It’s getting to be that time of the year:
Some crazy trade rumors floating around today!!!
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 16, 2018
Fortunately, none of those trades should include Jordan Howard. Also … Is it draft day yet?
- Nine days. We can get through this together, and mock drafts will certainly help us pass the time. The Athletic’s inaugural mock draft gets input from 20 different writers to provide a direction for teams owning the 32 first-round picks. Kevin Fishbain sends Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to Chicago. Edmunds fits GM Ryan Pace’s M.O. of high-upside athletic specimen who could grow to be game-changers if things develop as projected. If Edmunds can start immediately at inside linebacker and be used as an edge rusher in different packages, he could grow into a player we’ll look back on and say was worthy of a top-10 pick. If not, *gulp* we’ll probably be looking at what could have been with the players who were drafted after.
- Among the players the Bears pass on in The Athletic’s mock are some studs in the secondary (Alabama’s Minkah Fotzpatrick, Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, UCF’s Mike Hughes), a top-tier pass-rusher (Boston College’s Harold Landry), and the class’ other top inside linebacker (Georgia’s Roquan Smith). There isn’t a player who stands out as one a player the Bears should definitely take instead of Edmunds, which leads me to believe that trading down might be the best option.
- That provides us a smooth transition to Kevin Fishbain’s three trade-down scenarios the Bears could face in next week’s draft. Mind you, the Bears haven’t traded down in the first round in Pace’s three drafts. However, it’s worth noting he has traded down in the second round in each of the last two years. Not all trade-back situations are created equal and each has its own benefits, as well as some inherent risks. For example, trading down a few spots (say, with the Dolphins and Bills with the 11th and 12th picks, respectively) would have a different price than trading to the tail end of the draft (possibly with the Patriots, who have two first-rounders, or Saints). A dream scenario could be the Bears trading down, getting prize picks in this draft and a first-rounder in 2019. And if that’s how it plays out, Pace could kill two birds with one stone by recouping some picks that were lost in last year’s Mitch Trubisky trade, while also improving the team in the short term.
- Again, everything depends on how many quarterbacks go before the Bears are on the clock with the No. 8 pick. A handful of NFL analysts weighed in with their thoughts on how many first-round signal callers will hear their name called two Thursdays from now in Arlington. The idea that five quarterbacks could go in Round 1 is astonishing, but also speaks to the importance of the position, especially from teams who don’t have faith in the one currently listed as QB1 on their roster.
- The Bears don’t need quarterback, but do need quarterback protection. Yet, NFL.com lists six teams that have the greatest need along the offensive line and the Bears aren’t one of them. Considering the team allowed its left guard to become a free agent and the right tackle has just one year left on his deal, I’d beg to differ. Alas, you already know Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson tops the list of interior linemen, while college teammate Mike McGlinchey is the top-rated tackle. Some of the other names on the list should be intriguing finds in later rounds, such as Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown (who might slip out of the first round after a disappointing showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis) and TCU tackle Joseph Noteboom (a projected second- or third-round pick).
- We have spent a considerable amount of time highlighting as many top-30 prospect visits as we can, but it’s worth pointing out that these visits don’t necessarily indicate a team’s ultimate interest. Remember how sneaky the Bears were to make a visit with Mitch Trubisky? Still, the Bears have their reasons for visiting with particular prospects. Without diving down that rabbit hole, let’s just say that more information about a player is better than less. Just ask the Cleveland Browns with regards to Johnny Manziel.
- With that said, the only top offensive line prospects the Bears have met with that are public knowledge are Nelson and Iowa center James Daniels. Just throwing that out there.
- Speaking of visits, the Bears used an official visit to meet with Pittsburgh punter Ryan Winslow. Considering needs elsewhere, it’s difficult to imagine Chicago drafting a punter. Then again, the team made a push for Cincinnati’s Kevin Huber before he re-signed with his hometown team. That led the Bears back to Patrick O’Donnell, who was receiving interest from the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles at the time of his signing. But because O’Donnell re-signed on just a one-year deal, it’s easy to envision a punting competition unfolding in Bourbonnais.
- The Bears opened their minicamp on Tuesday afternoon, and Chris Emma of 670 The Score underlines the most important aspects of this three-day extravaganza. No, Mitch Trubisky isn’t going to master the playbook in three days. And while I wouldn’t mind if he defies the odds and does just that, these three days in April serve as an opportunity for first-year head coach Matt Nagy to establish the tone and tempo of his practice style.
- I’d complain more about the weather, but at least the Bears’ offseason didn’t get delayed by an April blizzard like the Packers, as reported by Aaron Nagler of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- One player who isn’t at any minicamp is wide receiver Dez Bryant, who remains a free agent. Even though the Bears popped up as a team that could be in play to sign the Pro Bowl receiver, Bryant told Dallas radio host Mike Fisher he wants to play for the New York Giants. Fisher shares Bryant’s wish list, which doesn’t include the Bears. Aw, shucks. While joining Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and tight end Evan Engram to the mix sounds like a dream scenario for New York football fans, they won’t be alone.
- No Dez? No problem. Matt Eurich of 247Sports offers up a case for the Bears to re-sign Dontrelle Inman. That they haven’t gone that route just yet is a bit curious. The team could be waiting out the draft or Inman could be searching for a bigger role or a more stable situation. Either way, he is one of the handful of notable free agent receivers still without a team.