There’s an overriding feeling that the Chicago Bears are going to draft the best running back available when they go on the clock with the 87th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. But here’s the thing, they don’t have to do that if a running back isn’t the best player on their board.
Instead, the best thing the Bears can do – in my opinion – is draft the best player available on their board whenever it’s their time to make a selection. We could probably rule out quarterbacks, place-kickers, and punters being selected by Chicago with its first pick, but everything else should be an option. And that includes a position group that is already loaded with starting talent.
Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner sees the Bears’ dream scenario being a top-5 cornerback landing in Chicago with the No. 87 pick. Specifically, Renner views Michigan’s David Long as the right pick for the Bears in that spot. Long is Pro Football Focus’ fourth highest-graded cornerback prospect in this draft class. His press skills in man coverage draw rave reviews and he allowed a 29 percent reception rate last season, which was the best among draft-eligible cornerbacks who played at least 250 coverage snaps. These are the types of things that could come in handy as Long grows into a long-term starting option.
Renner isn’t alone in visualizing the Bears taking a cornerback in the third round. Kevin Fishbain’s seven-round mock draft at The Athletic has the Bears bucking the running back trend and selecting a cornerback. But instead of plucking the Michigan product, Fishbain has the Bears taking Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projects Mullen to be a second-round selection, so he could be viewed as a late-round steal if he is available in the late stages of Round 3. Mullen was a top-100 national prospect and second-team All-American out of high school who had a nice college career with a dynamic Clemson defense. In addition to having size (6-1, 199 pounds) and speed (4.46 40-yard dash), Mullen also showed a physical aspect to his game with 4 tackles-for-loss and 2 sacks on top of his renowned press coverage.
Now before you jump in and remind me the Bears have Prince Amukamara and Buster Skrine in starting roles right now, allow me to point out that neither is on a long-term deal and both will be playing the 2019 season in their age 30 season or older. With that in mind, it’s never too early to think about long-term fits – especially in the secondary. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to have a young starter with upside to pair with All-Pro Kyle Fuller?
At minimum, it’s not a bad idea to upgrade the secondary when given a chance. And since this draft appears to be loaded with middle-round running back options, the Bears could be wise to wait it out if there is a better player at a different position available to be selected.