The Bears are in their home stretch of preparing for the NFL Draft, which begins April 28, and they’ll ramp that up starting Sunday when their college scouts convene with general manager Ryan Poles at Halas Hall for a series of meetings. From there, they’ll set up their 30 in-person workouts.
While the Bears don’t have a first-round pick, they’ll be watching closely to see if any of their ideal prospects slide out to them in the second round at Nos. 39 and 48. They’ve got another in the third round at No. 71, then two selections in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Here’s what they can expect as they sweat out the first round:
1. Jaguars – Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson.The Jaguars have picked in the top 10 in 14 of the last 15 years and they haven’t done much with that talent. They were near the bottom of the NFL in sacks last season, and landing Hutchinson (14 sacks last season) should give them a boost.
2. Lions – Georgia DE Travon Walker.They need just about everything after going 3-13-1 last season, but in typical Lions misfortune, they have the No. 2 pick in a year when there isn’t a surefire quarterback to take at that spot.
3. Texans – N.C. State OT Ikem Ekwonu.The Texans need a quarterback, too, but won’t take one here. Instead, they’ll fortify their offensive line with a can’t miss tackle.
4. Jets – Alabama OT Evan Neal.Much like the Bears with quarterback Justin Fields, how can the Jets know if Zach Wilson is a winner unless they can keep him upright? They allowed the fourth-most sacks in the NFL last season.
5. Giants – Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux.The pass rusher class is so top-heavy that Thibodeaux, who has been compared to Jadeveon Clowney, could still be available here.
6. Panthers – Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton.Several prominent mock drafts have Hamilton going as high as No. 2, but team needs will keep him on the board until Carolina comes up.
7. Giants (via Bears) – Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson. This one’s gonna hurt the Bears. They’ll be unable to grab Fields’ former teammate because they gave up this pick as part of the trade for Fields a year ago.
8. Falcons – Southern Cal WR Drake London.Another top-flight wide receiver that the Bears will hate to miss out on. In a loaded class at that position, they’ll likely end up with the eighth or ninth option when their first pick comes up at No. 39.
9. Seahawks (via Broncos) – Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner.Gardner is the consensus best cornerback in the draft, and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has him going No. 4 to the Jets.
10. Jets (via Seahawks) – Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson.There wasn’t much good about Florida State last season, but Johnson was a star with 11.5 sacks in 12 games.
11. Commanders – Utah LB Devin Lloyd.Lloyd is a versatile player, which is more important than ever at the position, and was second in the country in tackles for loss (22) last season.
12. Vikings – LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.Stingley was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and lived up to the hype immediately with six interceptions as a true freshman.
13. Texans (via Browns) – Washington CB Trent McDuffie.NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein projects McDuffie as an instant starter, which the Commanders need after allowing a 100.8 passer rating last season.
14. Ravens – Mississippi State OT Charles Cross.This would be a steal for the Ravens in the middle of the first round. Cross is a top-10 talent.
15. Eagles (via Dolphins) – Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt.Defensive tackles have been slipping among most teams’ personnel priorities, but Wyatt is among the most polished, NFL-ready players at his position.
16. Eagles (via Colts) – Ohio State WR Chris Olave.Another one of Fields’ favorite targets from college heads elsewhere. It’s simply not feasible for the Bears to trade up this far.
17. Chargers – Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning.Penning ran the 12th-fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded by an offensive lineman at the combine at 4.89 seconds.
18. Saints – Liberty QB Malik Willis.Willis is the most talented quarterback in his class, but it’s difficult to project his pro career after playing at such a small program.
19. Eagles – Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. It’s probably a reach to take Booth this high, so the Eagles could trade back and still get him, but cornerback is a significant need. He had surgery on a core muscle in March, but expects a full recovery.
20. Steelers – Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett.The Steelers are betting on ex-Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky this season, but there’s no doubt they’ll need a reset after that.
21. Patriots – Georgia LB Nakobe Dean.Dean arrived at Georgia shortly after Bears standout Roquan Smith left and has drawn comparisons to him.
22. Packers (via Raiders) – Arkansas WR Treylon Burks.The Packers should consider packing this with the No. 28 pick to trade up and get the best possible wide receiver after trading Davante Adams.
23. Cardinals – Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum.It’s not particularly thrilling to draft a center, but the Cardinals need one and Linderbaum looks like a long-term starter.
24. Cowboys – Georgia DT Jordan Davis.The Cowboys need to strengthen their run defense after allowing 4.5 yards per carry last season, and Davis is a 341-pounder who clocked a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash.
25. Bills – Alabama WR Jameson Williams.Williams would be a great weapon to add for quarterback Josh Allen. He was fifth in the NCAA with 1,572 yards receiving last season.
26. Titans – Penn State WR Jahan Dotson.Dotson put up 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns in a monster senior season.
27. Buccaneers – Texas A&M G Kenyon Green.It’s between Green and Boston College’s Zion Johnson for top guard in this draft, and Green gets the nod.
28. Packers – Purdue DE George Karlaftis.Karlaftis, who had 14 sacks in 26 games, would be the sixth Greek-born player in NFL history.
29. Chiefs (via Dolphins via 49es) – Michigan S Daxton Hill.Hill’s 4.38 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine ranked fifth among safeties, and Chiefs are likely losing free agent Tyrann Mathieu.
30. Chiefs – Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie.The Chiefs’ defense simply wasn’t good enough last season, and it showed in the playoffs. Spending both of their first-round picks on that side of the ball is prudent.
31. Bengals – Florida CB Kaiir Elam.The Bears could eye Elam as someone who might slip to them at No. 39, and that would be tremendously helpful given their only proven cornerback is Jaylon Johnson.
32. Lions (via Rams) – Georgia WR George Pickens.If this is how the draft goes, it’ll end as the first time since 2014 that a running back wasn’t picked in the first round.