The Stock is Dropping on Two Potential First-Round Picks (OL, WR) … Perhaps Right into the Bears Lap

Troy Pauline, a lead NFL Draft analyst at Pro Football Network, and one of the most in-touch draftniks you’ll come across, shares a nugget about some stock drops ahead of the upcoming draft. And they could shake up plans the Chicago Bears have on draft weekend.

“Tyler Linderbaum is a guy who a lot of people thought could go in the top 10,” Pauline said while chatting it up with fellow PFN Analyst Trey Wingo. “There’s a real possibility that Linderbaum falls out of the first round. (Arkansas receiver Treylon) Burks, who people were talking about as a top-15 pick, might eventually fall out of the first round.”

Two potential first-round picks at spots the Bears desperately need to fill falling out of the first round and into the second would be a gift from Sweetness above! A mauling center who could be a tone-setter in the trenches would be nice. Same for a superb play-making receiver. Where do we sign the Bears up for this suddenly growing possible reality?

Tyler Linderbaum Has Been On Our Radar For a Hot Minute

One of college football’s best interior offensive linemen, the Iowa center could’ve left school early to gain eligibility for the 2021 NFL Draft. And had he done so, he would’ve been a highly sought after center prospect. That put him on our radars at the time, but his return to school made us turn our interest elsewhere.

Linderbaum’s subsequent stellar season with the Hawkeyes in 2021 — highlighted by a Rimington Trophy, Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award, and unanimous All-American Status — and the Bears’ lack of a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft pushed him further off our radars. No disrespect intended to a two-time first-team All-Big Ten lineman, but it has long felt like he was too good of a prospect to land in Chicago’s lap this offseason.

Maybe that won’t be the case. Perhaps Linderbaum being a center only pushes him down draft boards because teams don’t value the position. Considering the Bears’ needs and history at the position, addressing this area by adding Linderbaum and moving free agent addition Lucas Patrick to right guard would make for a successful double-dip.

Treylon Burks Has Been Besting SEC Defenses Since He Was a Freshman

Burks, widely seen throughout the draft process as a potential first-rounder, who might join Linderbaum as falling out of the first round and into Day 2.

The Arkansas product checks in at 6-3 and 225 pounds, which gives him the ideal build of a boundary receiver a team like the Bears would dram about lining up on the other side of the field from Darnell Mooney. Burks is one of college football’s most accomplished pass-catchers. He earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors in 2019, second-team all-conference nods in 2019 and 2020, and first-team All-SEC distinction in 2021. His most productive season came in his final year with the Razorbacks, catching 66 passes for 1,1014 yards and 11 touchdowns. He even added 14 carries, 112 rushing yards, and a ground score for good measure. There are a bunch of high-upside receivers in this draft. But Burks’ résumé is a doozy.

What Does It All Mean?

Without getting too over the moon about this, I’ve gotta say that this could be a potential boon for the Bears. Because if these two types of players are making it out of the first round, it could mean a few things. And all of which could be good news for Chicago’s football team.

Firstly, players worthy of first-round grades falling into the second round likely means we’ll see some teams reach on quarterbacks. And as we’ve been discussing for quite some time, the more QBs who go in Round 1, the higher the likelihood of the Bears scoring a first-round caliber prospect with their first second-round pick (which is 39th overall). Secondly, it could mean front offices are falling into the old hype trap. Every year at this time, it seems as if players with a steady amount of good tape and college accolades see their draft stock unexpectedly drop. Oftentimes, it’s due to another prospect’s spectacular Pro Day or Combine showing. Other times, it has to do with teams filling needs in free agency, which allows them to move on and use the draft to target other prospects.

Whatever the case is, the Bears could be positioning themselves nicely due to these newfound circumstances.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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