Later today, we’ll learn if Mitch Trubisky will have a familiar face returning as a target or if the Chicago Bears grossly miscalculated Cameron Meredith’s market and will need to turn elsewhere (again) for receiver help. Tick. Tock.
- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that two of the top safeties in this draft class “have the Bears’ full attention” with regards to how the team will use their first-round draft pick. Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and Florida State’s Derwin James are playmakers with high ceilings and the ability to play multiple roles on defense. So while the Bears seem set with Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos, their presence shouldn’t stop the team from drafting a potentially elite defender.
- The NFC North is full of potential mismatches and Chicago would be wise to find a defender who can do things like cover receivers and tight ends, be a willing (and able) tackler against the run, and blitz the quarterback. These are all things Fitzpatrick and James excelled at during their college careers. Because offenses are forcing defenses to play in nickel more often than ever, the use of five-DB sets is on the rise and it would be a good thing if the Bears’ fifth defensive back is someone who can be relied on to stop the run and the pass without losing anything.
- Because the Bears have been connected to Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch, here’s a draft nugget to keep an eye on when it comes to defenders of interest:
On linebackers: 4 expected to go Rd 1. Edmunds, Smith, Vander Esch and Evans. Talk from scouts is that Edmunds has really separated himself and should go top 10
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 8, 2018
- Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling’s latest mock draft has the Bears addressing spots on the defensive side of the ball with each of their first picks. Edmunds is the guy who goes off the board at No. 8, with Easterling sharing his belief that the Bears’ moves in free agency will allow the team to target some top defensive options. Chicago doubles up on defense with UCF cornerback Mike Hughes, who was once mocked to the Bears with the No. 8 pick and has been rising up draft charts in recent weeks. It sure would be nice to get a first-round value in Round 2. This team doesn’t have any third round picks, but does have two in the fourth. That’s where Easterling has the Bears filling holes at wide receiver (Florida State’s Auden Tate) and offensive tackle (West Georgia’s Desmond Harrison). After shooting for upside in the draft last year, it could be nice if the team finds a way to bring balance with this class.
- After going all-in on plugging holes on offense in free agency, it would be logical to use the draft to add talent to defense. However, Around the NFL Writer Jeremy Bergman highlights one offensive area the Bears haven’t addressed … yet. Comparisons to the Rams have been unavoidable, but one thing Los Angeles did that Chicago hasn’t (yet) is bulk up the offensive line. Bergman wonders when and where will the Bears find their version of stud tackle Andrew Whitworth … or even solid center John O’Sullivan. Adding all these pieces on the outside is nice, but none will be productive if Mitch Trubisky can’t get them the ball.
- Perhaps that lineman is someone new OL Coach Harry Hiestand is familiar with. Former NFL executive Gil Branch told The MMQB’s Peter King that Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey would be the biggest surprise in the top 10. “He’ll go in the top 10,” Brandt said.
- HOWEVER, Brandt now says he was misquoted in The MMQB and goes in a TOTALLY different direction:
@SI_PeterKing I'm getting killed on Twitter. I didn't realize you were asking me a prediction for the top 10. I thought you asked what would surprise me most in top 10. I would be shocked if McGlinchey went in top 10. I wouldn't be shocked if he slid out of Round 1.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 9, 2018
- McGlinchey would be something of a surprise for the top-10 because he isn’t the highest-graded offensive lineman and he projects to move over to right tackle in the pros after being a stud left tackle for the Fighting Irish. Then again, teams still prioritize tackles over guards, so some team could pull a draft-day shocker.
- As for that other Notre Dame offensive lineman, he was pretty good:
Quenton Nelson DOMINATED in 2017 pic.twitter.com/uXZtBrVpVW
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2018
- Over at Bears Barroom, Aldo Gandia makes a case for drafting Quenton Nelson with the No. 8 pick. So while Nelson is widely regarded as the best offensive lineman prospect in this draft, it would still take an outside-the-box thinker to use a top-10 pick on an interior lineman. Football is changing and defenses are evolving. With pressure coming from up the middle being something that is on the rise, strengthening the middle shouldn’t go overlooked.
- On the other side of the spectrum, John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago shares a cautionary tale of why the Bears should be hesitant to draft an interior lineman in the top-10. Mullin unearths the name Tony Mandarich, an offensive line prospect whose status as the best offensive line prospect ever turned out to be too good to be true. This isn’t to say Mullin believes Nelson is another Mandarich, but the list of interior linemen picked in the top-10 who turn into the Day 1, plug-and-play, Pro Bowl type are few and far between.
- Whether it’s Nelson, McGlinchey, or someone else, the Bears’ next draft pick will be wearing this hat on draft day:
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) April 10, 2018
- The hat is OK, but isn’t something I’m going to run out and buy. Not right away. Alright, it’s growing on me a little. It still looks a bit clunky and cluttered because of the jammed lettering, but I’ve made more questionable decisions with things that go on my head. I’m no big city fashion expert, but designers would have been better off going with a more simplistic look. “MONSTERS” would have looked good on its own, and Bears fans would have made the “Monsters of the Midway” connection on their own. Of course, they could have opted for “Bear Down” on their hats, but as Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times points out, that copyright is owned by the University of Arizona. Well played, ‘Zona.