The Bears became the second team to open training camp when veterans reported to work on Thursday, but the team’s top draft choice remains absent.
Linebacker Roquan Smith did not report with the rest of the team’s rookies on Tuesday and remains away from the team because he has yet to sign a contract. At a press conference on Thursday, General Manager Ryan Pace said a lot of details go into these things and that he’s optimistic that the deal will be done soon.
There’s a process and meanwhile we’re moving forward, Pace said.
The top 10 players in the country include the only 2017 Heisman Trophy finalist back for another season in college, a quarterback who spent last September on the bench and three defensive linemen from the same school. The group comprises former No. 1 overall recruits but also a few late bloomers, and with the exception of one sophomore, most of the names below could be called early on in the 2019 NFL draft. When the 2018 season begins in earnest on Labor Day weekend, they all will be expected to deliver dominant, productive seasons that lift their teams to their full potential.
The 32-year-old pass-catcher missed the entire 2017 season after tearing his ACL during a preseason contest. If the NFL were to uphold its reported punishment, Edelman would miss games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins.
I think if I had to bet on a rookie quarterback starting Week 1 right now, and a lot can happen between now and then, I’d put my money on it being Sam Darnold. The third overall pick has been a quick study through the spring, showing he can absorb and apply the information thrown at him. And the fact that he showed great ability to take hits and compartmentalize mistakes last year at USC mitigates the risk the Jets would take throwing him out there. I’d say there’s a better than 50-50 chance he wins the job outright in camp.
Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, worth paying attention to this quote from Ravens LB CJ Mosley on Lamar Jackson: Once he gets out of the pocket, it’s like watching a young Michael Vick. It’s amazing to watch. When you’re defending him, you just have to act like you’re tagging off—you don’t want to be on the highlight reel. That’s not some slappy saying that. It’s a team captain. Someone brought it up to me the other day, and said it’s over for Joe Flacco. I wouldn’t go that far. But to hear respected members of the team talk about the rookie that way does put another level of pressure on the 11th-year vet.