While the Chiefs and Buccaneers prepare for Super Bowl LV, 30 other NFL teams will be taking aim at next year’s title game.
And the first step toward championship glory is by nailing the 2021 NFL Draft. Which means it’s that time of year to obsess over mock drafts galore. Few do mock draft season like Mel Kiper Jr., and none have done it for longer. So when the dean of the mock draft emerges from his burrow, all eyes go on him. And if you’re a Bears fan, you’re paying more attention this year than previous drafts, because your favorite team has a first-round pick.
And with that pick, Kiper haas the Bears selecting Teven Jenkins, an offensive tackle from Oklahoma State. Here’s what Kiper has to say about the pick:
This is a really strong offensive tackle class, and we could see a run on them in the 20s. Jenkins started at both right tackle and left tackle for the Cowboys, and he was having a stellar season before he opted out in late November. At 6-6, 310 pounds, he has long arms and there are no questions about his size to play tackle. In Chicago, he could start immediately on the right side, where Germain Ifedi is a free agent, and be the long-term replacement to Charles Leno at left tackle. The Bears could also be in the market for a top receiver with Allen Robinson headed to free agency.
Firstly, I want to say I’m giddy to be looking at mocks and caring about first-round prospects again. Secondly, I’m digging the pick and the reasoning. The Bears need help along the offensive line, primarily at offensive tackle. They need to get younger and better at both spots. And because Bobby Massie finished each of the last two seasons injured, it feels like a good time to get a fresh body at that spot.
Jenkins is one of the draft’s most intriguing tackle prospects. He has experience on both sides of the line and has a solid frame. Mock drafts elsewhere peg Jenkins as a second-rounder. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he jumped into the back end of Round 1. And to that end, I don’t think I’d be too upset if the Bears were the team to snag him.
At this point, though, you’re probably screaming “WHERE IS THE QUARTERBACK!?” at your computer. R-e-l-a-x. I’ve got you covered. However, brace yourself for news you might not be ready to hear.
Kiper has five quarterbacks going within the first 15 picks. Trevor Lawrence goes first overall, as expected. Lawrence is followed by Zach Wilson (4th, Falcons), Justin Fields (7th, Lions), Trey Lance (8th, Panthers), and Mac Jones (15th, Patriots). To which I say: If the Bears haven’t solved their quarterback issues leading into the draft and don’t trade up to select Fields or Wilson before a team like the Falcons or Lions can, then I have serious questions and concerns about the organization’s process and commitment to get the type of quarterback they themselves have said they need. If any of the non-Lawrence top tier prospects make it out of the top-3, the Bears need to make Godfather offers to whichever team is willing to accept. Full stop.
This is the first of many mock drafts we’ll dive into this offseason. So I don’t want to get too deep at this point. We need to pace ourselves. But in the meantime, it’s good to (1) identify the Bears’ biggest needs, (2) highlight prospects who could be available, and (3) track what’s happening at the top of the draft with the quarterbacks. Brace yourselves, as that will be a theme from now until draft weekend.