Speaking of the draft (because we always are), it’s never too early to get a look at a potential big board – especially one that is laser-focused on the Bears.
Chris Roling of Bleacher Report pieces together several big boards that are relevant to the Bears’ draft needs after the first wave of free agency.
Not only is there a top-100 board overall for the Bears, but also ones for quarterback, wide receiver, edge rusher, cornerback, and safety. It is one of the most detailed pre-draft analysis pieces you’ll see leading up to the draft. Put plainly: it’s freakin’ awesome.
It also serves as a reminder that even though the Bears took care of several needs in free agency, some of their most impactful moves are yet to come. What happens on draft day will dictate the team’s future more than this winter’s free agent spending spree. Here’s one take on how the Bears may be approaching the Draft.
Aside from the Bears’ overall Top 100 Big Board, Roling provides his take on the Bears’ boards for wide receiver, edge, cornerback, safety, and quarter back – which, awesome. Peeking into the top five from those positions, I’ve listed each player’s name, rank and school. Again, all of the rankings are from the Bears’ perspective, not necessarily the draft overall.
Still, this should help provide some context for a few positions and players’ relative strengths.
- Corey Davis, Western Michigan (11th)
- Mike Williams, Clemson (25th)
- John Ross, Washington (28th)
- Zay Jones, East Carolina (44th)
- Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech (46th)
Although the Bears could use some impact talent at wide receiver – I don’t know if you heard, but Alshon Jeffery is no longer with the team – the draft just isn’t deep in that position. The highest ranked player on the Bears’ board (according to Roling), Davis, is only the 11th ranked player for the team overall. Instead, according to Roling, the Bears will have to count on Cameron Meredith and Kevin White in 2017. While they may pick someone up in the later rounds, a wide receiver will not be going 1-3.
- Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (1st)
- Solomon Thomas, Stanford (3rd)
- Derek Barnett, Tennessee (12th)
- Jonathan Allen, Alabama (17th)
- Takkarist McKinley, UCLA (18th)
Now we’re getting somewhere. The consensus #1 player in the draft, Myles Garrett, also happens to come at a position of need for the Bears. But very few expect him to slip down to number 3, so you can probably put that out of your mind. Solomon Thomas, however, is ranked third overall for the Bears and is a potential direction for Chicago (who could very realistically be available). At the same time, the 17th ranked Jonathan Allen has been attached the Bears first overall in the not so distant past, so really anything is possible. One pundit’s opinion can clearly vary quite a lot from another’s.
What’s nicest, however, is that this position is so deep (eight edge players rank in the first 32 spots for the Bears, by this measure), that if an unexpected opportunity presented itself in the first round, the Bears could still add significantly at the beginning of the second.
- Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State (8th)
- Quincy Wilson, Florida (15th)
- Marlon Humphrey, Alabama (16th)
- Fabian Moreau, UCLA (23rd)
- Tre’Davious White, LSU (30th)
- Jamal Adams, LSU (4th)
- Malik Hooker, Ohio State (5th)
- Budda Baker, Washington (19th)
- Obi Melifonwu, UConn (20th)
- Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (26th)
Just like edge rushers, according to Roling, there’s no such thing as having too many good cornerbacks and safeties. And given the Bears’s prominent (no, seriously) needs in the secondary, the amount of defensive talent is a very good sign.
Marson Lattimore, Jamal Adams, and Malik Hooker are probably the biggest threats to go to Chicago third overall – indeed click on any of their names for mocks connecting each to the Bears – but either way this draft is deep in one of the Bears’ biggest areas of needs. In fact, Roling suggests that safety is probably the most obvious pick for the Bears, but he’s still unsure if they’ll pull the trigger in the first round or later.
Of course, the biggest long-term need for the Bears is …
- Deshaun Watson, Clemson (2nd)
- DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame (6th)
- Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina (7th)
- Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech (9th)
- Davis Webb, Califorina (45th)
Although Deshaun Watson has increasingly become considered the best overall QB talent in the draft, most believe he hasn’t done enough to separate himself from the next two – Kizer and Trubisky – or in general to warrant such a high pick. While it would’ve been lovely if the Bears had the option of a sure-fire, can’t-miss QB prospect at three, they just don’t. With that said, there is a consensus forming around the top four QBs, before a huge drop off to Davis Webb. And after that, Nathan Peterman (Pitt) is the only other top 100 QB on the Bears draft board. If they do wind up picking a quarterback at some point, it’s more likely to be from the back end of their board and in a later round.
Needless to say, drafting a QB might be sexy, but it is not necessarily the way to go for the Bears in the first round (even if Roling’s may think otherwise). For more on each of those quarterbacks check out Roling’s post. He breaks down each one.
So then, what does the Bears overall Top 100 Big Board look like? Well, for the whole thing, you’ll have to head over to Bleacher Report (which includes FAR more picks and even more detail), but this is how the Top Ten shaped up according to Roling:
Top 10 Overall:
- Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (Edge)
- Deshaun Watson, Clemson (QB)
- Solomon Thomas, Stanford (Edge)
- Jamal Adams, LSU (Safety)
- Malik Hooker, Ohio State (Safety)
- DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame (QB)
- Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina (QB)
- Marson Lattimore, Ohio State (CB)
- Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech (QB)
- O.J. Howard, Alabama (TE)
So how do you feel about their chances to make a difference in the near or long-term? Overall, it seems that although the Bears may not find an immediate answer at quarterback, their ability to improve their secondary with a true difference maker is very possible.
This draft figures to be the Bears’ most important in a while, so getting it just right is imperative. We’ll have to see which way they go.
Luis Medina contributed to this post.