahawks.
Trying to recoup picks from the Jay Cutler trade landed No. 68 in Round 3 and No. 105 in Round 4 from Seattle.
The trade means the Bears will not be selecting on the first day of the NFL draft today. We’ll have more on possible selections later tonight. Looks like the Bears may go with a WR in the third and address more needs on defense in the third and the fourth rounds.
Angelo came out and said that the Bears did try to get a deal done for Anquan Boldin. They spoke at length with the Arizona Cardinals but were unable to come to an agreement.
They had hoped things would fall better for them regarding some of the WRs they were targeting. They were obviously looking at Nicks, Robiskie and Britt. Two of those three went in round one, Robiskie early in round two and Mohammed Massaquoi went #50 to the Cleveland Browns immediately after the Bears traded 49 to Seattle.
Some of the other players off the board include Phil Loadholt the OT from OU, Sherrod Martin the safety from Troy, William Beatty the OT from UConn, William Moore the safety is off the board. Paul Kruger the DE from Utah is now off the board as well as David Veikune a DE from Hawaii I covered extensively at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The trade means the Bears will not be selecting on the first day of the NFL draft today. Looks like the Bears may go with a WR in the third and address more needs on defense in the third and the fourth rounds.
We’ll have more on possible selections later tonight.
Word as most draft fans know is beginning to circulate that Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana use at the NFL combine back in February. Harvin by most accounts is considered perhaps the most explosive offensive weapon in the draft and arguably a Top-15 pick in this weekend’s draft.
So already speculation has been building as to the possibility of Percy Harvin sliding all the way to the Bears at the 49th slot of the second round. I can answer this question emphatically and in a way that hopefully will put all of the speculation to rest, NO. Percy Harvin will likely not fall out of the first round of the NFL draft because to many teams see to high a value in him as a prospect and a player.
Charlie Casserly reported tonight on NFL network’s path to the draft show that three teams he already spoke with said that if Harvin begins to slide into their area he IS THEIR GUY at that draft slot. Surely they will have to answer to Harvin’s positive test, but the risk/reward factor for them will be to great to pass up. Harvin is an extremely valuable and multi-dimensional talent that will make a group of fan’s very happy when he does begin to fall in the draft.
For me personally I think Harvin is overrated and think he’ll be one of the 50-percent failure rates that happen every year in the NFL draft. I see Harvin and I see Peter Warrick from Florida State. The speed and the ability in the open field is uncanny and it’s why I look at him with a huge skeptical eye. For me the character concerns even compound the fact that I wouldn’t draft him all that high.
Now the next question generated by the speculation surrounding Harvin might be does he fall far enough to the point where the Bears can trade up to get him later in the first round? As I discussed in this previous blog post about the Bears’ trade options in moving up that idea is also nearly impossible. Most of the ammo the Bears had to trade up with they gave up in the trade for Cutler.
Now with that first part of this blog out of the way, there is reason to believe that Harvin’s positive drug test can positively effect the Bears’ chance of landing a good player in the draft at 49th overall.
A few scenarios I’d like to touch on real quick are pretty easy to follow and likely make the most sense regarding our Chicago Bears:
What I am saying here is that the Bears have been targeting three solid receivers who project well not only for the Bears’ draft needs, but could have realistically slid to the 49th spot in the NFL draft prior to the Harvin news. Now that the Harvin news has come out there is a team in the first round that will pass on Percy Harvin for another player who has Harvin’s overall value in round one. They will grab the next best player that fits into their needs that is on their big board. This will cause Harvin to begin his slide in the NFL draft to a team that may be likely to take one of Nicks, Robiskie or Britt in the first round.
B) That team will draft Harvin instead of one of those three
Since Nicks, Britt and Robiskie will begin to slide in the draft as a consequence to Harvin’s sliding it means one of those three will be closer to where the Bears are drafting at 49th overalll in the second round. A team that would otherwise be taking Nicks, Britt, or Robiskie late in the first round will now pass on them. Taking Harvin late in the first round and causing the
C) The increase in the likelihood that Britt, Robiskie, or Nicks does fall to the Bears at 49.
