Just three games into an NFL season, it can be tough to break down which teams are the most likely to wind up with a top-five draft pick following the season. Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears, it seems as though they may be well on their way to having a very, very early pick this coming season. With the recent news that Bears CB Kyle Fuller is headed to the injured reserve, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, an already-depleted defense just lost another weapon.
Fuller, who was Chicago’s first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, has yet to play in 2016 but was solid during his first two years with the Bears. He totaled 119 combined tackles, 19 passes defensed, six interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also hadn’t missed a game before the start of the 2016 season.
Simply put, the Bears can’t catch a break this season. Heading into their Week 3 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, they were looking at 14 players who either were listed as questionable, doubtful or out. Then, during that game they lost running back Jeremy Langford, who, as NFL.com reported, will miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.
With the injuries mounting and the fact that quarterback Jay Cutler may not even get the starting job back from Brian Hoyer, this is a team who looks poised to wind up with a top-five pick, or possibly even one of the top-two picks in the 2017 NFL draft. When looking at the near future, though, this defense which is filled with injuries is going to have their hands full.
First, the Bears take on the Detroit Lions in Week 4 and follow that up by taking on the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers. Of those four teams, three of them (Lions, Colts, Packers) rank in the top-13 of the NFL in points scored per game, while two of them are in the top-five. If Bears fans were hoping that life would get any easier defensively, it’s not looking like it’ll be happening anytime soon.
After factoring in all the injuries and the struggles for the Bears over the first three games, one has to question whether or not the team would actually be better off locking up a top draft pick this offseason. One of the key reasons for that is because Cutler could very well be cut after this season, a situation which would allow the team to save $15 million in cap space while suffering only $2 million in dead money. In comparison, they would have lost $2 million cutting him in 2016, while being stuck with $19 million in dead money, according to Over The Cap.
Tack on the names like DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson and Brad Kaaya who will all almost certainly be top-10 picks in the 2017 NFL draft, and there’s a chance that the Bears may wind up having their pick from the tremendous trio. Could the future of Bears football be under center starting in 2017? If things keep going the way they have over the first three weeks for the team it’s likely, and that may not be the worst thing.