If the Chicago Bears make a splash trade for a quarterback, then I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be sending significant draft-pick capital out the door. But until that happens, the Bears have a first-round pick for the first time since 2018. And even though the 2021 NFL Draft is still 55 days away, there’s a growing consensus on what side of the ball the Bears will address.
• ESPN’s Todd McShay drops his pre-free agency mock draft 12 days before the start of the league year. And while what happens when business opens up on March 17 will shake things up with regards to team needs, it’s good to take one last look before the storm comes through and throws things out of whack. McShay has two first-round trades. Both of which involve teams trading up for a quarterback, but neither involves the Bears. So, I’m sorry if you were hoping to explore that avenue to fix the QB spot.
• When it comes to the Bears, McShay has the team taking Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. McShay describes Darrisaw as “a powerful left tackle who doesn’t give up many sacks and can get to the second level as a run-blocker.” Gosh, I’m enamored with that description from McShay. A two-way tackle impacting the running game and pass protection is dreamy. So getting one with the 20th pick would be a steal.
• This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a mock draft sending a high-profile offensive lineman to Chicago. Remember, Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock had Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins going to Chicago with pick No. 20. But whether it’s Darrisaw, Jenkins, or one of the other talented draft-eligible linemen, there is a strong argument for the Bears to use a first-round pick on an offensive lineman. That is, assuming they’re keeping said pick.
• Count Josh Edwards (CBS Sports) in on the Bears drafting Jenkins with the 20th pick. However, the blurb write-up is suspect: “If the Bears are going to get stuck with Mitchell Trubisky for another season, then it would benefit them to patch the offensive line.” It’s been a while since anyone has made it sound like a foregone conclusion that Trubisky would be back. Beyond that, the Bears could use a physical tackle like Jenkins.
• Edwards doubles up on the offensive line, which works for me. He has the Bears selecting Tennessee guard Trey Smith 52nd overall. And with pick No. 83, Edwards mocks Texas safety Caden Sterns to Chicago. If the Bears went defense here, I’d be more interested by Duke pass-rusher Chris Rumph II. Remember, his father joined Chicago as its defensive line coach. Otherwise, USC receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown would be a more sensible choice as a draft target when considering the team’s overall needs.
• Dane Brugler (The Athletic) has the Bears passing on Darrisaw and Jenkins. He also has the team skipping out on the opportunity to select an impact pass-catcher such as Kadarius Toney, who I’m absolutely smitten with after watching his tape. Instead, Brugler has the Bears taking Alabama QB Mac Jones. And based on this brief snippet, I’m not sure I’d mind it one bit (emphasis mine):
Jones comes with a mixed bag of opinions about his upside. So, here’s what we know: He played and won on a huge stage (albeit with elite talent around him), he’s a pinpoint passer in short to intermediate windows, and he was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl. This wouldn’t be a sit-and-wait pick. Jones still can step in and compete for the starting gig on Day 1.
• If the Bears are to draft a quarterback, GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy can’t afford to pick a project. Not when the GM is in a lame-duck year. And certainly not when the head coach has so much to prove after three years of a less-than-middling offense. But if they’re rolling the dice on a draft pick – and doing so without moving up – they could do worse than commit to a QB whose accuracy is at the top of his list of strengths.
• In addition to this draft class being loaded with offensive linemen, there are plenty of receivers who should be players of interest if they fall to pick 20. Over at NFL.com, analyst Cynthia Frelund sends Purdue receiver Rondale Moore to Chicago. Because even if the Bears bring back Allen Robinson, the offense should still look to build a corps of receivers who can threaten defenses in a number of ways. Frelund sees Moore as a slot threat to team with Robinson and Darnell Mooney on the outside. “Over the past three seasons, Moore maintained his speed after contact on inside routes at the highest rate of any receiver in the FBS.” I like the sound of that!
• There’s a lot to like here:
• Chad Reuter (NFL.com) has a four-round behemoth of a mock draft. Like McShay before him, Reuter has the Bears landing Darrisaw with their first-rounder, envisioning an immediate starting opportunity if one (or both) of Chicago’s tackles turn out to be cap casualties. Want more offense? Then this is the mock draft for you! Terrace Marshall Jr. is the Bears’ second-round pick. The LSU product has size (6-4, 200 pounds), prospect pedigree (a top receiver coming out of high school), and strong bloodlines (great-nephew of the late Joe Delaney). And I’m still not over how he scored 23 touchdowns in 19 games over the last two years. Impressive stuff all around.
• The Bears pass on rattling off three consecutive picks to upgrade the offensive firepower. Instead, the team selects LSU safety JaCoby Stevens with the 83rd pick. Chicago could use a long-term tag-team partner for Eddie Jackson. Closing the revolving door that has been spinning since Adrian Amos’ departure would be nice. Then again, I’d have been interested had the team continued addressing offense with that pick. Offensive linemen such as Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks and Wisconsin-Whitewater guard Quinn Meinerz are on the board. As is Purdue receiver Rondale Moore, who we noted above could be taken in Round 1. Well, that tells you everything you need to know about how volatile this process is at this stage, doesn’t it?