The closer we get to the draft, the more intricate the mocks become.
Full seven-round mocks start to come into play, while four-round mocks paint a picture of how teams might go about attacking the rounds that have players with the highest upsides.
After using free agency to find starting-caliber players on short-term deals, it’s almost time for the Chicago Bears to use their draft picks to set the team up with some pieces who will be here for the long haul.
- DraftWire has a full seven-round mock draft up, complete with compensation picks and all. Unfortunately, the Bears won’t have any such picks coming their way this year. However, they do have safety Jamal Adams coming with the third overall selection in this DraftWire mock. It is the first of several picks in which Luke Easterling fills holes on the Bears roster. Other team selections include an offensive tackle in the second round, a cornerback in the third, two pass-catching targets in the fourth, a linebacker in the fifth, and defensive lineman in the seventh. If the Bears can fill needs in the secondary, add targets for quarterback Mike Glennon, and add to their defensive depth, they will have had a successful draft weekend. Of course, developing these picks into useful players becomes the most important step.
- Reminder: The Bears don’t have a sixth-round pick in 2017. It was dealt to the Houston Texans for tight end Khari Lee in 2015. Lee, who played for the Detroit Lions in 2016, spent only one year in Chicago. Whoops.
- For what it’s worth, mock drafts by Rob Rang at CBS Sports, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, and Todd McShay at ESPN have the Bears picking Adams, too. There seems to be a growing consensus that is leaning toward Adams if the Bears don’t select Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. Perhaps the Bears’ approach to their secondary in free agency has strengthened that consensus.
- Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke also has the Bears using their third overall pick to improve the secondary, but doesn’t line up one of the top safeties in the draft. That’s partially because he has Jamal Adams going second overall to the 49ers. Instead, Burke projects the Bears to draft Ohio State cornerback Mashon Lattimore. A clean bill of health for Lattimore’s hamstrings ahead of the draft would be nice, because while the Bears have depth at the cornerback position, they don’t have a player with Lattimore’s upside. Burke adds that the Bears’ signing of Mike Glennon allows the team to use its early picks to address other areas of need, which lines up with what GM Ryan Pace recently said at the start of free agency.
- HOWEVER, it is still conceivable that the best player on the board when it’s the Bears’ turn to pick is Deshaun Watson. Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling has the Bears selecting Watson with the third pick in the draft – even though Chicago has lined up Glennon to be its Week 1 starter. The Bears sent the most important members of their talent evaluation team to see Watson at Clemson’s pro day (which really was something else) last week. Head coach John Fox seemed to be among the most interested parties as he was seen side-by-side with Clemson counterpart Dabo Swinney during the duration of Watson’s throwing drills. Remember, the Bears’ signing of Glennon isn’t expected to stop them from drafting their long-term solution at quarterback in 2017, especially if there is a fit to be picked.
- Jake Perper of Chicago Now’s Bears Backer blog has a Bears-centric seven-round mock draft, which has the team taking Stanford’s Solomon Thomas in the first round, but that might not be the most eye-catching piece of this mock. Davis Webb going in the second round to fill the team’s developmental quarterback needs would be a real eye-opener. Further, selections of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster from USC and Senior Bowl standout safety Lorenzo Jerome from St. Francis represent high floor prospects who fit Bears needs.
- In one of the most unique mock drafts you’ll see this offseason, Will Brinson has the Cleveland Browns trading four draft picks (including three in 2017) to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s a steep price, but it would result in Cleveland coming away with the offseason’s most talked-about quarterback project. As for the draft itself, Brinson has the Bears selecting Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen with the third pick. Allen has been a very popular selection among mock drafts, and will likely continue to be just that unless the arthritic shoulders become too much of a cause for concern. The fit with the Bears is almost too perfect.
- A four-round mock draft from NFL.com’s Chris Reuter has the Bears addressing needs, but with some fresh faces. For example, rather than tabbing Allen with the third overall pick, Reuter has Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas going to the Bears in an effort to rebuild the front seven. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as Reuter has the team filling needs such as tight end (David Njoku, Miami), offensive tackle (Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M), linebacker (Carroll Phillips, Illinois), and cornerback (Corn Elder, Miami). It’s hard to ague with a mock draft that fills areas of need with young players with upside.