The Bears are wrapping up their preparations for the draft.
Meanwhile, Sun-Times Bears expert Patrick Finley is answering the most important questions the team will face Thursday in the first round, and beyond.
Here’s a look at whom the Bears need, want and should pick — and when they’ll draft a quarterback:
The Bears’ biggest areas of need entering the draft:
Quarterback, quarterback and quarterback. Until (unless?) Mike Glennon proves himself, there’s no reason to think the Bears have the most important position in sports locked up. Even if Glennon is decent — and GM Ryan Pace thinks he will be — can you imagine what will happen if Glennon gets hurt in Game 2 the way Jay Cutler did? Fourteen weeks of Mark Sanchez could get everyone fired.
The Bears solved this need in free agency:
Blocking tight end. Not a sexy answer, but Dion Sims gives the Bears an in-line force they sorely missed last year after trading Martellus Bennett. Besides Sims, the four other players they signed to multiyear deals play quarterback, safety, cornerback and wide receiver — positions that remain precisely their four biggest draft needs.
Would you draft a quarterback at No. 3?
No. Let someone else gamble on which passer is worth a top-five pick. The Bears would be wiser to take a quarterback with their second-round pick — or use that second pick to move up to the end of Round 1. Maybe Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer falls that far — the Bears have stayed in constant contact with him. Pitt’s Nathan Peterman, whom the Bears liked at the Senior Bowl, could be a good match. Here’s betting that teams with established quarterbacks looking for protégés — the Chargers, Cardinals and Saints — wait until the second round or later, too.
Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen?
Allen. He might be the most polished, NFL-ready player in the draft. The Bears can plug him in at their oh-so-vacant starting defensive end spot and let him dominate for five years. That might hurt him, though. Pace has bet on super-athletic players with upside — wide receiver Kevin White and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd — with his first-round picks.
Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams?
Hooker. Presuming his medicals don’t spook the Bears, Hooker provides an innate ball-hawking talent that can’t be taught — and that the Bears, with only 11 takeaways last year, desperately need. His health might make him too risky at No. 3, though.
Predict the Browns, 49ers picks:
Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas. Not even the Browns can screw this up.
In an ideal world, the Bears will …
Pick the best defender third overall and land a developmental quarterback in the second round, without having to trade additional picks in a draft that’s deep in the positions they need. The defender helps Fox win now and the quarterback gives Pace a hedge against his big bet on Glennon. Trading down is a great idea, but good luck finding a partner.