Finding Potential Bears Targets and Fits Among the NFL Draft's Best Edge Rushers

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Finding Potential Bears Targets and Fits Among the NFL Draft’s Best Edge Rushers

Analysis and Commentary, NFL Draft

It’s time for the next step of the Chicago Bears’ offseason of talent acquisition: The 2019 NFL Draft. We’re going to look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest leading up to the draft.

Previous: Quarterback, Running back, Wide receiver, Kicker

Need: Medium-high

Currently on the Roster (2018 Pro Football Focus Grade):

  • Khalil Mack (90.7)
  • Leonard Floyd (69.6)
  • Aaron Lynch (73.6)
  • Isaiah Irving (52.7)
  • Kylie Fitts (46.0)

Pro Football Focus’ Top-5 Prospects:

  1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State
  2. Josh Allen, Kentucky
  3. Brian Burns, Florida State
  4. Chase Winovich, Michigan
  5. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Best of the Rest: Zach Allen, Boston College; Montez Sweat, Mississippi State; Rashan Gary, Michigan; Anthony Nelson, Iowa; L.J. Collier, TCU

Team Fit

The Bears aren’t desperate for a pass-rusher, but the team could look to fill a depth void now while also planning for the future. Aaron Lynch returned on a one-year deal, but he hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2014. Leonard Floyd is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is likely to get his fifth-year option picked up, but it’s going to be pricey. Chicago would be wise to add a player to this group who can contribute as a reserve now, and possibly grow into a starting role in a few years.

Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:

Ben Banogu (TCU), Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan), Jalen Jelks (Oregon) and Anthony Nelson (Iowa) are names to watch out for in the middle rounds. We have previously discussed Oshane Ximines (Old Dominion) as a smaller-school sleeper target, and he also figures to be on the Bears’ radar if the team decides to address its pass-rushing needs in the draft. At the deeper end of the draft pool, you’ll find NIU standout Sutton Smith as a possible seventh-round shot-in-the-dark type of prospect.

The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…

L.J. Collier, TCU; Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan; Carl Granderson, Wyoming; Jalen Jelks, Oregon; Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

If I Had to Pick One:

Let’s keep an eye on Montez Sweat, whose draft stock has been up-in-the-air since it was reported he had a heart condition shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller tweets Sweat could drop out of the first round. After that, who knows how far his draft spot could tumble. If given a clean bill of health, Sweat is a top-10 draft prospect.

Should Sweat go off the board before the Bears could get a chance to pick him, at least this draft class appears to be deep at the edge rusher position. Pro Football Focus’ big board has 26 edge defenders in its top-250 big board. The Bears aren’t likely to get the best of the bunch, but projected middle-round picks such as Anthony Nelson, L.J. Collier, and Maxx Crosby each check in among PFF’s top-100 (with Ben Banogu and Oshane Ximines just on the outside-looking-in).

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.

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