Combine season is in the books, which means it’s nearly time to take a full dive into free agency. But first, let’s round up some draft-related nuggets while the top prospects are still on our mind.
I want to say this up front because it’s always worth repeating: mock drafts this time of year are almost worthless. I mean, they’re still fun as heck to review and discuss, of course. But we’re not even a week into March and there’s no certain direction any of these teams will go. So I’d advise against getting too attached to any of the prospects connected to the Bears at this stage of the game.
HOWEVER, you’ll also notice my use of the qualifier “almost” in front of worthless. Besides the fun, mock draft season provides an opportunity to better understand who’s likely to be available, when they’re likely to come off the board, and why they are (or aren’t) a good fit. Knowledge is power, so let’s explore (even if it’s with caution).
- NFL.com’s Chad Reuter put together a three-round mock draft before the Combine kicked off and sent Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams to the Bears with pick No. 87. Vandy isn’t a football powerhouse, but the school produces a stellar athlete every now and again. Williams is a 6-3, 211-pound corner with 32 1/2 inch arms who earned All-SEC honors last year after coming away with four interceptions, 18 passes defended, 61 tackles, and a conference-leading 14 pass breakups. Depending on how he’s used/whom he’s matched up against, Williams could present a mismatch. The speed (he ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds) wasn’t up to par, but perhaps that puts the Bears in a better position to draft him. Reuter sees Williams as a fit if the team is unable to re-sign Bryce Callahan, but a player of Williams’ build could conceivably move outside at some point down the line.
- Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling put together a mock and sent Alabama running back Damien Harris to the Bears with their third-round selection. This is not the first mock that ships the Crimson Tide back to Chicago and probably won’t be the last. Alabama produces NFL-caliber players in waves and Harris is a part of the next batch.
- DraftSite.com has a multi-round mock that lands a pair of interesting prospects in Chicago. The site has Purdue defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal going to the Bears with pick No. 87 and UMass receiver Andy Isabella being the team’s fourth-round pick with selection No. 126. Neal, whose father had a productive 16-year NFL career, tore his ACL in Purdue’s rivalry game against Indiana, but it didn’t stop him from earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
- As for Isabella, he’s probably climbing up draft boards after his showing at the combine:
- A 40-yard-dash time in the 4.27-4.29 range is eye-opening stuff.
- Isabella doesn’t crack Bucky Brooks’ top-5 receivers, but it doesn’t mean Brooks’ position-by-position player rankings aren’t worth your time. In fact, there are a handful of players who have been connected to the Bears in the pre-draft/mock draft process who land on Brooks’ list.
- It’s Big Board season! This is where draft gurus such as Jon Ledyard, Matt Miller, and the team over at Pro Football Focus get their shine on. These lists will evolve as Pro Days come and go, so expect us to take deeper dives as more information regarding prospects the Bears could be targeting comes our way.