The NFL Draft is later this month, so I hope you are prepared for another round of hot stove rumors regarding the Chicago Bears and the No. 8 pick.
Over at NFL.com, draft analyst Chad Reuter shares five potential trades teams should be exploring leading up to the draft, and two of those proposals involve teams moving up to acquire quarterbacks. More interestingly, one of those proposals involves the Bears making a move with GM Ryan Pace’s former employer.
Reuter offers up the idea of the New Orleans Saints (No. 27 overall) trading up to the Bears’ spot (No. 8 overall) in order to draft Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. The 2017 Heisman-winner has drawn comparisons to Drew Brees, because of his size and arm strength. And even though Brees and the Saints signed a deal with hopes of finishing his career in New Orleans, it would be prudent for the team to keep an eye out for his potential successor.
And if quarterbacks are taken with the first three picks, as he projects, then the Saints could jump into the fray in search of one of their own (this wouldn’t be an unprecedented move, mind you, as the Kansas City Chiefs moved from No. 27 to No. 10 last year in order to draft Patrick Mahomes – who will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2018).
But now for the question on everyone’s mind … What’s in it for the Bears?
Reuter suggests one or two picks in the 2018 draft, as well as “a high pick or two” in 2019 should do the trick. On the surface, this could help Pace reach his oft-stated goal of building a sustainable contender through the draft. However, Reuter’s scenario doesn’t take into consideration who else would be on the board when the Bears go on the clock. If Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is available, it’s difficult to envision Chicago trading out of that spot and passing on the best offensive lineman available when it’s also a position of need.
If the Bears’ preferred prospect is off the board at No. 8, it would be easier to see where the Bears could have an interest in moving back and collecting picks. But whether you look at it short-term or big-picture, dropping down to No. 27 doesn’t feel ideal. Blue-chip talent doesn’t grow on trees and rarely falls outside the top-10.
For the sake of this post, let’s say the Bears and Saints agree on a deal in which New Orleans sends its first two picks in the 2018 and 2019 drafts in exchange for the No. 8 pick. While it would take the Bears out of the top-10, it would leave them in a spot to draft a late-round steal. Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk, Georgia outside linebacker/edge defender Lorenzo Carter, LSU edge rusher Arden Key, and UTEP guard Will Hernandez are the types of players who could be available at No. 27. Some of these names could also be available when the Bears are on the clock again with pick No. 39.
One pretty major hold up in a potential Bears-Saints swap could be New Orleans’ lack of a second-round pick in 2018. The San Francisco 49ers own pick No. 59, which would have belonged to the Saints had it not been for a draft-weekend swap in 2017.
Pace has done a great job keeping his draft plans close to the vest in each of his first three seasons as the team’s general manager and things are feeling similar as we approach his fourth. Still, rumors are going to circle the team as long as it owns a top-10 pick and has a market of teams looking to trade up and draft quarterback. The Bears could trade down in the first round of the draft for the first time since Pace took over if the right deal comes about, I just have a hard time seeing that deal being made to fall this far back in the draft.