Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Which top kickers were drafted?

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.

Just wondering how prudent it is to draft a kicker. So how many of the NFL’s top kickers were drafted and how many entered the league as undrafted free agents?
Ross P.
Overland Park, Kansas

Of the 17 NFL kickers who converted at least 87 percent of their field-goal attempts in 2018, six were selected in the draft and 11 entered the league as undrafted free agents. Of the six who were drafted, only three remain with the team that picked them: the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein (2012 sixth round), the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson (2018 fifth round) and the Dolphins’ Jason Sanders (2018 seventh round). The other three who were drafted are the Titans’ Ryan Succop (2009 seventh round by the Chiefs), the Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins (2014 sixth round by the Bills) and the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker (2017 seventh round by the Panthers). Of the 11 kickers who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents, only two remain with their original teams: the Ravens’ Justin Tucker and the Texans’ Ka’imi Fairbairn. Interestingly, three of the top 17 kickers from last season entered the NFL as undrafted free agents with the Ravens: Tucker, the Saints’ Will Lutz and the Panthers’ Graham Gano.

Which of the Bears’ NFC North rivals do you think will pose the greatest challenge to them next season?
Will K.
Bloomington, Illinois

I will never discount, dismiss or overlook the Packers when they have future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback for them, but I think the Vikings are the most talented team top-to-bottom among the Bears’ three division opponents. So with all things being equal, I would say that Minnesota poses the greatest threat to the Bears in 2019. But again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers are in contention. I think the Lions are less likely than the Vikings or Packers to challenge the Bears for the division title, but I wouldn’t bet against it. How many people expected the Bears to not only contend but win the NFC North in 2018? You just never know in the NFL.

Where did Mitchell Trubisky’s passer rating rank in the NFL last year and where did it rank in Bears history?
Bob L.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Mitchell Trubisky ranked 16th in the NFL with a 95.4 passer rating in 2018. He finished just behind three future Hall of Famers in the Patriots’ Tom Brady (97.7), the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (97.6) and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (96.5), who ranked 12th, 13th and 15th, respectively. Trubisky’s 95.4 rating was the third best by a Bears quarterback with at least 200 attempts in a season behind Josh McCown’s 109.0 in 2013 and Hall of Famer Sid Luckman’s 107.5 in 1943.

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