Because the Chicago Bears don’t have picks in the first two rounds of the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, they’ll need a little of luck to land a premier prospect. And while history suggests the best players tend to go early on (because duh), the past is littered with middle-round picks who exceed expectations and play themselves into stardom.
So with that said … could Oshane Ximines be that guy?
Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling views Oshane Ximines as the perfect prospect for the Bears to target. And if you don’t know him, the short version goes something like this: he’s a high-end prospect with untapped potential, who could go overlooked because he played his college ball at Old Dominion.
Check it out:
Oshane Ximines is a pass-rusher to be feared and was the only player this season to produce a 99.9 overall game grade. pic.twitter.com/XUsMea8vS6
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 5, 2019
And now for the longer version: Ximines collected 12 sacks and 18.5 tackles-for-loss during his senior season at Old Dominion, earned first-team All-Conference USA honors, and even received an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound edge rusher has been all over draft boards and could slip to the Bears in the third-round. In fact, WalterFootball.com’s latest mock draft has Ximines going to the Bears with the 87th overall pick. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein sees Ximines as an eventual starter in a 3-4 or 4-3 edge defender role. But before he crosses that bridge, Ximines could get on the field earlier if he is properly deployed as a nickel pass-rusher during his developmental stages. A pass-rushing prospect with some upside who could slide into the third round? Wow! He really is perfect.
Additional pass-rush help is both short-term need and something the Bears should be aiming to add in the form of a long-term solution. The team released outside linebacker Sam Acho earlier, which leaves Isaiah Iriving and Kylie Fitts as the first two edge rushers off the bench in a pinch. Relying on a third-year player who was an undrafted free agent not that long ago and a second-year sixth-round pick who has durability concerns is reason enough for concern to set in. And from a big picture standpoint, Leonard Floyd has just two seasons (assuming the Bears still plan on picking up his fifth-year option) left under team control.
Sooner or later, Chicago will need to add worthwhile pass-rushing prospects who can start across from Khalil Mack.