After endless mock drafts coming out every day by NFL “experts,” it’s time for the lights to shine on Dallas, Texas and for the envelopes to be handed to Commissioner Goodell. The analysis of ten yard splits and broad jump distances cease tonight as football fans everywhere will find out who throws on their team’s draft hat. For the Chicago Bears, another pick in the top ten makes things intriguing as they could select a variety of different players. Today is the most exciting day for football fans since the Eagles knocked off the Patriots and were crowned champions, as optimism and hope builds for each franchise.
With seven picks in store, the Bears have some flexibility this weekend. They hold obvious needs at offensive guard, wide receiver, defensive back, and linebacker. With the eighth pick tonight, wide receiver looks off the table, narrowing it down to a small bunch of players. OG Quenton Nelson, LBs Trumaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith, and DBs Denzel Ward and Minkah Fitzpatrick seem to be the options.
B’s Take: In an ideal world, DE Bradley Chubb would still be on the board for the Bears to take at the eight spot, and he could definitely start Week 1 against Green Bay. The North Carolina State defensive end will likely fall within the top five and the Bears are hoping that Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson is available. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock called Nelson the best interior linemen he’s seen in years. It’s rare that offensive guards go in the top 10, a place which is usually for tackles, but Nelson’s status as a “lock” makes the pick impossible to pass on if he’s available. Another reason for excitement is that Harry Hiestand, the new Bears offensive line coach, was Nelson’s coach last year at Notre Dame. If Nelson isn’t available at eight, the Bears should look to Minkah Fitzpatrick or Roquan Smith. I wouldn’t mind the Ohio State product Denzel Ward much either, but Fitzpatrick’s success at Alabama and his ability to play cornerback or safety outweigh him over Ward, in my opinion. Smith led a stout Georgia defense all the way to the national championship in which they fell to Fitzpatrick’s Crimson Tide. He’d also fill a need and start next to Danny Trevathan as one of the Bears’ interior linebackers. The hole that should be unexpected to be filled tonight is wide receiver. This year’s wideout class is deep and the Bears can solidify that hole in a later round, such as two or four. If any of those aforementioned five players get selected at the eighth spot, you can call round one a success for Chicago.
R’s Take: Coming into this year’s draft, the Bears have to have the mindset of drafting a player that will have a major impact on the offensive side of the ball. With a very productive offseason thus far, the Bears are already projected to make great improvements this fall. With the Bears’ caliber of talent for next season, having the 8th overall pick is something they can take advantage of. In one scenario, if Quenton Nelson, an offensive guard from Notre Dame, is still on the board the Bears will draft him to bulk up the offensive line and help protect quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Nelson is a key piece to the puzzle to help mold Mitch Trubisky. With so much potential and athleticism, Trubisky needs a solid offensive line to give himself time in the pocket to make plays. We’ve seen on plays where Trubisky has had time allotted to him in the pocket that he is capable of doing great things. And Quenton Nelson is the guy to draft if the Bears go for that. On the other hand, the Bears could also go for a defensive approach. The Panthers drafted Luke Kuechly in 2012, which turned their team from mediocrity to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. A player like Luke Kuechly doesn’t come around very often, but if Trumaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith can be that player, then that is what the Bears need. The Bears need an inside linebacker to lead the front seven to be a powerhouse in the NFL. Many elite teams have defensive players that they can lean on for leadership and great play making ability. The Bears need to draft someone who can be the face of our defense and bring back the Monsters of the Midway.