The Bears can go in any number of different directions on draft weekend. Let’s explore some of those possibilities.
• Todd McShay’s latest ESPN mock draft is a two-round affair in which the Bears address needs at quarterback and wide receiver. But not in that order. McShay’s first pick is someone with which we’re familiar: Florida receiver Kadarius Toney. There isn’t much consolation in not snagging a top-5 quarterback, but adding a dynamic playmaker would help soften the blow. Teaming Toney with Darnell Mooney, Allen Robinson II, and Tarik Cohen in the same formation could give defensive coaches fits. The Bears need speed and explosive play-making ability, both of which are things Toney possesses. It isn’t the first time we’ve seen Toney connected to Chicago on the mock draft circuit. And honestly, I hope it’s not the last.
• It’s McShay’s other Bears selection that’s an eyebrow raiser. McShay sends Toney’s Florida teammate Kyle Trask to Chicago with the 52nd pick. Trask goes one pick after Kellen Mond, who the Bears seem smitten with after this week’s meetings. But with Mond off the board, McShay has Trask as the pick. Trask is described as having “great touch and anticipation on his passes despite some shortcomings with arm strength.” In Trask, McShay sees someone who could learn behind Andy Dalton and Nick Foles, possibly even developing as a “potential down-the-road starter.” Trask has some tools, but there isn’t much visible upside in his game.
• Don’t get me wrong, I want the Bears to draft a quarterback at some point in this Draft. But taking Trask feels like taking one for the sake of it. And doing that doesn’t make sense. For the love of Halas, don’t try to make Fetch happen just because you need a QB. That’s an easy way to compound mistakes and make them worse.
• Here are some Trask vids to hold you over:
THIS GUY helped himself considerably Wednesday at #Florida #proday! Lean, extremely accurate & displayed what #nfl talent evaluators wanted to see: great movement. Thank u, QB Kyle Trask for stopping for @nflnetwork interview! @ktrask9 @FloridaGators pic.twitter.com/wFXtvExIxF
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) April 1, 2021
• A collection of players McShay passes on so the Bears can take Kyle Trask: Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama), Quinn Meinerz (OL, Wisconsin-Whitewater), Alex Leatherwood (OT/G, Alabama), Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State), Walker Little (OT, Stanford), James Hudson (OT, Cincinnati). Considering the Bears’ needs along the offensive line, I think drafting Trask when there are similar QBs available later might be a misstep.
• I’m digging the analytical angle on Cynthia Frelund’s latest mock at NFL.com. Frelund attacks the draft through the lens of maximizing wins in 2021. If you think of this as a must-win year for the GM and coach, this is a sensible approach. So with the 20th pick, Frelund sends Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II to Chicago. “With Kyle Fuller’s departure in free agency, the Bears need to reinforce the back end of the defense,” Frelund writes. “Newsome’s floor is very high — and on this team, with this front, he’ll be impactful in 2021, with his quick learning curve.”
• Freulund passes on addressing other needs such as WR (Rashod Bateman, Terrace Marshall, Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore) and OL (Jalen Mayfield, Samuel Cosmi). She even takes Newsome over Caleb Farley, the Virginia Tech product some have as CB1 on their boards. I suppose this speaks to the high-end depth at those positions.
• Some more on Newsome, in case Northwestern football isn’t your thing:
• PFF’s Austin Gayle goes completely off the board with his mock, going with not one, but *TWO* defensive picks. Gayle’s two-round mock has the Bears taking George edge rusher Azeez Ojulari and UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson. And while both are intriguing prospects, these selections might start a small insurrection at Halas Hall. Gayle believes Ojulari is the best pure speed rusher in this class and thinks he has instant impact written all over him. If the Bears were setting course on a rebuild, I wouldn’t feel so strongly against this pick.
• Khalil Mack won’t play forever and escaping Robert Quinn’s contract should be a high priority next offseason if last year was any indication of things to come. But with players who could be impact performers at positions of need now (and in the future) still on the board, I don’t love drafting an edge rusher at 20.
• Gayle passes on these fellow first-round players to draft Ojulari: Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota), Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss), Greg Newsome II (CB, Northwestern), Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR, LSU), Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech), Dillon Radunz (OL, North Dakota State), Sam Cosmi (OT, Texas), Walker Little (OL, Stanford).
• I don’t have much beef with he Robinson pick at No. 52. The Bears do need cornerback help. But Jalen Mayfield (OL, Michgigan) is a name that stands out as someone the Bears might regret passing on in Gayle’s draft
• Chad Reuter’s four-round mock is a doozy. And the Bears picks are a treat, especially at the top. Reuter has the Bears trading UP with the Giants to take Alabama QB Mac Jones with the 11th overall pick. Reuter cites Jones’ pocket feel and accuracy as strengths, and things Chicago missed with the quarterbacks it employed last year. No arguments here. Ryan Pace gives up a third-round pick in 2021 and a first-rounder in 2022 to make it happen, but giving Jones a year to learn behind Andy Dalton makes sense.
• Check out this breakdown of Jones’ Pro Day:
• Trading up to land a QB without trading their second-round pick in this year’s draft would be a big win for these Bears. Although, I’m unsure of going with a defensive tackle at 52 is the best use of that good fortune. Daviyon Nixon is one of the top defensive linemen in this class. Considering long-term needs on offense, I wonder if receivers such as LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr. (58th, Ravens) or USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown (60th, Saints), as well as Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg (62nd, Packers) or Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz (63rd, Chiefs) would’ve made better options.