There was already by most accounts a chance that one of the BIG THREE will fall to the Chicago Bears. The three that have been scouted over, discussed, profiled, worked out by the Bears coaching staff and scouting personnel over and over again. These three perfectly fit the type of receiver the Bears are looking for in the first place. They fit that role that is open opposite Devin Hester who more closely resembles Harvin’s game-changing explosiveness in the open field.
The likelihood has now increased, by how much? I can’t precisely say, and no one really knows. But the good news for right now is that helped the Bears out at least indirectly. Hopefully on Saturday it will be come a direct positive effect in which the Bears benefit by landing one of the big three receivers that we have been discussing since the end of the NFL scouting combine nearly two months ago.
Right now both the wide receiver and pass rusher/under-sized DE position is one of the deepest pools of talent in this draft. Plus there is recent talk that certain pass rushers may be falling out of the first round and falling into the second round leaving the Bears on quite the quandary come draft day.
While there is little doubt that the Bears’ offense severely struggled due to the lack of a premiere pass catcher in 2008, conversely the defense lost games because of a lack of a pass rush. You can literally point to three to four games where a lack of a pass rush lost games where as the passing game was consistent enough to win games for the Bears. Plus the addition of Jay Cutler will only help the current roster of receivers improve.
All that is true but the most recent development is the recent talk that premiere pass rusher Larry English’s stock has begin to fall. Apparently at 6-foot-2 255-pounds English is to small to line up as a DE, but when you think to stand him up as a 3-4 OLB suddenly he’s to slow. Not a good problem to have if you’re Larry English, but a nice problem to have if you’re the Chicago Bears.
Why? Because English is a fearsome pass rusher, plain and simple he has speed of the edge and is going to succeed in this league. Pass rushers that are as explosive off the edge as English is are at a premium. If a team is foolish enough to pass English because he doesn’t fit into the ideals of size and speed then that’s their loss.
Another player who fits the mold of a Larry English who I can personally attest to being a great player coming out of college is Terrell Suggs at Arizona State. Suggs didn’t work out at the combine so all his eggs were in one basket at the his ASU Pro-Day. I was there personally to witness Suggs pro-day first hand with all of the NFL scouts in attendance including Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo. Suggs that day went out and ran his 40-yard-dash in the high 4.8 second range. He was as high as 4.87 on some watches and as low as 4.72 on other watches. But the consensus for Suggs was that 4.8 was as good as it was going to get for his 40-yard dash time. I personally clocked Suggs in the 4.93 40-yard dash that day in the hot sun on Astro turf at ASU.
So Suggs went from a sure fire top-five prospect to a player who steadily fell until the Ravens traded up to grab him. A few years later Suggs is a 3-4 OLB who is a consistent Pro-Bowl level player. That to me is the type of player Larry English is that burst off the edge, as Mike Mayock calls it running the arc. That is where pass rushing money is made, not in the 40-yard dash times that so many people zero in on, but that 10-20 yards a DE needs to run to sack the QB.
Two other players who fit into that late first round to mid second round category who could be considered pass rush specialists are Connor Barwin and Aaron Maybin. Both have that size at 6-foot-4 245 to 255-pounds but may fall in the draft because of their timing in the 40-yard dash or their raw abilities may fall. There is little doubt that three are pure pass rushers with threat motors.
Then there is the Brian Robiskie, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks problem. One of those three could fall as far as 49, but all three are deemed late first round worthy. There is the sense that the three together fall into nearly the same category, late first round to second round WR talent. They are among the 35th to 50th best players in the NFL draft in the scope of overall talent. They have been covered in Bears draft talk ad nauseam since the end of the NFL combine in late February. All three would be great big strong receiver who could work the underneath routes with Devin Hester taking care of the deep routes.
So while the consensus near unanimous opinion is that the Bears should take a WR with the second round pick at 49. The question is what do you do with a great pure pass rusher still on the board?
Hakeem Nicks is an intriguing prospect if there ever was one. He could have been a good pick up for the Bears at the 18th spot in the NFL draft or he could possibly even fall as low as 49th in the draft. There is no way to say where he is better in his game than either Kenny Britt or Brian Robiskie. The three fit well together for the type of receivers they are and the type of receivers the Bears needs.
