By: Will Farlow
The NFL Draft is a chance for any NFL team to take their picks from rounds one to seven with the hope of finding great players to change their franchise in an instant. The Chicago Bears have some holes to fill starting Friday with two picks in the second round. General Manager Ryan Pace has the chance to improve areas such as the offensive line, the secondary, and finding a play maker on offense. These are my picks that I believe are each good, impact players to help the Chicago Bears to continue that long term success.
Round 2: Pick 43
Cole Kmet – TE Notre Dame
The Chicago Bears have many needs, but an important factor in this pick is to also improve the tight end position, and Notre Dame's Cole Kmet is a great choice for the Bears at this pick. Kmet at 6'5 is a great size the Bears can pair with Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris solidifying the tight end position in Chicago. Kmet is known as both a good blocker and receiver which should check the boxes for GM Ryan Pace on a good quality tight end to help the Bears compete for many years.
Round 2 : Pick 50
Jeremy Chinn S Southern Illinois
The Chicago Bears take a chance with the second choice in the second round taking a talented, underrated safety from a mid major school. Chinn is a player that prides himself on being a great player on the field while carrying a good team first work ethic. The Bears have had many visits with the Southern Illinois safety that paired with Eddie Jackson could cement the Bears secondary for many years to come. I really like this good pick at 50th overall by Ryan Pace.
Round 3: Pick 196
Trade with Cleveland : Browns take Chicago's sixth round pick(196) and a future fourth round pick sending their third round pick (97) to Chicago
Jake Fromm QB Georgia
Ryan Pace is well known as he Bears GM for making the right deal in the draft whether it's moving up or down, and he trusts his gut and history of picking Georgia Bulldog players. The Bears give up their sixth rounder at pick 196 and a future fourth round pick to select a quarterback to learn under starter Mitchell Trubisky and backup Nick Foles. Josh Fromm is known as a good leader during his time at the University of Georgia, and his good decision making skills and football IQ mesh well in a head coach in Matt Nagy. Building depth at a position is important in the NFL Draft and Pace makes a slam dunk pick by taking Fromm.
Round 5: Pick 169
Trade with New Orleans: Saints get bears pick in 5th round(163) sending their fifth round pick (169) and a future fourth round pick
James Robinson RB Illinois State
Ryan Pace makes a trade down six spots in the fifth round with New Orleans , and picks up a future fourth rounder to replace the one traded to Cleveland earlier to move into Round 3. Ryan Pace continues his smart approach in the draft finding another good running back to pair with David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen. Pace selects the running back from Illinois State star James Robinson. Robinson was scouted a fair amount by the Chicago Bears and is a running back that is projected to go to a team in the mid rounds. Robinson has a good work ethic, speed, and the ability to get consistent scores at the goal line as he averaged 1899 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior season for the Redbirds. Ryan Pace gets a good hometown running back at this pick in round 5.
Round 6 : Pick 200
Michael Onwenmu- OL- Michigan
The Chicago Bears use one of their two sixth round picks to a future starting guard to take the place of retired Chicago Bear Kyle Long. Onwenmu is projected by some analysts to go in the fifth round , but Pace gets lucky as he falls to Chicago at pick 200. The offensive lineman from Michigan is well known by scouts for his strength, run blocking, and pass protection making him a great addition for the Bears to pair with James Daniels and Cody Whitehair long term .
Round 6 : Pick 203
Lamar Jackson CB Nebraska
The Chicago Bears need to improve depth at the corner back position as CB Prince Amukamara was released earlier in the off season. This is not the MVP quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, but hes another player that adds goo depth to the Chicago Bears secondary. GM Ryan Pace after a visit with the corner back makes him the pick for Chicago at 203. Jackson has good length allowing him to get good coverage on wide receivers, and had five receptions in his final two seasons for the Corn huskers.
