Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright drops by to chat and answer all of your Bears questions.
Wright joined ESPNChicago.com in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University.
Send your questions now and join Wright Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:00 PM)
Thanks everyone for stopping by to chat. Let's get this thing started.
David Skokie [via mobile]
Who do you think the bears will select with their 14th pick
Michael (1:02 PM)
It's too early for any of us to say with any real certainty. But I think the Bears will focus in on one of their most pressing needs at 14, whether that's defensive tackle (Aaron Donald, Timmy Jernigan), safety (Calvin Pryor, HaHa Clinton-Dix) or maybe even cornerback with guys like Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard. This will certainly be a defensive draft.
CJ Kupcek [via mobile]
Who, in your opinion, is a potential trade partner for the Bears to move down in the 1st?
Michael (1:07 PM)
Look at the teams with needs on offense. Phil Emery has talked about how there will be tons of difference makers on offense when they pick at No. 14. I think that's his way of saying, 'Hey, everybody, we're looking to trade down if possible.' I think Pittsburgh (15), Baltimore (17), the New York Jets (18) and Miami (19) are all potential trade partners.
Do you think that this is Jay Cutler's break out year? I feel like he is due to have a monster year with the talent he has at both sides of the field and the backfield. Thanks.
Michael (1:08 PM)
Nick, I do think so. This will be his second year in the system, and he's finally gotten the protection and weapons around him to fully demonstrate his unlimited potential. Besides that, I think Cutler has also grown as a player. He's starting to realize his mortality so to speak, and wants to make the most of the time remaining in his career.
Phil W (Chicago)
Michael, Please let us know where Shea McClellan stands with the flurry of defensive moves this off season. Are the bears really optimistic about his changes as a LB?
Michael (1:09 PM)
Phil, the Bears are optimistic that McClellin can play linebacker and serve as a designated pass rushter. Remember, Bears general manager Phil Emery is gonna want McClellin to succeed because he's Emery's first pick as a GM. McClellin has some of the physical traits to make a successful transition, but obviously there's no guarantee it'll work out.
Would you be surprised if the Bears took a QB in the 2nd or 3rd rounds? Say Teddy Bridgewater falls to the 2nd round where the Bears pick.
Michael (1:10 PM)
I'd be a little surprised. But at the same time, isn't that pretty much par for the course with Phil Emery? He's known to slide in a surprise or two.
Do you think the Bears are seriously considering trading down in the draft? Hope not.
Michael (1:11 PM)
I do think they'd like to if the compensation is right. This is a very deep draft, and the Bears know they can trade back and still land an impact player on the back end of the first round.
Bobby (New York)
What role do you see Willie Young playing in the defense this year, since Houston and Allen will most likely be the ends?
Michael (1:12 PM)
Bobby, I see Willie Young moving out to defensive end on passing downs and Lamarr Houston moving inside to defensive tackle. That way, the Bears have Jared Allen and Young on the ends on passing downs and Lamarr Houston and Jeremiah Ratliff inside. That's a pretty good foursome in my opinion.
Matt (Pittsburgh) [via mobile]
Is there a player or position that the Bears select at #14 that would make people scratch their heads and strongly disagree with or do you think that fans and media have entrusted Emery enough as an outside-the-box strategist that it really wouldn't affect their outlook on the pick that negatively?
Michael (1:14 PM)
Well, I'm sure folks disagreed and scratched their heads when the Bears drafted a guard, who hardly played any college football with their first-round pick in 2013. How has that worked out so far? Ultimately, I don't think it will matter who Emery selects as long as the product on the field is up to snuff. With the Long pick, I think Emery earned some major credibility in the public eye.
I know everybody is thinking that Phile Emery will choose a defensive linemen or a safety in the draft in the first and second rounds. But I have a feeling he may choose a big name quarterback if one slips to them. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
Michael (1:16 PM)
I don't see that happening. But if there is a quarterback that slips and Emery sees him as having tremendous value, why wouldn't he make the move? Emery definitely doesn't care about "big names" as much as whether the guy can play. So if the player has the body of work on tape and Marc Trestman feels like he can develop him, I don't see Emery hesitating to make the move. But at the same time, what we're talking about is an unlikely scenario.
Chuck Medina [via mobile]
What round do you see the Bears drafting a running back . Not much on the roster
Michael (1:18 PM)
Man, the value of running backs these days is really on par with punters. That said, I don't see the Bears drafting a running back early. If they do, it would be in the fifth, sixth or seventh round. I hate to say it because it goes against everything I believe in about football, but running backs now are truly a dime a dozen.
with the move of shea mcclellin to a new position...if he does not have an impact this year would/should he be considered a bust?
