The first wave of post-Super Bowl mock drafts usually do a good job of putting intriguing prospects and possible fits on our radar. At a minimum, those early mocks give us an idea of (1) the position groups teams have targeted, (2) the players rising or falling on boards, and (3) where runs on position groups could seemingly begin or end. To be more clear: Mock drafts — at this stage in the game — aren’t necessarily predictive when it comes to specific players, but they do give us an idea of what to look for down the line.
With that in mind, I found it interesting to see two recent mock drafts with the Bears using their second round picks on players in the same position group (albeit on very different guys).
Adam Hoge (WGN Radio) pieces together his first mock draft of the offseason, a seven-round monster in which Chicago uses its second round picks to fill holes at tight end and edge defender.
Harrison Bryant is mocked to the Bears with the 43rd overall pick (which comes via the Las Vegas Raiders as part of the Khalil Mack trade). Bryant was the 2019 John Mackey Award winner, which goes to college football’s best tight end, and projects to be the type of pass-catcher this offense needs in order to get moving in the right direction. And in his write-up, Hoge notes Bryant’s blocking skills stood out during Senior Bowl week. That represents one of the many glowing reports on Bryant from the annual college football all-star showcase game, which could quite some concerns that would pop up should the Bears draft a player from Conference USA’s Florida Atlantic University.
Bradlee Anae, another Senior Bowl standout, is mocked to go to Chicago seven picks later in Howe’s mock draft. Anae is an edge rusher who was a key cog for the highly touted Utah Utes defense last year who projects to fit well in the Bears’ 3-4 defensive scheme. If you watched the Senior Bowl, then you are probably familiar with Anae wrecking offensive linemen and getting through to the quarterback.
And if you didn’t, here you go:
treydaubert: Bradley Anae beats Calvin Throckmorton for the pressure. Jalen Hurts throws a duck to Malik Harrison. NFL Network College Football: Teams TBA https://t.co/4TmJuu4JRz pic.twitter.com/6BCYaFZrxq
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) January 25, 2020
— Black and Gold Nation (@B_GNation1) January 25, 2020
Anae led Utah in quarterback sacks the last three seasons, racking up 27.5 in 36 games.
The Bears could use some pass-rushing help across from Khalil Mack. Perhaps they could get it by drafting a 2019 consensus All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac 12 pass-rusher.
Over at The Draft Network, Jonah Tuls shared his latest mock draft. It’s a two-round mock, but just as Hoge did with his draft, Tuls projects the Bears to take a tight end and pass-rusher. But he has the bears going with different players in different spots.
Wisconsin edge rusher Zack Baun is mocked to go to the Bears with the 43rd overall selection. Baun, a first-team All-Big Ten performer in 2019, picked up a team-leading 12.5 sacks, collected 19.5 tackles-for-loss, and two forced fumbles en route to leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. Notable accomplishments, to be sure. Baun entered the year on the Butkus Award watch list, and ended it ranking highly on PFF’s grading scale:
With the Bears’ other second-round pick, Tuls sends Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet to Chicago. Kmet is a highly regarded athlete who has been on our radar as a possibility since he declared for the NFL Draft in January. Last season, Kmet grabbed 43 receptions, gained 515 receiving yards, and scored six touchdowns. And so long as the Bears are in a position to draft a tight end with one of their second round picks, I imagine this won’t be the last mock that has Kmet connected to Chicago.
Ultimately, it is probably far too early to predict exactly who the Bears will pick in the upcoming draft. But having an idea of what positions they could be looking to fill in the draft should be helpful for us as we start to sort through prospects who have the potential to fill in as soon as possible.