Round 7: Pick 226
Dallas Warmack G Oregon
The guard that spent time protecting QB Justin Herbert at Oregon is now heading to Chicago to protect Trubisky, Foles, and third round QB pick Fromm. Warmack brings his great height at 6'2 that allowed him to prevent sacks and stop defenders for the Ducks in his college career. Ryan Pace visited with Warmack prior to his pro day and takes him in round 7 to add depth to the Bears offensive line.
Round 7: Pick 233
Juaun Jennings WR Tennessee
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace strategically takes a good wide receiver from the drafts deep depth by taking the senior from Tennessee. Jennings brings good awareness to an already strong core of Bears wide receivers in Robinson, Miller, Ridley, and Wims. Jennings averaged 146 receptions and 18 touchdowns for the Volunteers now bringing his talents to the Windy City.
By: Will Farlow
The Chicago Bulls are one of the many well-known teams throughout NBA history. Former Bulls player John Paxson was the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations from 2003 to 2020. Late last night the Chicago Bulls named Denver Nuggets General Manager Arturas Karnisovas as the team’s new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. This is a move that many Bulls fans have prayed and waited for over the years. Fans in Bulls Nation have taken to social media, and signs at games calling for the end of the GarPax era. The hiatus of the NBA due to the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought Bulls fans a happy surprise for the future as they awoke this morning to the news of Karinsovas taking his talents to the Windy City to join the Chicago Bulls front office.
Arturas Karnisovas has went through a exciting journey to this point in his new appointed role with the Chicago Bulls. Karnisovas came from Lithuania and became a college basketball player for Seton Hall. Following his career at Seton Hall he played professionally for the Lithuanian National team and was a part of the team that was defeated by Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and the 1992 USA Dream Team. Karnisovas spent time as a scout for the Houston Rockets for five years , and later in 2013 took a job as the assistant general manager for the Denver Nuggets. Karnisovas worked his way up to the general manager role in 2017 for Denver, and as of last night became the first Chicago Bulls Executive VP .
Karnisovas is bringing many great aspects to his new role with the Chicago Bulls front office that is in need of a change and improved direction. Karnisovas is very well respected in the NBA carrying himself as a good hardworking personality. Karnisovas brings great experience in scouting as he brought great players such as Michael Porter Jr, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray to Denver. The Chicago Bulls have a good young core of players in their organization, and it will be Karnisovas taking the helm of a front office that controls the future of this historic franchise.
The tasks ahead for Karinsovas entail trying to hire a new general manager , and managing the roles in the scouting department. These hires are important to Karnisovas to have a good working front office that can be effective and successful. Karnisovas will also have to decide the coaching staff and if current Bulls Head Coach Jim Boylen will stay or go in Chicago. The next step following front office and coaching is Karnisovas bringing his strong draft experience and team building to mold this young Bulls team into an eventual contender for what Bulls fans hope will be many years to come.
Welcome to the Eastern Conference and the City of Chicago, Arturas Karinsovas. I will join Bulls fans in excitement and anticipation into what you bring to the front office and the organization to help it get back on track. I always like to say expect the unexpected as Bulls fans didn't expect the timing of the search to begin back when Chicago hosted the 2020 All Star Game. The era of John Paxson and Gar Foreman is nearing it end as Bulls faithful now greet Karnisovas and an exciting future for Chicago Bulls basketball.
By: Will Farlow
Coby White has etched himself further into the Chicago Bulls history books in just his first year in his career. Coby White was awarded player of the month for February representing the Eastern Conference. White is the first Bulls rookie to receive these honors since Nikola Mirotic back in 2015. Coby averaged 20.1 points per game and leads rookies in three-point percentage per game through nine games in the month of February.
Coby White back on February 25th in a home game against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder set another milestone high in the NBA record books. Coby became the first rookie in NBA history to score 30 or more points in three straight games off the bench.
