These Are the Best Available Prospects and Bears Fits for Day 2 of the NFL Draft

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books, but we’ve still got two more days and five more rounds to plow through in these parts.

Our Chicago Bears are scheduled to have three picks today:

  • Round 2: Picks 53 and 61
  • Round 3: Pick 64
  • They would’ve also had Pick No. 32, but they sent that to Pittsburgh in the trade that brought receiver Chase Claypool to Chicago. I’m not going to bemoan that pick right now because this isn’t the time or place. Plus, Claypool could have a bounce-back year that proves that the juice was worth the squeeze all along. Positive vibes around here until the cause for concern presents itself. But I digress.

    Here’s a sampling of the best available players across some popular draft boards as we approach Day 2 of the NFL Draft…

    ESPN

    Overall ranking from before the Draft in parenthesis

    1. Will Levis, Kentucky QB (11)
    2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE (19)
    3. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State CB (23)
    4. Brian Branch, Alabama S (30)
    5. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State TE (31)
    6. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee QB (33)
    7. Steve Avila, TCU OG (34)
    8. Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin DT (35)
    9. Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss WR (37)
    10. Darnell Washington, Georgia TE (39)

    That is a nifty collection of talent still on the board. And if you took out the quarterbacks (for the sake of the Bears who aren’t going to draft one on Day 2), we could add Wisconsin C Joe Tippmann and Miami (Fla.) CB Tyrique Stevenson to that list.

    All in all, ESPN’s best available list has 21 prospects available as Day 2 begins who were top-50 prospects before the NFL Draft got underway. Holy cow. This is wonderful news for the Bears.

    SB Nation

    Overall ranking from before the Draft in parenthesis

    1. Brian Branch, Alabama S (14)
    2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE (16)
    3. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State CB (17)
    4. Darnell Washington, Georgia TE (18)
    5. O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida G (20)
    6. Will Levis, Kentucky QB (21)
    7. Cam Smith, South Carolina CB (26)
    8. BJ Ojulari, LSU EDGE (28)
    9. Josh Downs, North Carolina WR (31)
    10. Steve Avila, TCU OC (34)

    In addition to those 10, the SB Nation board has 10 other players who it had as top-50 prospects going into the draft. Or to put it a different way, there are 20 top-50 prospects still available going into today’s action. My read here is that the Bears are still well-positioned to do awesome things in the draft today despite not having a pick until No. 53. I suppose the team could move up to snag someone who falls, but trading back seems to be more likely based on Poles’ recent history as GM.

    USA Today

    Overall ranking from before the Draft in parenthesis

    1. Brian Branch, Alabama S (7)
    2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE (14)
    3. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State CB (16)
    4. Josh Downs, North Carolina WR (27)
    5. Darnell Washington, Georgia TE (28)
    6. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State TE (33)
    7. O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida G (34)
    8. Steve Avila, TCU G (35)
    9. BJ Ojulari, LSU DE/OLB (36)
    10. Clark Phillips III, Utah CB (37)

    I’m sensing a trend! Because USA Today’s best available prospects list has 19 players who were top 50 prospects before the first-round began. A bunch of teams are going to get tremendous value throughout Day 2 of the draft. And I can’t wait to see who the Bears snag here.

    Here’s the thing about the top-10 available prospects that we get caught up on: They might not be available when the Bears go on the clock with the 53rd pick. Thinking about it makes me wish the Bears would’ve had that No. 32 pick. Not just because it would give the Bears first crack at top talent. But also because it would’ve put the Bears in a grand position to move around in the second round. After the dust settles from the first round, the general tendency is that teams are willing to move up to get “their guy” before someone else does. That is where good GMs leverage desperation from their counterparts elsewhere and stockpile Day 2 and Day 3 picks. And when you have as many roster spots to fill as the Bears do, the volume approach isn’t a bad one to take.

    We’ll see what path Bears GM Ryan Poles takes soon enough.

    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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