For starters it’s hard to argue with Nicks’ production, his hands, his work ethic his run after the catch his route running all the things that are far more important than a guy like Heyward-Bey who has built his reputation primarily on speed. Nicks’ intangibles are greater than Heyward Bey’s and that is enough to sell me on him as a prospect. In our receiver combine report we picked up on the scouting report given by Colts GM and receiver evaluator extraordinaire Bill Polian who gave strong compliments to Nicks.
Plus if you’ve seen Nicks play (I saw two of his games) you came away impressed with his ability. Nicks is a receiver who will be productive in the NFL because he is more polished than a lot of the other WRs who have come before him. A lot of Nicks’ yards came from his solid separation in his route running in short passes that he turned into big gains with ability after the catch.
His performance in the Citrus Bowl is all you need to view to know that he is big time receiver. He almost won the game by himself with his three touchdowns and 213 yards receiving. He just would not let his team lose because of something he failed to do.
Big time receivers show up for the big games and this is one game where Nicks was shining through. As well as the conference game against Miami. He made big catches in that game as well to help put his team in position for a win.
There is little doubt that if Nicks were to fall to as low as 49th in the draft he would be considered a steal if the Bears were able to scoop him up.
That’s precisely the way one scout described this wide receiver prospect. A top level threat that goes up and catches the ball at it’s highest point with superb body control and hands. He does everything the right way the type of player you want in a receiver. He’s essentially been groomed his whole life to be a wide receiver in the NFL.
Who is this top level prospect who might wind up falling to as low as 49th pick in the second round? None other than Brian Robiskie of Ohio State who stands in at 6-foot-3 209-pounds and runs in the high 4.4 to low 4.5 40-yard dash range. Robiskie is arguably the prospect that is most NFL ready with his superb route running, ability to get off the jam at the line and get down the field and make plays on the football in traffic.
There are not a lot of negatives that scouts have written about in their analysis of Robiskie. His only down fall is that 4.3 40-yard dash speed that Larry Fitzgerald has. Plus he is not known as a great blocker in run plays against bigger players. The biggest thing that is somewhat worrisome is his lack of elite production at the college level. His senior year his production fell off a bit and his junior year production while solid wasn’t jaw dropping.
The consensus is that Robiskie will be a good player in this league for a long time to come. He understands what it takes to be good in the NFL because he’s grown up under an NFL receivers coach his whole life. His father is Terry Robiskie a 26-year coaching veteran in the NFL, who has coached receivers for most of that career. There likely isn’t a prospect more prepared mentally and physically for the NFL than Robiskie is. He knows the preparation level it takes to succeed, knows the work ethic and effort he needs to put forth to succeed.
Robiskie is the opposite of the type of prospect than Darrius Heyward Bey is. While Heyward Bey gets mega hype for his speed and game breaking ability, Robiskie is the type of player that quietly goes about his business of making plays and being consistent with his play.
Path to the Draft analysis had nothing but positives regarding Robiskie as well stating his actualy game speed may be faster than what it looks like he is in the 40-yard dash. Every time you pop in the tape you see him making a unique play, he gets in and out of his breaks well, he gets out of press coverage, he’s always open, he understands all the things you need to do succeed in any passing scheme.
One stat that lends credit to his game playing speed is that he was second in the Big-10 with catches of 20-yards or more. That says that he has the speed to get down the field and then get YAC, plus the all-important ability to go up in a crowd and come down with the football.
The more you read about Robiskie and hear about him the more you get that unanimous type of feeling that he will be a good player in the league. Should he slip far enough in the draft to the neighborhood of where the Bears will select the more important it is the Bears should draft him even if that means moving up in a realistic trade to land him.
For all the talk about the Bears trading up, to land a wide receiver at the back end of the first round or the high end of the second round there is a value system in place that most teams follow in regards the value of the slot they hold in the draft.
Each pick is assigned a point value and the value of each pick decreases as the draft picks move along. So in order to move up in the draft the Bears would probably have to give up more than what they really have. The Bears can’t trade their third round compensatory pick they received via the Bernard Berrian free agency deal. So the value they have to offer to move up is lessened quite a lot.
