A pick-by-pick look at the Bears’ 2017 draft class:
Round 1, No. 2
6-2, 222 pounds
Background: After two seasons as a backup, Trubisky finally earned the starting job as a redshirt junior. By midseason he was considered a top prospect. He finished his 13 starts with 30 touchdowns, six interceptions and 288 passing yards per game, and declared for the draft one year early in January. Trubisky said Wednesday he was surprised the Bears had gone quiet — “I thought they’d be showing more interest,” he said — but the team shocked the league Thursday by trading four picks to move up one spot to draft him.
The skinny: NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was as surprised by the Bears’ trade as everyone else. “I really thought that Chicago was excited about Mike Glennon,” he said of the quarterback the Bears gave $16 million in guaranteed money for next season. Glennon will start next year. The Bears have been criticized for feeling the need to move up one spot, though they recouped one fourth-rounder by moving back in the second round Friday.
He says:“I took advantage of every opportunity I was given in college, and that’s how I got to this point. Any opportunity that’s given me at the next level, I have to take advantage of as well.”
Ryan Pace says: “Watching every single one of his snaps throughout his career – even when he would get in in 2015 – every time he got in the game he made plays. Every time he got in the game something happened in a positive way.”
Round 2, No. 45
6-6, 278 pounds
Background: Played three seasons at Division II Ashland after starting his college career as a 6-5, 215-pound basketball player at Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Dominant player as a sophomore in 2015 (70 receptions, 11.5 avg., 803 yards, 10 touchdowns) and a junior last season (57-867, 15.2, Division II record 16 TDs). Entered the draft with a year of eligibility remaining.
The skinny: Though he played against strictly small-school competition, Shaheen has intriguing athleticism for his size that makes him a potential matchup nightmare and downfield threat like the best tight ends in the game. Bears took him earlier than most, if not all, projections — Shaheen was rated the 72nd best player by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, 124th by Nolan Nawrocki and 51st by CBS Sports. The Bears think Shaheen can make an immediate impact.
He says: “I think it’s just [a matter of] how quickly I can adapt to this level. I think it’s something I’m very capable of. The Bears feel that as well. I’m excited to get to work and get grinding and show everybody what I can do.”
Ryan Pace says: “For a guy his size, his athleticism stands out. Good route quickness. Good ability to separate. Natural hands. Good body control, big catching radius. You can feel his basketball background — his ability to go up and high-point balls in a crowd. A lot of intriguing traits we’re excited about adding.”
Round 4, No. 112
6-0, 201 pounds
Background: Jackson didn’t play football as a sophomore or junior in high school because of academics, but a stellar senior year steered him toward Alabama. He started at cornerback as a true freshman. He tore his right ACL in April 2014 but returned in Week two and started 11 games. Jackson moved to safety — with the help of former Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker — during spring practice in 2015 and was a first-team All-SEC player. He broke his left leg returning a punt in Game 8 last year after. Doctors inserted a rod in his leg, and he was unable to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine. GM Ryan Pace said he might be limited during rookie minicamp.
The skinny: Jackson, who returned 11 punts for 253 yards and two touchdowns last season, might be the favorite to win the Bears’ job as a rookie. His ball skills — he had six interceptions as a junior — will help a defense that tied an NFL record for futility with 11 takeaways last year.
He says: “When I get the ball in my hand, I feel like I turn into a receiver.”
Ryan Pace says: “It was like, ‘Man, we’re going to kill two birds with one stone and get a good safety and a good punt returner.’ And it’s always good for me when I feel the excitement of our defensive coaches and the excitement of our special teams coaches and the excitement of our head coach.”
Round 4, No. 119
North Carolina A&T
5-6, 179 pounds
Background: Consistent, prolific rusher (5,619 yards, 56 TDs) in four seasons at I-AA North Carolina A&T. Rushed for 1,148 yards (5.9 avg.) and eight touchdowns as a freshman, 1,340 yards (6.8) and 15 TDs as a sophomore, 1,543 yards (5.8) and 15 TDs as a junior and 1,588 yards (7.5) and 18 TDs as a senior. Also ran track in college. Had surgery to repair his left labrum between his junior and senior years but did not miss game in either season.
The skinny: A classic scatback in the mold of Darren Sproles whose unique cut-back skills and anticipation allowed him to hit holes quickly and earned him the nickname “The human joystick.” He had the fastest 10-yard time (1.47 seconds) at the Combine (Sproles ran a 1.55 at the 2005 Combine). Ran a 4.42 40-yard dash.
He says: “I think [my size] will play a key role in helping me, because the linemen are going to be bigger, so it’s really going to be hard to see me behind my linemen and I can use that to my advantage.”
Ryan Pace says: “A dynamic player that dominated at that [I-AA] level. One of those guys who’s really fun to watch. You start watching one game, two games, three games — pretty soon you’re watching his whole season because he’s just a really entertaining, electric, exciting player.”
Round 5, No. 147
6-3, 309 pounds
Background: Morgan only started playing football during his senior year in high school and that was to meet graduation requirements. But his natural talent caught the attention of Division II Kutztown, which asked him to walk on. He turned into a decorated, four-year starter at left tackle at Kutztown. He was named the 2016 offensive athlete of the year in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Morgan played for the Bears in the Senior Bowl. He also took part in the scouting combine.
The skinny: Morgan already is physically built for the NFL, but it won’t be at tackle. He’s a guard for the Bears. Morgan, though, is not considered a plug-and-play player. “Senior Bowl struggles clearly showed the need for a year of seasoning, though has upside to continue developing and work habits to fend for a starting job in Year 3,” longtime draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki wrote in his annual guide.
He says: “I have quick feet, and even if I find myself playing with bad technique at times I always manage to still be in solid position at least because of my solid footwork.”
Ryan Pace says: “An advantage of coaching the Senior Bowl was an intimate knowledge with this player. Another small-school player but I think that Senior Bowl experience really cemented it for us, the kind of player that he is. We’re excited about adding him to our offensive line.”
Draft matters: Bears GM Ryan Pace won’t be deterred by criticism