Coby in my opinion is the most stable starting point guard the Bulls have had at the position since Derrick Rose. White exhibits a good personality that has registered to his on-court play. White has also solved an issue where the Bulls have a good scoring defensive point guard that meshes cohesively with star Zach Lavine. Coby is a player that can be a cornerstone piece in the new era coming for the Chicago Bulls. Fans wonder what would have happened if Lauri and others were all healthy. The Bulls currently sit at a record of 21-40 on the year and just six games behind the eight seed in the Eastern Conference. Coby White along with players like Wendell Carter Jr, Zach Lavine, and Lauri Markkanen gives hope of the future in the eyes of Bulls fans.
Spectators along with many Bulls fans wonder why Coby White has not been starting at point guard at this point in the season. I agree to a small extent of not rushing his development in the approach by Head Coach Jim Boylen and Team President John Paxson. However, my individual opinion is that Coby White should play a fair portion of remaining regular season games starting at point guard to help him develop into those type of situations. This approach can help prepare Coby for a long-term envisioned future of being the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls. Many analysts in sports media have given the view of Coby needing to start for Chicago.
The last Chicago Bull drafted out of North Carolina is the best NBA player to ever play the game Michael Jordan drafted back in 1984. The hope of Bulls fans is that a rookie with great scoring, defense, and confidence like Coby White can become another great former North Carolina Tarheel to wear a Bulls uniform.
By: Will Farlow
This afternoon the Chicago Bears made an alteration to their roster, but this was a set of two subtractions. The Chicago Bears released wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and cornerback Prince Amukamara making both players free agents.
The Bears were set at about only 13 million dollars in cap space, and the subtractions of Amukamara and Gabriel extend their cap room to about 26 million. The Bears have needs of depth at their offensive line, linebacker, and especially at the quarterback position. GM Ryan Pace over his tenure with the Bears thus far has made creative moves to bring the team back to success. However, as the offseason come and passed each year, free agents at specific positions become expensive leaving the Bears to compete with other teams with more cap space.
Taylor Gabriel previously signed a four year 26-million-dollar contract with the Bears back in 2017 to add support to the receiving core of young starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The 29-year-old receiver in two seasons with the Bears amassed a total of 96 receptions,1041 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Gabriel had effectiveness for the Bears in the slot receiver role, but his injury problems and consistency led to his release. Gabriel faced injuries during the 2019 season that hindered his effectiveness in the Matt Nagy style offense. Gabriel’s departure leaves the Bears with a receiving core of Robinson, Miller, Ridley, Wims, and veteran Cordarrelle Patterson.
Gabriel took to Twitter after the news broke of his release thanking the Bears and fan support during his time in Chicago. Gabriel excited fans when he first signed with Chicago and said he was excited for what quarterback Mitch Trubisky could do.
Prince Amukamara agreed to a one year 7-million-dollar contract to join the
Chicago Bears in 2017. Amukamara found his first season as a Bear successful leading the Bears to offer him a three year 27-million-dollar extension. During his three seasons for the Monsters of the Midway the 30-year-old cornerback achieved 166 tackles, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries as a Bear. The cornerback was a good veteran presence for the younger Bears defensive players along with making good contributions to Bears supported charities during his three seasons in Chicago. Amukamara’s departure leaves the Bears cornerback depth with Fuller, Shelley, Skrine, Roberson, Tolliver, and Denmark.
These moves by GM Ryan Pace and Chicago Bears front office leave questions as to the free agents the team will pursue to fill its team needs prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. Suring the free agent frenzy the qualities of a good team and money talk to free agents as they choose their new home for the 2020 season and beyond. The 2020 NFL league year officially begins on March 18th meaning free agents can officially sign with NFL teams. The question is which offensive lineman, quarterbacks, and other players the team will target. The Chicago Bears will need to fill those holes in free agency and the draft to bounce back toward contention in 2020 along with filling spots left by Taylor Gabriel and Prince Amukamara.
By: Will Farlow
As I was watching Super Bowl 54 at home with my parents, I had various thoughts both during and after the game. I saw two teams that built from the ground up just three to four years ago with the support of two good coaches both new and veteran. Andy Reid has worked hard his whole career as a head coach in the NFL and finally got what he deserved as his Kansas City Chiefs won the first Super Bowl for Kansas City in the last 50 years.
