Of course, Bears General Manager Ryan Pace’s 2017 draft class will surely ride on the shoulders of No. 2 pick Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky is the future at QB after releasing Jay Cutler, and most Bears fans were unhappy with what they gave up to get him after signing Mike Glennon to a big deal in the offseason. But Trubisky made four other picks between April 27 and 29. I focused on three of them, and here are my takeaways.
Division II tight end Adam Shaheen was a third-rounder. At least that’s what everyone around the league thought. But Ryan Pace snagged him with the 13th pick of the second round due to the fact he didn’t have a third round pick, giving up the 111th pick in the Trubisky trade. On Thursday, Shaheen had a pretty mixed day. He made just one catch for three yards. And although the box score says he was targeted just two times, Shaheen dropped two balls on plays erased by penalties. He also was unable to come up with what could have been the first touchdown pass of Trubisky’s brilliant career (at least from what we’ve seen), but pass interference was called on that one.
The jury is still out on Shaheen, but the first game was not a promising one. It’s not much to go off of, but the tight end’s hands are iffy. Will the rookie supplant Zach Miller in the starting lineup this season? It doesn’t look like it after that game. We shouldn’t predict the whole season after this one, but Shaheen doesn’t look NFL-ready yet.
The Bears’ next pick was Eddie Jackson, picked No. 112 overall. Jackson was a brilliant safety and punt returner in college for Alabama but a leg injury suffered near the end of last year dropped him to the fourth round. On Thursday at safety, he seemed a little out of the game. Sure, he’s a free safety, which means he is supposed to rove behind the play, but there might have been a little hesitation to get into the pile after the injury.
Jackson did break up a pass from Paxton Lynch to AJ Derby in the middle of the second quarter and didn’t have any negative impacts on the game. Of course, that’s because Denver never went deep against him.
Returning punts, Jackson was back three times, once fair catching and returning two for 13 yards. He did go 15 yards but couldn’t find a whole despite limited hang time on a punt late in the second quarter, and in the third quarter he broke a tackle but went back a few yards, eventually getting a -2 yard return. Overall, the returns on Jackson weren’t bad, and we will watch the rest of the preseason slate to see if he can win the safety job and continue returning punts.
Finally, Tarik Cohen, the little guy from North Carolina A&T, got a good amount of playing time. He rushed seven times for 39 yards, ripping off three runs of 8+ yards in a drive that spanned both the first and second quarters. He also was back to return a punt on which he ran left and was close to cutting upfield before going out of bounds. He gained 17 yards on the return.
Cohen should have a spot on this team with a seeming abundance of backs. He is quick and shifty and will be a good alternative to the solid Jordan Howard. Pace seems to have gotten that pick right, but will the others pan out?
It’s not right to judge all rookies on their first game action, so we will wait and see. Maybe Shaheen will come up with a monster game next week, or Cohen has problems holding onto the ball. And of course, no one really cares about all of this now with Trubisky having a great game. It’s just preseason everybody.