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How accurate are mock drafts?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I'm always interested to read mock drafts and see who the experts think the Bears are going to draft. But how accurate are they? Did any of them have the Bears taking Kevin White last year?

Dennis P.
Wilmette, Illinois

Very interesting question, Dennis. I went back and did some research and found a story I posted last March 9 looking at 12 mock drafts. None of them had the Bears taking Kevin White or even an offensive player at No. 7. Four of the analysts had the Bears picking Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who went 12th to the Browns. Three had them taking Clemson outside linebacker Vic Beasley (eighth to the Falcons), two had them selecting Missouri defensive end Shane Ray (23rd to the Broncos), two had them choosing Nebraska outside linebacker Randy Gregory (60th to the Cowboys) and one had them picking Alabama safety Landon Collins (33rd to the Giants). The mock drafts changed quite a bit over the month leading up to the draft, especially after the Bears signed several defensive players in free agency. On the eve of the draft, eight of 29 mock drafts we compiled predicted that the Bears would pick White. Here's who got it right: NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, NFL Draft Scout's Dane Brugler, Walter Football's Charlie Campbell, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, ESPN's Todd McShay, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, the Chicago Sun-Times' Pat Finley and the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh.

What determines whether a player is an unrestricted or restricted free agent?

Marvin B.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

Unrestricted free agents have completed four or more accrued seasons and are free to sign with any NFL team with no draft choice compensation owed to their previous club. Restricted free agents are players with three accrued seasons. They can sign offer sheets with other teams, but their original club has the right to match the deal or possibly receive compensation if they choose not to match the offer.

With the Bears putting a non-exclusive franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery, do you think there is a possibility other teams will offer him a contract? It could be beneficial for the Bears to get another two first-round draft picks since they are rebuilding their team.

Christopher Z.

It's possible that Alshon Jeffery receives a contract offer from another team, but highly unlikely given the compensation they would have to fork over to sign him. NFL clubs simply don't want to surrender two first-round draft picks for anyone. According to NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal, Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller of the Broncos recently became the first non-quarterback to receive an exclusive franchise tag since 2007. So it's a customary practice.

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