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):
- Trey Burton (69.4)
- Ben Braunecker (61.5)
- Adam Shaheen (54.4)
Pro Football Focus’ Top-5 Prospects:
- T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
- Noah Fant, Iowa
- Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
- Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
- Josh Oliver, San Jose State
Best of the Rest: Dawson Knox, Ole Miss; Caleb Wilson, UCLA; Kaden Smith, Stanford; Dax Raymond, Utah State; Drew Sample, Washington
The Bears have invested significant free agent cash (Trey Burton) and draft capital (Adam Shaheen) at the top of the depth chart, but consistent production has eluded the position as a whole. That’s the primary reason the Bears should find a way to draft a tight end at some point this weekend. Maybe Burton will have fewer lulls during his second year catching passes from Mitch Trubisky. Perhaps Shaheen will turn the corner if given a full season of health. But the Bears can’t bank on either of those things, so they should look to improve the position by drafting a player with some upside. And since Burton, Shaheen, and Ben Braunecker are the only tight ends on the roster, this group could use some much-needed depth and competition for the spring and summer ahead.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
It’s not likely that a tight end will be the best player available when the 87th pick rolls around, so the Bears could conceivably wait until the fourth or fifth round to address that particular need. One of the more highly-touted tight ends of this class should still be hanging around for the Bears to scoop up.
The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…
Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M; Josh Oliver, San Jose State; Nic Weishar, Notre Dame
If I Had to Pick One:
Josh Oliver (San Jose State) is a physical specimen who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds and had a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Oliver ran the third fastest 40-time (4.63 seconds), put up 22 bench-press reps (tied for second most), collected the seventh highest vertical jump (34 inches), and had the third best time (4.47) in the 20-yard shuttle among players at his position. The Bears could use a physically imposing tight end who made the most of his senior year with 56 catches, 709 receiving yards, and four touchdowns.