Before we dive into the latest from the land of mock drafts, I found this breakdown from Pro Football Focus to be neat:
Where the NFL's elite players in 2017 were drafted pic.twitter.com/Cgv7tBKpqG
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 23, 2018
- Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Quenton Nelson is going to the Bears in the draft. It’s been a common theme throughout the mock draft process, and you can add Peter King of SI.com’s The MMQB to the growing chorus of analysts. Because of the trades King has going down here, this mock is a bit wild by our standards. However, as King points out, there seems to be “universal agreement” on Nelson going to the Bears because of his fit as a run blocker clearing space for Jordan Howard and as a pass protector keeping Mitch Trubisky clean. For what it’s worth, King calls Nelson a smart pick.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune also has the Bears taking Nelson, even though Biggs himself points out the team has a greater need at linebacker. Ah, the age-old debate of need vs. want. Then again, the Bears have a pretty pressing need at left guard. It’s not as if Nelson would be a luxury pick by any stretch. Biggs calls Nelson a blue-chip lineman prospect, and there aren’t too many arguments to make that would go against taking a player who projects to make that kind of impact at the line of scrimmage.
- Over at CBS Sports, R.J. White is another believer in Nelson going to the Bears. HOWEVER, White’s mock draft stands out as a seven-round behemoth that includes the Bears trading back in Round 2 with the Carolina Panthers in order to add a third-round pick. Among the highlights in this seven-round mock: LSU edge rusher Arden Key going to Chicago in the second round, UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin getting chosen with one of the team’s fourth-round picks, and Indiana receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. rounding it out for the Bears in the seventh round.
- By all accounts, Nelson is going to be the next elite interior offensive lineman. Between his All-American production at Notre Dame, size and noteworthy athleticism that was shown off at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and the Bears’ need at the position, Nelson is often tabbed as the player most likely to go to Chicago at No. 8. We could make an entire post of links that connect Nelson and the Bears via mock drafts, but where is the fun in that?
- But seriously, Nelson is pretty good:
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 23, 2018
- Patrick Finley shares the Chicago Sun-Times’ final mock draft, which has the Bears turning to the defensive side of the ball. With Nelson off the board, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith is the pick. Smith is one of those players who might be overlooked because of his size, but if his pro production mirrors what he did in college, there will be several teams who will be kicking themselves for passing on him. Height doesn’t measure heart or production, and Smith has a lot of those two things going for him. Smith appears to be the kind of plug-and-play inside linebacker who can make an immediate impact. And who’s going to be against the idea of the Bears drafting the franchise’s next stud inside linebacker?
- Want to read more about Smith? Of course you do. Eric Edholm’s profile of the Bulldogs’ stud linebacker over at Pro Football Weekly is definitely what you need to see if you have any doubts about him possibly being the Bears’ pick. Smith is PFW’s No. 8 rated draft prospect.
- Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com has the Bears going with a different elite linebacker prospect. Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds is the pick, and it’s one that is sensible if you sit down and think about it. Edmunds fits the bill as a Ryan Pace type prospect – an elite athlete with impressive size, who is still a bit raw, but with brimming with upside and potential. The ultra-athletic linebacker will be 19 on draft day, but still could slide into a starting role at inside linebacker right away, while also being versatile enough to rush the passer out of a sub package. That’s the kind of versatility Vic Fangio could turn into an asset for this defense.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain has the Bears going with a more traditional pass-rusher in a seven-round need-based mock. UTSA edge rusher Marcus Davenport is the pick here in Round 1. Like Edmunds, Davenport is an athletic marvel with plus size, solid college production, and immense upside. Pegging players who aren’t power conference studs is difficult, but Davenport has long had a first-round grade attached to his name. He might need to grow some into his position as a pro, but the juice could be worth the squeeze if the coaching staff helps him put it all together.
- In Pro Football Focus’ latest mock draft, the Bears opt for a different pass-rusher prospect in Boston College’s Harold Landry. There is a belief Landry would have made a run to be the draft’s top edge defender if he was totally healthy in 2017. Landry was great for B.C. in 2016, but was literally slowed by an ankle injury. But he worked out well and could still a star at the next level if his injury issues are truly behind him.
- Former Bears receiver Curtis Conway, now serving as an analyst for NFL.com, provides a mock draft of his own. No, he doesn’t opt for a receiver. Instead, he sends Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward to Chicago. Conway cites the need at the position because of the talented receivers who will go against the Bears in the season to come – particularly in the NFC North. With that in mind, Conway sees Ward as a player who would be up for the challenge.