The NFL draft is now 10 days away. Teams have a couple more days to host potential draft picks. But it’s also time for them to play out certain scenarios.
Here’s our seven-round mock draft for the Bears and a 32-team rundown.
At best, this is an exercise. Which players are available? What needs do the Bears have? Which players fit the profiles that general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy have?
Let’s go …
Round 1, No. 8
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
This pick could turn out to be Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Virgina Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Florida State safety Derwin James or Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
The point being is that the Bears are in a prime position to select one of the best defensive players in the draft, which is the best course of action if Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is gone.
My decision came down to Smith or Fitzpatrick. Both players could change the complexion of the Bears’ already top-10 defense.
Smith’s natural instincts and speed outweigh concerns about his size (6-1, 236 pounds). He fits the mold for linebackers in today’s pass-happy NFL. It starts with him being quick and fast enough to cover running backs out of the backfield.
Edmunds’ physical makeup (6-5, 253 pounds) and age (he turns 20 in May) make him very intriguing. Sound coaching, starting with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, would help him.
But Smith should be able to step in immediately and play alongside either Danny Trevathan or Nick Kwiatkoski. Smith’s size likely isn’t a major concern for Fangio, either.
Just look at the linebackers who played for him with the 49ers.
Patrick Willis (6-1, 240 pounds), Navorro Bowman (6-0, 242) and Chris Borland (5-11, 248) all excelled under Fangio despite lacking Brian Urlacher-like size.
Smith is considered a tone-setter in the locker room and an aggressive tackler on the field. He had 136 tackles, including 14 for loss, and six ½ sacks in his final season at Georgia.
Round 2, No. 39
CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
Adding a receiver in the draft was a priority for the Bears when Cam Meredith still was considered part of their plans. Now that’s he gone, it should become an early one.
But what does the Bears’ draft board hold? The best value for receivers might be later in the second round or early on Day 3 of the draft. Can the Bears trade this pick for more?
There still are good defensive players for the Bears to consider at No. 39 — and they can draft one knowing that their money was well spent on receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton in free agency.
Oliver has good size at 6-1 and 190 pounds. He also is one of the best athletes in the draft, setting school records at Colorado in the decathlon. Oliver had two interceptions and 13 pass breakups in his final college season.
Round 4, No. 105
OLB Uchenna Nwosu, USC
No one knows what’s going to happen after the first two rounds. I mean, the first two are a crapshoot. But when considering players for the Bears later in the draft, I kept three characteristics in mind: speed, overall athleticism and positional versatility.
Nwosu is 6-3 and 253 pounds and has longer arms than Leonard Floyd. He broke up 19 passes over his final two seasons at USC. He made 9 ½ sacks in 2017.
Round 4, No. 115 (via Cardinals)
OL Alex Cappa, Humboldt State
Nagy said last month at the NFL’s annual meetings that he values athletic offensive linemen. It’s what he likes about his current group’s makeup and what he wants for his offense.
Cappa (6-7, 305 pounds) stood out during the practices for the Senior Bowl. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s offensive lineman of the year, Cappa is considered a “plus athlete” in NFL.com’s draft evaluation of him.
Round 5, No. 145
WR Simmie Cobbs, Indiana
Former Bears college director Greg Gabriel described Cobbs, an Oak Park-River Forest product, as a “good athlete with quickness and better than adequate speed” in Pro Football Weekly’s draft guide.
Cobbs (6-4, 220 pounds) has go-up-and-get-it ability. Last season against Ohio State, he made 11 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown over cornerback Denzel Ward — a consensus first-round pick this year — in the end zone.
Round 6, No. 181
LB Leon Jacobs, Wisconsin
Good scouting pays off in the late rounds and undrafted free agency. Jacobs (6-3, 230 pounds) spent time at inside and outside linebacker for the Badgers. He tested well at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds.
Round 7, No. 224
WR Jonah Trinnaman, Brigham Young
Trinnaman could be a priority free agent. But that’s true for all picks this late. He wasn’t a very productive receiver at BYU.
But here’s what NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt, the longtime Cowboys executive, said about Trinnaman’s pro day on Twitter:
“Freakishly athletic WR Jonah Trinnaman (5-10 1/2, 192) put on a show: 4.31/4.28 40s, 41.5 vertical, 12-0 broad. Wow!!!”
FULL MOCK DRAFT
1 Browns – QB Sam Darnold, USC
2 Giants – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
3 Jets – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
4 Browns – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
5 Broncos – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I’m among those who believe that four quarterbacks will go before the Bears’ pick at No. 8. There is simply too much interest in all of them.
It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and which players fall to the Bears.
The Bills, in particular, are lurking. They have two first-round picks (No. 12, No. 22), two second-round picks and two third-round picks at their disposal to move up.
6 Colts – G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
7 Buccaneers – DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
8 Bears – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
9 49ers – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
10 Raiders – S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
11 Dolphins –LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
12 Bills – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
13 Redskins – S Derwin James, Florida State
14 Packers – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
15 Cardinals – OT Connor Williams, Texas
16 Ravens — WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
17 Chargers – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
18 Seahawks – CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
19 Cowboys – WR Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist
20 Lions –EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College
21 Bengals – C/G James Daniels, Iowa
22 Bills — DL Taven Bryan, Florida
23 Patriots – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
24 Panthers – OLB Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
25 Titans – OG Will Hernandez, Texas-El Paso
26 Falcons – DL Vita Vea, Washington
27 Saints — DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
28 Steelers — LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
29 Jaguars — TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
30 Vikings – G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
31 Patriots – OL Kolton Miller, UCLA
32 Eagles – RB Derrius Guice, LSU