The Chicago Bears have a rich history at linebacker and Mel Kiper Jr.’s second mock draft has the team picking a player who could be the latest in the line of studs at the position.
In a change from his first mock draft when he sent Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the Bears with the eighth pick, Kiper’s newest mock has the Bears selecting Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Considering the Bears just released inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, Edmunds fills a need and comes with tremendous upside.
“Edmunds is a tremendous athlete,” Kiper notes in his write-up at ESPN.com. “He could play inside or outside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4, and it’s that versatility and athleticism that has scouts drooling.”
Even though Edmunds (listed at 6-5 and 250 pounds) doesn’t look like a prototypical inside linebacker, Kiper wouldn’t rule that out as his ultimate position. Edmunds came up with 109 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, and 5.5 sacks in 2017 and is athletic enough to ably cover pass-catchers. That’s the kind of versatility Vic Fangio asks out of his defenders and could make him an ideal fit for the Bears’ defense now that Fangio is calling all the shots.
Kiper doesn’t seem totally sold on the Bears picking Edmunds here, offering up the idea that the team could also target an offensive tackle or wide receiver with the eighth pick, but that’s to be expected for a team with so many holes.
Ridley would be on the board for the Bears, but Kiper has him mocked to go to the Arizona Cardinals with the 15th pick. As for a possible tackle option, Kiper sends Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown to the Baltimore Ravens, who own the 16th pick. Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, who was mocked to go 11th to the Miami Dolphins in his first mock, drops out of the first round altogether and is projected to be a second-round pick. Perhaps the Bears could find value in adding an offensive line when their turn comes on Day 2.
As for dreams of drafting Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, those are dashed when Kiper mocks the Buccaneers taking him with the seventh pick.
Kiper has Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen going first overall to the Browns and two other quarterbacks being drafted ahead of the Bears. He also has UCLA signal caller Josh Rosen dropping out of the top-10. That scenario would probably put the Bears in a position to make a phone call or two to quarterback-thirsty teams behind them in the draft.
But if the Bears stick with the eighth pick, the team must strike and add an impact player who can start from Day 1. It’s quite possible that Edmunds could be that guy.