Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
How many times have the Bears spent a draft pick on a kicker?
The Bears have selected four kickers in the draft since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, including two since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in 1994. Those two choices were Kevin Butler, who was picked in the fourth round in 1985, and Paul Edinger, who was selected in the sixth round in 2000. Butler set an NFL rookie record with 144 points for the 1985 Super Bowl champions and left the Bears after 11 seasons as their all-time leading scorer with 1,116 points. He made 73.2 percent of his field-goal attempts with the Bears (243 of 332). Edinger spent five seasons with the Bears, converting 75.3 percent of his field goal tries (110 of 146). The two kickers who were drafted by the Bears before Butler and Edinger were both 11th-round choices who never played in a regular-season game with the team—Ed Seigler in 1973 and Mike Dean in 1975.
Will the Bears look for different characteristics in draft prospects on the defensive side of the ball now that Chuck Pagano has replaced Vic Fangio as coordinator?
Listening to general manager Ryan Pace speak to reporters at the NFL Combine, it didn’t sound like the switch from Vic Fangio to Chuck Pagano will change the type of defensive players the Bears are looking to add either in free agency or the draft. Said Pace: “From an intangible standpoint, we’re still looking for the same things. It’s still a 3-4 and we know we’re in ‘sub’ 85 percent of the time, so it’s basically the same. There are no drastic changes.”
Who are the top tight ends in the draft and do you think the Bears will have any interest in addressing the position?
According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, the top five tight ends in the draft are Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson, Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr., Iowa’s Noah Fant, Georgia’s Isaac Nauta and Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger. In terms of the Bears, they have a very solid starter in Trey Burton, who established career highs in his first year with the team in 2018 with 54 receptions, 569 yards and six touchdowns while starting all 16 games. Backup Adam Shaheen was performing well in training camp last summer, but knee and ankle injuries forced him to miss the first nine games of the season. He eventually returned to action, catching five passes for 48 yards and one TD. Daniel Brown is due to become an unrestricted free agent, while Ben Braunecker is set to become a restricted free agent. Asked at the NFL Combine about addressing the tight end position this offseason, coach Matt Nagy said: “We’ll handle that internally,” but added: “I love where we’re at right now at that position. I feel comfortable with them. We have some guys who are good with special teams as well, which is always a big part as you get into the depth of this.”