Contrary to popular belief, not every mock draft has the Chicago Bears taking Quenton Nelson with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Sure, the Notre Dame guard is the best offensive line prospect in the draft and he would fit a major hole on the offense. But other teams have needs at the position, including four teams picking ahead of the Bears who aren’t expected to take a quarterback.
Let’s dive in and check out some other candidates projected to be on the Bears’ radar.
- Arthur Arkush’s second mock draft at Pro Football Weekly has quarterbacks going off the board with the first four picks. Again, that would be music to the ears of Bears fans hoping for the best prospect available. In this case it’s Florida State safety Derwin James. Drafting James would represent a similar line of thinking to when the Bears drafted Leonard Floyd with the ninth pick in 2016. James is an athletic specimen who is versatile enough to play any number of positions on the gridiron, and play them exceptionally. He has coverage skills, strong instincts, a willingness and ability to make tackles in the open field, and can even blitz the quarterback.
- As more teams employ three-receiver sets and pass-catching tight ends while also showing the ability to run well out of one-back sets, players like James will become that much more valuable. The Bears seem set at safety, but a team that will face three Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks twice a year for the foreseeable future simply cannot have enough high-end defensive backs.
- Should the Bears shy away from James, Arkush offers up the idea of the team trading down with eyes on Edmunds, UTSA pass rusher Marcus Davenport, Boston College edge defender Harold Landry, or even Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey.
- Arkush isn’t alone in seeing this unforeseen run at quarterbacks as a possibility that unfolds.
- SB Nation’s Dan Kadar also has the Bears taking Edmunds with the eighth pick, but only after four quarterbacks are taken with the first four selections. If it happens, it would be a first for the NFL and that Chicago would be the beneficiary of a historic quarterback run makes it that much more interesting for us. As for Edmunds, he looks like the type of player with the athleticism, speed, coverage skills, and the ability to grow that this front office seeks out of a top-10 pick.
- The quarterback run will be fun to watch, especially if teams are pushing their way toward the top via trades. Anything to help the Bears get the kind of player they need with the eighth pick to keep the momentum they have built in a strong offseason going in the right direction. HOWEVER, it would be agonizing in a sense if either of the mock drafts unfold as Arkush or Kadar predict. Especially with Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb, and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley coming off the board right before the Bears have a chance to pick. Chicago will come away with one of the draft’s top talents, but Chubb, Barkley, and Nelson are the best of the best as far as prospect standing is concerned. Missing out on a potential talent like that will sting a little bit.
- Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times builds a case against drafting Nelson in the top-10, citing stud interior linemen like Steve Hutchinson and David DeCastro – guards with top-10 skills – who dropped to the middle of the first round. Even though there isn’t another guard with Nelson’s potential, Potash believes there are other capable players who can fill that position. Frankly, the Bears don’t have to look any further than Cody Whitehair, who was a second-round pick out of Kansas State who would have been a guard had it not been for Hroniss Grasu’s injury and Josh Sitton’s sudden availability on the free agent market.
- So where does GM Ryan Pace go from here if Nelson isn’t the pick at No. 8? Like Kadar before him, Potash sends Edmunds to Chicago. And for what it’s worth, Nelson isn’t even on the board when the Bears pick. The Colts swoop in at No. 6 to take the lineman who can help keep Andrew Luck from getting pressured up the middle.
- And because it’s nice to take a the pulse from another city, NBC Sports Washington also has the Bears taking Edmunds with the eighth pick.
- Just when you thought you were clear of the Nelson rumors, you’re drawn right back in. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has the Notre Dame guard going to the Bears, and has some cautionary words: “Don’t overthink it, Chicago.”