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.
Currently on the Roster (2018 Pro Football Focus Grade):
- Eddie Jackson (93.2)
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (79.3)
- Deon Bush (75.8)
- DeAndre Houston-Carson (59.8)
Pro Football Focus’ Top-5 Prospects:
- Nasir Adderley, Delaware
- Darnell Savage, Maryland
- Taylor Rapp, Washington
- Amani Hooker, Iowa
- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
Best of the Rest: Juan Thornhill, Virginia; Deionte Thompson, Alabama; Marquise Blair, Utah; Marvin Tell, USC; Will Harris, Boston College
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Deon Bush are free agents when the 2019 season ends. Eddie Jackson is set to get paid. The Bears can’t realistically pay everyone they want, so they would be wise to draft a safety who could play in a reserve role immediately as a rookie, while preparing said player for a starting role in 2020. Balance out Jackson’s projected major contract with a player on a rookie-scale contract.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
Multiple mocks have shown Iowa’s Amani Hooker being on the board when the Bears go on the clock with the 87th pick, but it’s possible his upside could be too much for a team to pass up in the second round (or even in the early third). Otherwise,
The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…
Amani Hooker, Iowa; Sheldrick Redwine, Miami
If I Had to Pick One:
Iowa’s Amani Hooker is my favorite safety prospect in this class. He ranks 44th overall on Pro Football Focus’ big board and earned a 91.1 coverage grade from the site last season, which was the second best among all defensive backs. Hooker is a do-it-all defensive back who would be a dream candidate to team with Eddie Jackson for many years to come. Unfortunately for Bears fans dreaming of a dream safety pairing of Jackson and Hooker, there is a growing belief Hooker will be off the board when the Bears are on the clock.
Elsewhere among college football’s safety prospects, WalterFootball.com’s profile of Alabama’s Deionte Thompson piques my interest. Here is a snippet:
“In the early going of the 2018 season, Thompson was one of college football’s breakout players, and multiple pro team sources were raving about him in September. They felt that a first-round buzz was building around Thompson, but the play turned out to be a flash in the pan.”
That feels oddly familiar to an Alabama defensive back who the Bears currently have. If there is first-round potential trapped in Thompson, then perhaps new DC Chuck Pagano could be the one who pulls it out of him. And if there is late-round value to be had in this draft, Bears scouts can find it!