Tag season opened up today. And while we’re not expecting Bears-related tag news, there are other avenues in which the team can make improvements. At the top of the list this year is the NFL Draft. Chicago doesn’t have any early picks, but GM Ryan Pace has made a living in the middle and late rounds.
Let’s check out what’s happening in draft land.
- Each of Luke Easterling’s last two mock drafts have sent a running back to the Bears in the third round as a consensus continues to build toward running back as a Bears need. Easterling mocked Alabama’s Damien Harris to the Bears in the third round in one draft, while sending Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. to Chicago in another. Because we’ve taken an extended look at Snell, let’s direct our focus on Harris for a moment. The Crimson Tide have churned out waves of pro-caliber running back prospects under Nick Saban with Harris being the latest. Harris put together back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2016 and 2017 before registering just 876 as he lost carries to Josh Jacobs. But still … Harris scored nine touchdowns and hauled in 22 catches for 204 yards. Collecting three consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards isn’t bad by any stretch.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune takes a dive into some of the top running backs projected to be available in the middle and later rounds of the draft and unearths 10 names to keep an eye on. And over at the Chicago Audible, Stephen Letizia shares five for the Bears to target in the middle rounds. Let’s face it, friends. As much as we all enjoy what Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen bring to the table, running back is a position where depth is of the utmost importance because the wear-and-tear can catch up with a player (and team) in the blink of an eye.
- Stanford’s Bryce Love makes an appearance on both lists. Meanwhile, Memphis’ Darrell Henderson, Iowa State’s David Montgomery, and Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary stand out to me from Biggs’ list. As for Letizia’s list, we’ve already declared our man-crush on Henderson’s Memphis teammate Tony Pollard.
- Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport has a different running back in mind for the Bears, identifying Ohio State’s Mike Weber a the team’s dream draft target. Even though Davenport sees Weber fitting a physical mold of Jordan Howard as a “punishing downhill runner” he also deems Weber’s speed and receiving skills at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. If he flashes there, he could be someone who helps round out the running backs room.
- NFL Media analyst Charlie Casserly and Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus each have first-round mocks up for public consumption. In case you’re curious who the Raiders are taking with what would have been the Bears’ first-round pick, Renner is sending Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins to Jon Gruden’s gang and Casserly has them plucking Michigan linebacker Devin Bush.
- If you love cross-positional comparisons, then Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley telling Peter King that Kyler Murray reminds him of Barry Sanders is right in your wheelhouse.
- This is a bummer:
Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown, a projected top 15 pick in April’s NFL Draft, underwent surgery for a LisFranc injury last month that will prevent him from participating in the combine and his Pro Day, but he still is expected to be ready for summer training camp, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2019
- Brown was one of college football’s best receivers last year and landed as a top-10 overall prospect by NFL Network insider Daniel Jeremiah. Even though Brown is expected to be ready for training camp, his draft stock is going to take a hit.
- Matt Miller’s scouting notebook at Bleacher Report is full of treats this time of year. His latest share features commentary from anonymous NFL scouts declaring which prospects are being overrated right now. Among them is David Edwards, a Wisconsin offensive tackle once linked to the Bears as a middle-round pick. Edwards’ stock is on the rise, which an AFC Area Scout sees as good news for their team because it means a better player will fall to them. I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.