The San Francisco 49ers featured a great young defense with role players such as rookie Nick Bosa, Deforest Buckner, and veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. Moving over to the 49er’s offense players such as Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Deebo Samuel played an incredible team effort game behind their strong offensive line. 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk was well utilized in the Kyle Shanahan offense tonight which lead to a 49er touchdown in the first half of the game.
I found the use of the fullback tonight can send a message to other teams how to use the fullback in a similar way , and it reminds me of the time the George Halas coached Chicago Bears utilized in a similar way Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Both teams making it to the Super Bowl connected significantly to something I have said many times both on my podcast and to others around me. The best thing about sports is seeing different teams work hard and have the chance to play for a title game in the postseason showing to expect the unexpected in any game from any team.
The Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory was the third comeback victory in a row for a team that did so previously to advance through the postseason. Super Bowl 54 was a victory in another form for the Chiefs to show the NFL teams they can be a team to beat moving forward in the AFC. The San Francisco 49ers made a simple mistake of not running the fourth quarter clock down on an offensive drive against Kansas City with about 8 minutes left in the game. The 49ers running the ball effectively in that strategy could have helped them change the outcome of the game. The saying also goes where that still doesn’t prevent other things from unfolding like in this case the Chiefs still could have found a chance to score and win after that possible scenario. I think that is one thing that is the beauty of sports is thinking of the what if type of situations about a game in the past or one upcoming in the future.
Each football fan after tonight’s Super Bowl game is thinking their own what ifs along with what the offseason can bring moving forward. As the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate their first Super Bowl in 50 years, Monday morning begins the start of another NFL offseason where every team has a chance through the draft and free agency to improve their teams where one will emerge around this time next season hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The first official post of this blog takes you to a player born in the South Suburbs of Chicago back on March 16th , 1981. This young man became a great MLB centerfielder from his first MLB game as a Detroit Tiger in 2004 to his final at-bat as a Miami Marlin on September 29th 2019. This well-known MLB outfielder is Lynwood, Illinois native Curtis Granderson. It is a mix of sadness and joy as the morning of January 31st , 2020 in a Twitter post the outfielder announced his retirement from the MLB after playing for 16 seasons.
Granderson spent six seasons with the Detroit Tigers helping the team make it to the World Series in 2006. Granderson was later traded to the New York Yankees in 2010 in a three-team trade that sent Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer to Detroit and Ian Kennedy to Arizona. Granderson then achieved his 1000th hit as a Yankee making one of his many marks on baseball. Granderson went on the remainder of his career playing for the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and his final MLB team destination the Miami Marlins.
Granderson is someone that no one can forget meeting or interacting with due to his kind demeanor along with caring about his teammates or those who need it most. The outfielder is known by many major league players for how much he enjoys being a voice and veteran presence to young teammates. A lot of kids today can thank him for inspiring them to play baseball. Granderson is not just well known for his play on the field for the MLB , but his donation of his time to charity along with his foundation called Grandkids.
When a person retires from the MLB each player is remembered for various reasons. The now former MLB outfielder from Lynwood, Illinois will be remembered for being a great baseball player, charity contributor, and a great person to know on or off the field. I once met Curtis Granderson as a TF South sophomore as his baseball number was retired at my high school. Curtis spoke with me after signing two baseballs and I felt amazed at how kind he was to an average person as someone I will never forget meeting.
Granderson finished 16 years of MLB service with a .249 batting average, 344 home runs, 1800 hits, and 937 RBIs. Congratulations on a great career Curtis and thanks for what you brought to the baseball field each at bat and to people everywhere. Even though his MLB player career has ended it seems like Granderson wants to pursue MLB TV work in the future as a consideration after some Broadcast work for the MLB during the 2019 postseason. I look forward to seeing one of the nicest baseball players and congratulating him person next time hes back in the good old south suburbs of Chicago where he continues to inspire all.