Just to move up to the last pick in the first round which is the 32nd overall pick in the draft the Bears would have to nearly match the point value of the 32nd pick which is 590. The value of the Bears’ second round draft pick is 410. There is 180 draft pick value points to be made up in order to equal the 590 that the 32nd overall pick is worth. The Bears’ fourth round selection #119 is worth 56 points leaving another 124 points to be made up in the draft pick point value system.
As you can see based just on that swap alone there is major obstacles facing the Bears and any attempt to move up to draft a player such as Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt or arguably Brian Robiskie.
Further reveiwing what league experts are saying about the Jay Cutler deal we come to coverage from the NFL Network. Total Access kicked off two days of essentially round the clock Cutler trade coverage.
Former NFL GM Charlie Casserly steps up to the plate to diagnose the Cutler trade first and give his take on how it benefits the Chicago Bears.
Casserly is most famous for his years with the Washington Redskins where he uncovered two of the original members of the Redskins’ famed offensive line known as “the Hogs”. From there Casserly took over as a GM and sustained Washington’s excellent up to the mid 90s. From there Casserly took over the Houston Texans were he scouted and drafted five future Pro Bowl players. Among them WR Andre Johnson, DE Mario Williams, LB DeMarco Ryans.
Casserly starts out his analysis with how the Bears offered up the best deal with two number one draft picks and the best QB option for the Broncos. His take is that Kyle Orton was a good QB for the first year and he has had some success in the NFL. Casserly says “If I’m the Chicago Bears I’m ecstatic I made this deal if I was Chicago I would have made the deal because it’s hard to get a quarterback at this level in Jay Cutler. A guy who came into the league that’s proven he can play. He’s young, he’s had success in the league, it’s hard to find this guy.”
Mike Mayock then steps up to give his take of the ramifications and impact that Cutler will have on the Bears’ offense and the strategy that takes shape with a QB like Cutler in the fold.
Mayock states “I feel like Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith were on a short leash, this tells us that the need to win now.” “What I look at is their remaining draft picks and they have 49 and 99th overall selections. The hope is that one of the big time wide receivers slides to them at 49 a Hakeem Nick, Britt or Robiskie. That way they can maybe address the WR position via the draft instead of in free agency. They play some pretty good defense still in Chicago (run defense was one of the best in the league). It’s up to Ron Turner to expand his offense and to take advantage of what this kid does which is get the football down the field vertically.”
Bob Papa interjects with his analysis about the trade saying “When you take a look at this division and you take a look at the problems that Green Bay has from last year, and they’re switching to the 3-4, you still have the quarterback question when it comes the Minnesota Vikings and the Lions they have a lot of work ahead of them. Chicago was right into that playoff race late into the season last year. I think this is something that can put them over the top. The have a good running game they’ve added Orlando Pace they’ve got a talented young tight end that’s gonna help the quarterback pick up the offense, they can do some things with (Greg) Olson. So I think the Chicago Bears if they can tidy up the defense get some help at the safety position can be that gets into the post season by winning their division.”
Mike Mayock states while talking to Deion Sanders (does anyone wants Deion’s take really?) that ” I’m big on franchise quarterbacks and I think Denver was CRAZY to let him go.”
Moving into the second day of the coverage of the biggest trade in the history of the franchise of the Monsters of the Midway.
The NFL Network lines up Bears cam and brings in Jay Cutler for one of his first official interviews after his introduction as the newest member of the Chicago Bears.
Rich Eisen asks for Cutler’s emotions after this big trade:
Cutler says, “It’s been some ups and down for the last three of four weeks. You know (I’m) a little relieved, I’m a little sad to be leaving my teammates in Denver. But it’s a new chapter, I couldn’t be more excited to be in Chicago, and to be a Chicago Bear.”
Eisen adds if you could tell the kid growing up (meaning Cutler) that he was going to be future quarterback of the Chicago Bears.
“I think it would have been a dream come true Cutler adds, I was a little bit shocked that I got the call, because I didn’t really think it was going to be a possibility. You hope it is but you try to be realistic to not put yourself up for that that kind of disappointment (meaning if the trade did not happen) it worked out well for me.”
