The Chicago Bears are reportedly “antsy” about trading down from the third overall pick.
And I’m feeling antsy about making it to draft day because there is so much noise surrounding the numerous possibilities. The Bears could move down, up, or stand pat. Each has its own pros and cons, while also potentially shaping the rest of the draft – let alone the franchise’s future. It’s an important draft for the Bears, so it’s important to explore all options at this point.
- The good news is that the Bears have options with what to do with the third overall pick, but it’s time to prepare for multiple possibilities since there is no clear-cut front-runner for the pick. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times runs through the decisions the Bears will face with the third overall pick. As much as a trade out of the pick would be an ideal scenario, Jahns points out it has happened only three times since 2000, and what stands out are the players teams were trading up to draft. The Browns moved up and made a swap with the Vikings to pick running back Trent Richardson in 2012, the Dolphins dealt with the Raiders to choose outside linebacker Dion Jordan in 2013, and the Redskins made a move with the 49ers to select offensive tackle Chris Samuels. There isn’t an offensive lineman worth using that pick on (and if there was, the Bears would probably be better off using it themselves), but perhaps there’s a chance the Bears could entice a team to move up and take LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Or even defensive lineman Solomon Thomas of Stanford. The Bears could choose from the top shelf of defensive backs, but the draft projects to be deep enough to draft starters as late as the third and fourth rounds, while drafting a quarterback third would go against the team’s public statements of support for Mike Glennon. (Earlier, Brett wrote about the teams that could plausibly trade up to three to ensure they get their preferred quarterback, but, as we’ve discussed, it is not perceived as a great class this year.)
- The Athletic’s Dan Durkin likens the draft to a “choose your own adventure” game. Durkin lays out three scenarios in which GM Ryan Pace can choose to travel. The adventure begins when the 49ers make the second overall selection, which could leave the Bears five players – including two quarterbacks – to focus on. Of course, that could change if San Francisco decides on taking a quarterback. And if that is how it unfolds, it could leave the Bears in a position to trade down and snag an extra pick while also being able to draft one of the draft’s top defensive backs. The team is in a good position despite the lack of a consensus on what to do with the pick. Without much certainty beyond the draft’s best prospect (Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett) the Bears could go in most any direction and make a pick that fits.
- Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu exemplifies the depth in this draft’s class of defensive backs. Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times profiles Melifonwu, who stood out at the Senior Bowl after a stellar college career with the Huskies. While he isn’t listed among the top-10 picks, Melifonwu projects to be a high profile safety because of his mix of athleticism, ball skills, size, and physicality. And history suggests the Bears could do well by waiting on drafting a safety later than the first round, which is when Melifonwu could come into play. Decision, decisions.
- The Bears did come to one decision when the team announced it was re-signing linebacker Sam Acho over the weekend. Acho has spent the last two seasons with the Bears contributing as a linebacker and on special teams after starting his career with a four-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals. He is a glue-guy type with leadership skills, which is essential for a player who thrives on special teams and as a reserve linebacker.
- Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who rose through the ranks as an offensive assistant, appears to be a Myles Garrett guy when it comes to the upcoming NFL Draft. While the Browns have a pressing need at quarterback, the Texas A&M defensive end is the best player available and Jackson seems to be leaning toward that direction. Now, whether or not he can convince people in his organization who are believers that North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky should be the top pick remains to be seen.
- In search of a reason to celebrate? NFL referees want to eliminate celebration penalties. Hooray! Hopefully there isn’t a penalty for excessive use of an exclamation point. And if there was, Scott Green, the head of the NFL’s Referees Association, would prefer not to call it anyway. Green told SiriusXM NFL Radio that on-field officials would rather not deal with penalizing celebrations, instead putting the onus on the league to punish players with fines. And while that seems equally silly, there are few things more annoying than referees huddling and taking time to make a decision on what is or isn’t worthy of a celebration penalty.