Combing through the numerous mock NFL Drafts can be tedious, especially before the free agent market opens up. What teams do in free agency will ultimately dictate how the top of the draft will unfold.
Still, early mocks allow for some unforeseen scenarios to present themselves. One of the most unique mock drafts comes from Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report, who goes against conventional wisdom and places two wide receivers in the top-10.
The first, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, comes off the board to the Chicago Bears with the eighth pick. With Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson already taken, the Bears snatch up Ridley in their attempt to build an Eagles-like receiving corps. The San Francisco 49ers follow in short order, taking SMU’s Courtland Sutton with the ninth pick. After winning a coin flip with the Oakland Raiders, the Niners add Sutton in their attempt to build a passing attack around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
This would be a draft day surprise, but depending on what happens in free agency and in the trade market, maybe it won’t be.
Kyle Crabbs of FanRag Sports goes in a different direction with his mock draft, and you can add him to the group of those who see the Bears taking Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with their first-round pick. Edmunds’ stock is growing ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where a physical specimen like him can really take off in the eyes of talent evaluators. Considering the Bears’ need at linebacker after releasing Jerrell Freeman, selecting Edmunds is a little more sensible today than it was yesterday.
Mike Helfrich’s head coaching career didn’t end as well as it could have in Oregon, but his knowledge of college prospects could come in handy during draft season. Over at 247 Sports, Matt Eurich offers up a list of Oregon Ducks who could be on the Bears’ draft-weekend radar because of their ties to the Bears’ new offensive coordinator. My two favorite prospects from this group play on the offensive side of the ball. Tyrell Crobsy projects to be a right tackle and his experience running the Ducks’ high-tempo offense could give him a leg up as far as younger offensive line prospects are concerned. He figures to be picked in the second or third round. Wide receiver Darren Carrington started his college career at Oregon before moving on to Utah after a DUII-related arrest following an incident in which he allegedly crashed into a pole at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Carrington caught 70 passes for 980 yards, and six touchdowns at Utah.
It doesn’t matter if the Bears get receiver help early or later in the draft. It matters that they get help for Mitch Trubisky, who hopes to take a big next step in his development. Eventually, Trubisky is going to need to make some tough throws. Over at NFL.com, Matt Harmon unveils the top-10 tight-window receivers, using NextGen Stats. “Tight windows” as described by NextGen Stats as a throw where the receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender. Sounds challenging. Sammy Watkins is the only free agent among the group to rank in the top-10, but he figures to get the franchise tag from the Rams. Jarvis Landry shows up in Harmon’s notes among the receivers who saw the lowest percentage of their overall targets come in tight windows. So if the Bears were to sign Landry (you know, if he isn’t tagged) perhaps it would be unfair to expect him to come down with a ton of contested passes.
So perhaps Albert Wilson is a better fit as a free agent addition after all. It’s something we discussed last week as Wilson’s name continued to pop up in connection with the Bears. Over at The Athletic, Dan Durkin dives deep into what Wilson brings to the table and concludes that while Landry might be a bigger name, Wilson could turn out to be a better fit for Matt Nagy’s offense. Not only is Wilson’s grasp of the offense valuable, it’s that the 25-year-old receiver could still have some untapped potential. Judging by how Nagy used him once he took over play calling duties, it’s evident the Bears’ new head coach believes he is ready to take on some new responsibilities in an expanded role.
Here’s hoping one of the most fun Bears receivers I’ve watched (and listened to on the radio) has a very happy birthday:
The Philadelphia Eagles lost their two top assistants to new jobs outside the organization, but I suppose that’s the small cost of business when you win a Super Bowl. Philadelphia has now filled both of their open roles by hiring Press Taylor as the team’s new QBs Coach and promoting Mike Groh from WRs Coach to Offensive Coordinator. Groh coached receivers with the Bears (under Marc Trestman) and Rams (Jeff Fisher) and will move up the organizational ladder. He still won’t call plays, as that duty still falls on head coach Doug Pederson.