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PFW's Hub Arkush answers subscibers Bears/NFL/Life questions every week:
With all the new picks where will Cordarrelle Patterson play? Stack at receiver, RB and return?? Submitted by The Kupps
Kups, he will play whenever they can get him on the field in all kinds of different positions.
Certainly, he will be the primary on kickoff returns.
I expect you will also see him in the slot in three-WR sets with Allen Robinson and either Anthony Miller or Riley Ridley, and on the rare occasions they go four wide, you will see him there as well.
I’d guess you will also see him in "12" personnel — both outside to run fly patterns and in the slot with a tight end or back out wide to create matchup nightmares for the defense.
And you will also see him in the backfield on occasion on third-and-medium or second-and-short to take the occasional handoffs between the tackles, and more often than that you will see him as either the second back lined up in the slot or split wide as a wideout to run jet sweeps.
That’s all off the top of my head. Given time in his mad scientist lab, Matt Nagy will come up with at least three or four — if not a half-dozen — other ways to attack with his new lethal speed weapon.
Hub, what is your take on the "hot take" that Pace trading up in the draft consistently will hamstring the Bears in the future causing an expensive roster with no one to fill holes vacated by players they can no longer afford? Submitted by The Gypsy
Gypsy, I think it’s short-sighted and a minor concern.
Ryan Pace was hired to rebuild one of the least talented rosters in the NFL and he now has one of the league’s more talented groups. It required him finding gems in undrafted rookie free agents, quality vet free agents and draft choices. He has done well at all three.
Remember, in 2016 and 2017 he did a nice hob of acquiring extra picks.
Once he was close to the end of the rebuild, he identified a 26-year-old perennial All Pro and potential Hall of Famer in Khalil Mack, and he paid the going rate for that type of talent.
He believed teams had missed on a potential star in Anthony Miller and gave up a bit extra to get him, but don’t forget, the second-round pick he didn’t have this year was used last year on Miller to get a head start with him.
And in many respects, the key to all of this is the only drafts so far in which he’s been really short on capital were this year and next year, at a time when there was and are a bare minimum of his own free agents at risk of leaving the club.
If in fact this team is ready to contend now, and it is still one of the younger clubs in the league, I would look for Pace to work in next year’s draft toward starting to acquire more picks, and would guess that beginning in 2021 he will be more about accumulating picks than using them as trade bait — assuming he has a club still capable of contending.
Not to dodge your question, however, I will always lean toward accumulating picks rather than spending multiple picks on one player. I just think Pace ended up in an unusual window last year and this year in which he was close enough to his end game top justify retaining fewer picks rather than spending them to complete his job.
Hub, which of the UDFA’s have the best shot at sticking on the 53? Submitted by Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo, the names I would keep an eye on are Alex Bars, Dax Raymond, Emanuel Hall, Chuck Harris and Mathieu Betts, probably in that order.
I’ll be more surprised if Bars doesn’t make the team than if/when he does. Heading into last season, he was on the Outland Trophy and preseason All-American watch lists and then tore his ACL the fifth week of the season. He has the natural size to play inside or out — although he projects at guard — and Harry Hiestand coached him the first two years he started at Notre Dame. Even with the ACL, I’m surprised he wasn’t a sixth- or at least seventh-round pick — and he might have gone third or fourth round had he stayed healthy.
Raymond appears to have NFL receiving skills right now, and while he told me himself last Saturday he needs work on blocking technique and coaching, he’s willing, has decent size right now and the frame to easily ads 5-10 pounds of muscle without giving up any athleticism.
The Bears have a real numbers problem at wideout — with at least seven worth keeping — but Hall is going to play somewhere in the NFL and has the ability to be a solid No. 2 if he can be developed. With his size at 6-2, 200 pounds and speed to match smurfs Taylor Gabriel and Marvin Hall, I just don’t see the Bears letting him get away, and they have to know they won’t be able to get him to the practice squad.
Harris and Betts are longer shots, but all they have to do is show more upside as pass rushers than Kylie Fitts and/or Isaiah Irving, and Aaron Lynch always comes with the asterisk for injury problems, attitude questions, etc.
Which team takes a step back in the NFC North? Submitted by Kevin Muckian
Kevin, I’m really not sure one does. The Vikings are loaded with talent, and even if Kirk Cousins is as bad as he was last year, he isn’t getting worse. I expect the Vikings to be better and more competitive than last year.
I like the fact that the Packers have been aggressive in upgrading their defense, but I’m not wild about some of the FA signings or draft picks. But does it really matter?
History tells us if Aaron Rodgers is healthy all year, they’re a contender — and probably a wild card team — and there’s no reason to think they won’t be better than last year.
I’m also not impressed by the Lions offseason, but I don’t see any reason they’d be worse than last year. I don’t know if Matt Patricia is going to make it or not, but he’s a brilliant guy, and I think there’s every reason to believe he’ll learn from his mistakes last year and the Lions will be a better coached team this season.