With four weeks to go before the April 28-30 NFL draft, mock drafts are all over the board, virtually from the top of the first round to the bottom.
Not surprisingly, there is not even close a consensus pick for the Bears at No. 11 overall. Reputable mock drafts have the Bears taking Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd, Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin, Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and several other players.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout for the Eagles, Ravens and Browns, has the Bears taking Floyd in his latest mock draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper had the Bears taking Floyd in his most recent mock draft on March 8, prior to the start of free agency.
“The tricky thing for me in this draft is I think there’s those eight-to-10 guys that you feel great about and [the Bears] are kind of just outside that range,” Jeremiah said, “where you’re going to have to probably rely on a little bit of faith in your coaching staff in developing some of these players, because a lot of them have some holes when you get outside that first group.”
The 6-6, 248-pound Floyd is at the high end of that group. He’s a fabulous athlete with some impressive combine numbers that indicate tremendous potential as a pass rushing outside linebacker. But his on-the-field performance at Georgia didn’t quite match the athleticism.
And even his workouts come with red flags. He ran the 40-yard dash only one time at the combine and did not do the on-field position drills — presumably because of a leg injury. At his pro day on March 16, he did just one measurable — a vertical leap of 35 inches that was more than four inches below his combine performance. He cut short the workout during his agility drills because of an upset stomach.
“He’s got some elite traits to work with in terms of his speed and athleticism and he’s got the potential to be a big-time pass rusher,” Jeremiah said. “I thought he was out of position [at Georgia], they played him at inside linebacker last year. I don’t think that’s what he is. But he’s somebody if they could work with him there, they could have a nice payoff.”
Jeremiah, a former college quarterback at Northeastern Louisiana and Appalachian State, had the Bears taking North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz at No. 11 in his previous mock draft. In his latest one, which was published Tuesday, he has Wentz going to the Browns at No. 2 overall. He also has California quarterback Jared Goff dropping to No. 15, with the Bears passing at No. 11 in favor of Floyd.
“In the most recent [mock], Goff was kind of sliding. And I just thought with his kind of slighter frame and in the weather you’re going to play there in Chicago, I didn’t know if that would be a great fit for him there,” Jeremiah said. “And when you look at [if] Wentz would somehow be the one that would fall — I think he’s the guy that kind of fits, in that division; in that weather. I think they’d be more likely to pull the trigger on him if he somehow fell to 11.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s probably highly doubtful that either one of them would be there [for the Bears] to make that decision.”