Cutler goes on to quietly wax poetic about the situation over the last month. He doesn’t really want to go and bad mouth the Broncos by dispelling rumors that surfaced during this whole ordeal. Some people may look at it as dodging a question, but to me if Cutler publicly dispels the rumor he starts a he said they said back and forth which further ignites the controversy. Cutler instead decides to move forward on to his career with the Chicago Bears, rather than explain himself and leave it open to interpretation by the media and fans as to what exactly went down.
Eisen goes on to ask about the “bad publicity” and whether or not Cutler wil have to address it moving forward with the Bears.
“Absolutely I think this city is happy but they’re a little bit wary of what kind of quarterback they got. I’ve gotta earn the respect and trust of my teammates first and foremost and that’s the first thing that’s gotta happen. They have to trust me and what I can do for them as their quarterback they have to believe in me and trust me that I can get the job done as their quarterback.”
Cutler talks about the new teammates that called him, Urlacher called, Earl Bennett called, Greg Olson called and that a lot of his teammates were there at the press conference. They are excited about the possibility of what we can do going forward.”
Brandon Marshall is brought on to talk about Jay Cutler and the trade and one of the key quotes he makes is” Jay Cutler is a great quarterback and a great friend. He was a great locker room guy and I’m sad to see him go.”
The NFL Network then goes to it’s panel that includes Charles Davis, Bob Papa, and Mike Mayock. They always seem to lead off their conversations with Mayock.
“I really believe it’s the perfect storm for both him (Cutler) and the Bears. What they’d like to do in a city where there’s an awful lot of wind and weather is have a big armed quarterback who can get the ball vertically down the field to talented wide receivers like Devin Hester a great tight end like Greg Olson who could emerge as another deep threat.” Then in true Mike Mayock fashion he goes to the coaches tape (the behind the line of scrimmage angle) to show what he liked about Cutler when he was in college and then coaches tape from this season where he’ll compare and contrast the differences in what he like about Cutler.
The play Mayock goes to show is a fourth and 12 play against Arkansas game on the line less than two minutes left, where he stands in the pocket and flat footed (not stepping into the throw) he drives the ball down the field over the head of a linebacker and in between two defenders, while simultaneously getting smacked in the face by an oncoming linebacker. “Fourth and 12 while getting smacked in the face and he knows it, he delivers the football flat footed, I fell in love with that play” Mayock says the octave level in his voice changing with excitement.
“Later on same drive, flat-footed, this guy’s got more hip torque than anybody else since John Elway. They beat a team they should have never beat in Arkansas.”
“This last season on the run look at the accuracy he drops it in over Schefler’s shoulder, big play on the run without a problem. Again he has an awful lot of confidence in his ability, watch him feel pressure up the field eyes down the field, never look down delivers the football touchdown. That’s a huge play very few quarterbacks in the league can make. Again Cutler the vision bracket coverage (four man end-zone defenders) it’s not there right now, eyes down field, feel pressure, step up and again that’s a tight window right there that he threw the football into. This is a third and 12 with two minutes left I don’t think (this route) is open I wouldn’t want him to throw the football there, but somehow he puts it on him (the pass) and the one thing I have to say to be honest in my overview is that he threw the ball up for grabs to often in college and he has a little bit of that gun-slinger attitude in the pros.”
Charles Davis interjects “that that part of holding the ball and not throwing it up for grabs comes with maturity and given that he’s been in the league for only three years, two as a starter he will get better. Weather late in the season with Forte and the running game and this guy with the arm, this is Bears football with the opportunity to make big plays. I think they’ll go out and get another wide receiver somewhere along the lines to take the pressure off of Devin Hester being the number one wide receiver its nothing but an upside for Chicago in the immediate future. I said I don’t think this makes them a Super Bowl team this year, but later on down the line if they keep adding the pieces and with Orlando Pace he doesn’t hurt one bit.”
Bob Papas wraps up the panelist analysis with “Well you know it’s interesting watching Mike’s break down of what he can do physically and you look what the Bears have they don’t have a Brandon Marshall and an Eddie Royal but with what they do have he can make it better get better production out of them. The thing that’s really impressive is that he got all that done all that production last year done with no running game. He’s now going to be with a team that pounds the ball they’re going to be able to control the football. I think the sky is the limit for Jay Cutler.”
