By: Kenya Deanes
This season was abysmal very bad for the Chicago Bears. Coach John Fox and company were struck with the injury bug as a shocking 13 players were on the Injured Reserve by the end of the season. Throughout the season key players were hurt at the most inopportune times, and even a suspension claimed one of the top bears players (Alshon Jeffery) for 4 games.
But possibly the worst thing to happen to the Bears took place years earlier when they signed mediocre quarterback Jay Cutler to a contract that seems to have only dug the organization into a longer rebuild than originally needed. A once promising roster that featured the likes of; Julius Peppers, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and more now is reduced to a roster full of rookies and bottom of the barrel talent.
However, some promising things have been brought about by this horrible season. An impressive backup quarterback was discovered in Matt Barkley. During the season reporter Blake Schuster quoted John Fox, asking about Matt Barkley he had this to say: “The young man has continued to impress me,” Fox said…“He’s been thrown in on the road in Green Bay. He came in and started with a week’s work and performed well [against the Titans]…The conditions he played in a week ago [against the 49ers], even though it was at home, it was still tough conditions for a quarterback or anybody that handles the ball. And then really to come here on the road against a good football team in a loud environment, I just continue to be impressed by the kid’s performance.”
Matt Barkley is an NFL journeyman who had his first start in quite a few years this season. By all accounts , he was doomed to failure with such an injury ridden Wide Receiver core, but somehow he performed better than expected. While a 1,611 yards, 8 touchdown to 14 interception ratio may seem bad, one has to take into account all he had to endure. A relentless amount of dropped passes, unfinished routes, and defensive pressure led to the turnovers. But while Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer are two mediocre at best quarterbacks, the situation is still bleak for Chicago, at least until the draft.
The Chicago Bears are picking 3rd this year in the 2017 draft and have the opportunity to draft star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is coming off of a national championship win over powerhouse Alabama. Deshaun can overcome defenses with his legs, force passes through microscopic holes in the defense, and his football IQ is incredibly high. By all accounts he should be at the top of the Bears draft board. During the season coach John Fox was quoted by reporter Kevin Patra saying the following, “Well, because we don’t have a plan,” Fox responded. , “Right now we’ve got two guys healthy in Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer. Those are our quarterbacks. All our focus is there.” Not even a game later their best option in Brian Hoyer was taken away injured, and the Bears had to finished the season off with Barkley.
The plan should now be to fully pursue Deshaun Watson. If all else fails and Deshaun is drafted by the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers first, the plan should shift to giving Matt Barkley as many weapons as possible in order to pump out a successful rebuilding season.
Joshua Bellamy, Eddie Royal, Kevin White, and Alshon Jeffery (who may not return next season) will not be enough to take on the powerhouse Green Bay Packers, the consistent Minnesota Vikings, or the surprisingly resilient Detroit Lions. The defense of the Bears has shined as points, and baffled at others. The Defensive Backs need help and this draft should be geared towards solving that problem.
The order for this draft should be to draft Deshaun, give him or Barkley a few weapons, and then bunker down on defense and further along this rebuild. Below is the expected Bears Draft Order:
Round 1: Pick 3- Deshaun Watson QB
Round 2: Pick 36- Desmond King CB
Round 3: Pick 67- Corey Davis WR
Round 4: Pick 100- Jordan Leggett TE
Round 4: Pick 106- Howard Wilson CB
Round 5: Pick 131- Jordan Morgan OG
Round 7: Pick 193- Jonnu Smith TE