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):
- Adrian Amos (92.0)
- Eddie Jackson (77.1)
- DeAndre Houston-Carson (53.5)
- Deon Bush (48.1)
- Deiondre’ Hall (42.5)
Pro Football Focus’ Top-5 Prospects:
- Derwin James, Florida State
- Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
- Quin Blanding, Virginia
- Kyzir White, West Virginia
- Tarvarius Moore, Southern Miss
Best of the Rest: Marcus Allen, Penn State, DeShon Elliott, Texas; Damon Webb, Ohio State; Justin Reid, Stanford; Godwin Igwobuike, Northwestern; Kyle Queiro, Nortwestern
The Bears haven’t been armed with two young, solid, and productive starting safeties since Mike Brown and Tony Parrish were lining up in the secondary. There isn’t a direct need here, though it’s worth pointing out that Amos is in a contract year. Even if he wasn’t, there is still a need at the position because of the kind of defender the NFL needs in its secondary right now. Moving forward, teams will need a defensive back who can play man and zone coverage, while also being a willing tackler, and an occasional blitzer. It’s something of a hybrid position, but the need for this type of player is growing.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
You’ll notice Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick is missing from the rankings. That’s because he landed on PFF’s list of top cornerbacks. I suppose that’s where the site’s draft team sees him moving forward. If Fitzpatrick is off the board, Florida State’s Derwin James slides into the top spot among safety prospects.
The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama; Tarvarius Moore, Southern Miss; Kyle Queiro, Northwestern; Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama; Damon Webb, Ohio State
If I Had to Pick One:
Like Alabama did with Fitzpatrick, Florida State asked a lot from James as a defender. James did everything from covering receivers and tight ends out of the slot, played as a linebacker in the dime package, chipped in as a deep safety, and provided a pass rush here and there as a blitzer. He was excellent in every role given to him while with the Seminoles. If versatility is the next wave for future NFL defenses, James could be at the forefront of the movement. And if the Bears are looking for a game-changing playmaker, James might be their best bet to find one in the first round if they stay at No. 8.