That last quote would seem to the quote that makes this the deal of a lifetime for Chicago Bears fans. Cutler has all the tools and by all reports from media people talking to Mike Shannahan to talk to Cutler’s teammates, he is a consummate professional who can be a leader and a franchise quarterback. The important aspect being franchise, because it takes more than a strong arm, great vision, physical talents and pocket awareness, it take the ability to be the face of the franchise. The leader of the team and the organization, cementing his legacy as what could be the greatest quarterback in the history of the Chicago Bears franchise.
Bear with me I am going to attempt to put together a list of prospects that are being invited to Halas Hall for further review beyond just their Pro-Day and combine evaluations. The list will be a constant work in progress and I can promise it won’t be 100% accurate because lists like these are kept pretty quiet for the most part. Some information has been leaked so I’ll attempt to keep a running tab on who is coming and who has been here. The Bears are allowed 30 private workout visits per draft scouting period and are currently at 20.
If there is any player that I missed that you have heard is coming to visit Halas Hall feel free to share you comment in the comment section of this blog post.
Updated April 1st to include WR Mohammed Massaquoi and OL Lance Louis
Updated April 2nd to include WR Derek Kinder
Updated April 4th to include WR Juaqin Iglesias, DB Sherrod Martin, DB Anthony Scirrotto, DT John Gill, WR Brian Robiskie
Updated April 5th to include RB Aaron Brown DB Ellis Lankstser
Breaking up the state of the franchise segement into two less grueling on the eyes posts, we come to part two team needs. Most everyone that is a Bears fan and has a pulse understands what the Bears’ team needs are.
Charles Davis who is serving as a draft analyst on the NFL Network points out mostly what we already know. The needs Davis specifically targets in his statement are offensive tackle, wide receiver and defensive line. But Davis projects the Bears utilizing the #18th overall selection on Hakeem Nicks wide receiver from North Carolina.
Davis states that Kyle Orton needs another weapon to stretch the defenses and Hakeem Nicks provides just that. Big, strong, fast, smooth with terrific hands, I think Hakeem Nicks would be a terrific selection for the Chicago Bears.
Based on a lot of the scouting reports I’ve read about Hakeem Nicks he doesn’t seem to have a real weakness to his game. Nicks is arguably the most complete WR in the draft opposite Jeremy Crabtree. The one true thing that old Nicks back, ever so slightly from being THE most complete WR in the draft is his lack of ideal or elite speed in his 40-yard dash times.
However when you pop in the tape of Nicks you can see that he has plenty of speed to make big plays. In the Miami game, Nicks had a huge day making plays which may have been his national coming out party for NFL scouts and analysts.
His exclamation point game came in the final game of the season , the bowl game against West Virginia. Nicks attempted to take on the West Virginia team by himself, attempting to win the game on his own by finishing with eight catches for 217-yards and three touchdowns against the Mountaineers. Nicks was a man possessed in the game with his game-breaking receiving ability.
Nicks fits into the mold of a complete player who will be available at 18 because of his perceived lack of game-breaking speed. But it should be noted the lack of game breaking speed that Jerry Rice and Anquan Boldin showed at the NFL combine as well. Nicks fits into that physical mold of receiver as well.
In our earlier combine coverage we covered what Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian had to say about Nicks during his combine workout:
Hakeem Nicks is a very very good player, he’s got a great feel for routes, he’s got very very good hands, he’s got exceptional run after the catch, and he’s a very strong guy. And I think he’s going to have a very fine career in the National Football League.
Nicks was a player I noticed early into the college football season during the ESPN televised game of Miami versus North Carolina. Nicks stood out to me then and I followed him throughout the rest of the season.
It’s almost to the point the way the hype as built around Nicks and the way the draft board is aligning itself and the Bears’ needs that they would be foolish not to draft Hakeem Nicks. This is not to say that there are other great players out there, Nicks just seems to be the near consensus pick that would suit the Bears the best at #18.