It’s that time of the year when information and disinformation will be shared throughout the league at a dizzying rate as we approach the NFL Draft. And yet, there appears to be a growing certainty that the Chicago Bears are going to draft a running back at some point during their time in Nashville.
Deeper mock drafts are starting to pop up, which should continue to provide possibilities for potential Bears fits since they don’t have a pick in either of the first two rounds. We’ll start with mock drafts from ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr., which both have the Bears selecting running backs with their third-round selection (No. 87 overall).
McShay’s three-round mock sends Alabama’s Damien Harris to Chicago, filling the role of a back with power, speed, and playmaking ability. Harris comes with considerable prospect pedigree. Beyond starring in the Crimson Tide backfield, Harris was Kentucky’s High School Player of the Year in 2014, a high school All-American, and the No. 1 running back recruit in the country. While at Alabama, Harris picked up back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a sophomore and junior. And even though he fell short of a third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, Harris still scored nine touchdowns, gained 876 yards, and racked up 5.8 yards per carry. Not bad for a guy in a time-share with projected first-round pick Josh Jacobs.
Kiper also churns out a three-round mock draft, but has the Bears having eyes on a different running back prospect. Devin Singletary is mocked to the Bears in the third round of Kiper’s draft, which makes a ton of sense. The Florida Atlantic product has met with the Bears three times, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if his name is one that’s called when they go on the clock. Singletary racked up huge numbers at FAU, collecting 4,287 yards and a whopping 66 touchdowns. Big-time production and dominance while at a non-power conference are encouraging signs from a potential middle-round pick.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s fifth mock draft is a seven-round behemoth that runs through each of the 254 picks that will be made in Nashville in a few weeks. But unlike his draft guru counterparts at ESPN, Brugler goes down a different path than we’re used to with the Bears’ third-round pick. Instead of a running back, Brugler sends Michigan cornerback David Long with pick No. 87. Long hasn’t really been on our radar, but he had an impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:
Top official short shuttles for cornerbacks at #NFLCombine:
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) March 4, 2019
Top official 3-cone drills for cornerbacks at #NFLCombine:
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) March 4, 2019
Standing out in speed-agility drills is one way to raise your draft stock and jump on our radar. Cornerback might not be a big need right now, but it’s possible Long is the best player on the board. And since Prince Amukamara will be a free agent after next season and Buster Skrine is one of the older players on the defensive side of the ball, it would be prudent for the Bears to continue adding possible playmakers in the secondary.
Before you start worrying about Chicago’s running back needs, know that Brugler gets to that in the next round. Temple’s Ryquell Armstead is Brugler’s pick to be the running back drafted by the Bears. Injuries limited Armstead during his college career at Temple, but he still delivered a 1,098-yard rushing season and 13 rushing touchdowns as a senior. A nagging history of injuries can knock a player’s draft stock down a peg or two. But as we learned with Eddie Jackson, those can quickly become a distant memory when a player reaches the NFL and receives professional medical attention and treatment.
Even when Jordan Howard was in the Bears’ stable of backs, we figured there was nothing wrong with adding another dynamic playmaker to the group. Now that Howard is off to Philadelphia, a luxury item becomes more of a need to fill than it was before. At least there are plenty of options for GM Ryan Pace to choose from when he goes about rounding out the room.