Michael (1:19 PM)
I think it depends on whether the arrow is pointing up or down at the end of the year. Remember, this is a position switch for McClellin. So there will be some growing pains. But if he's showing improvement from game to game, and developing, I'd be reluctant to call him a bust at the end of the year.
George in Carol Stream, Illinois [via mobile]
The bears really stepped up addressing concerns about the defensive line. The secondary is below average and on the decline with Peanut getting older. Same with our linebackers. Briggs isn't getting any younger and we don't have much depth. If the McClellan experiment doesn't work out we have Bostic but who is going to be the next man up if injuries, which seem to plague the bears do occur. Do you think the Bears would be better to address the linebackers and secondary, than drafting another defensive lineman?
Michael (1:22 PM)
I don't think the Bears can go wrong with addressing any position on defense. I don't see Bostic as "the next man up". I think he'll wind up as the starter at Sam linebacker. I do think the Bears need to address the linebackers and secondary. The Bears need to upgrade at safety, and Chris Conte will probably wind up missing some of camp coming off that shoulder surgery. Cornerback in my opinion also needs to be addressed because the starters are both in their 30s.
Chris (Barrington, IL)
No one has talked about it but right now the Bears dont have a decent punter on the roster... I dont know that there is anyone worth talking about left in FA - do they draft one?
Michael (1:23 PM)
No way. I think the Bears have too many other needs to address first. You can find decent punters on the street.
Am I the only one that sees RaShede Hageman, Minnesota as a way better prospect over Aaron Donald & Timmy Jernigan? The guy is a BEAST with long arms and height!
Michael (1:24 PM)
No, I think a lot of people see Hageman as a tremendous talent. The problem is he didn't perform at a dominant level consistently enough in college for anyone to have any trust in him to be able to do it in the NFL. Hageman is still a little raw, and again, inconsistent. I'm not sure he's a great fit for what the Bears do, but he could benefit from playing next to a veteran such as Jay Ratliff.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
MIchael, can we trust Emery making a good pick on the defensive side of the ball? He has proven he can draft offensive players and does a good job with free agents, but drafting a defensive player seems to be a weakness of his.
Michael (1:27 PM)
Brian, I guess I never thought about it. But you make a pretty good point. In Emery's first two drafts, he selected McClellin, S Brandon Hardin, CBs Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy along with Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Cornelius Washington. None of those guys have really been huge contributors (although I think Bostic and Greene will be eventually). At the same time, I'd say that Emery was focused primarily on fixing the offense with those first two drafts. So it'll be interesting to see how it pans out.
Will P. (The loop)
Michael, I was trying to make a case with a long time Packers fan this weekend to why the Bears are so much improved this year. All the analysts I read say the bears could win the division...Do you feel the bears have done enough that they should win? Give me some ammunition please!
Michael (1:29 PM)
Will, they've got to play the games my man. That will be your ammunition. I do think the Bears appear to be improved on paper. But even if they hadn't done as much as they did in free agency, I'd still consider the Bears legitimate contenders to win the division. The thing about the North is it's always up for grabs, and you also have to take into account potential attrition due to injuries. Take away everything Chicago did on defense, and this team is a contender because it can flat out put points on the board.
Rob (South Loop)
Former Bear, Curtis Conway, believes Deone Buchannon should be a 1st round pick, and with his recent visit to the Bears and the obvious need at Safety. Could this be the surprise pick by Phil Emery know one sees coming at 14?
Michael (1:30 PM)
It would certainly surprise me because 14 would be really high. Perhaps he's a legitimate option in the first round if the Bears find a way to trade back?
Was letting Wootton walk a good move? I feel like he should signs of potential and would have re-signed cheap.
Michael (1:33 PM)
I think time will tell on that one. In my opinion, Willie Young does a little more than Wootton, which I think is why the Bears ended up letting him walk. The thing about Wootton, though, is I don't think he's reached his full potential just yet. If you go back, you'll remember how he struggled to get onto the field early on because of injuries. But these last two years, I think he's been a very dependable contributor (also, remember he had to play defensive tackle and defensive end because of all the injuries). I think if you just put Wootton at defensive end and let him develop, he'll turn out to be a very valuable player. Still, I think Young represents an upgrade at that position. Plus, there was no way Wootton was going to start over Jared Allen or Lamarr Houston anyway.
Michael (1:34 PM)
Guys, that's my time. It always goes by way too quickly. Anyway, hit me up on Twitter @mikecwright. I usually try to answer most questions I get there. I hope everyone has a great day.