The Chicago Bears’ offseason of talent acquisition has one more – very important step: The 2018 NFL Draft.
After GM Ryan Pace made moves to add Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, Aaron Lynch, and others in free agency, the organization’s focus shifts to adding more young talent to the roster through the draft.
Despite an active free agency period, the Bears still have many needs. We’re going to look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest leading up to the draft.
Currently on the Roster (2017 Pro Football Focus Grade):
- Kyle Fuller (84.3)
- Bryce Callahan (82.9)
- Prince Amukamara (81.2)
- Cre’von LeBlanc (77.0)
- Sherrick McManis (71.2)
- Marcus Cooper Sr. (42.5)
Pro Football Focus’ Top-5 Prospects:
- Joshua Jackson, Iowa
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
- Denzel Ward, Ohio State
- Donte Jackson, LSU
- Mike Hughes, UCF
Best of the Rest: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado; Jaire Alexander, Louisville; Carlton Davis, Auburn; Perry Nickerson, Tulane; Nick Nelson, Wisconsin; M.J. Stewart, North Carolina
The Bears re-signed Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara to multi-year deals, while also retaining top slot corner Bryce Callahan on a one-year restricted free agent tender. But while cornerback doesn’t seem like a need, the NFC North has three Pro Bowl quarterbacks and each division rival has multiple playmaking receivers. You simply can’t have enough high-end defensive backs if you’re playing in the Bears’ division.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
Ohio State’s Denzel Ward could go as high as the Browns at No. 4, and has been connected to the Broncos, Colts, and Buccaneers. In short, Ward is a possibility for every team picking ahead of the Bears who isn’t projected to take a quarterback. Neat. That could leave the Bears with some interesting alternatives elsewhere.
The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…
Jaylen Dunlap, Illinois; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama; Mike Hughes, UCF; Joshua Jackson, Iowa; Isaiah Oliver, Colorado; Malik Reaves, Villanova; Denzel Ward, Ohio State
If I Had to Pick One:
It’s interesting that Fitzpatrick is listed as a corner here, because, as PFF notes, he played just 13 snaps as an outside cornerback. With that said, that is believed to be where he provide the most value in the NFL. Indeed, PFF’s Draft Guide says Fitzpatrick has the traits and talent that could lead him to be a great corner in the mold of Jalen Ramsey. If that future is in there, he could be a slam dunk pick for the Bears at No. 8.