The Bears are wrapping up their preparations for the draft.
Meanwhile, Sun-Times Bears expert Adam L. Jahns 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:
It’s a special year for tight ends, safeties and cornerbacks, and it’s imperative that the Bears take advantage of it. The Bears spent money on all three positions in free agency. But it’s not enough. Improve those positions through the draft, too.
The Bears solved this need in free agency:
Is “none of the above” an answer? That’s not to say that Ryan Pace’s free-agent spending was all for naught. It wasn’t. He was targeted in his approach and spending, as he always is, and improved several positions. But no position was “solved.” As Pace always says, he’ll build this team through the draft.
Would you draft a quarterback at No. 3?
Only if my evaluations and my draft board told me to. But forcing that selection and passing on a sure-fire difference-maker on defense would be reckless. Drafting a quarterback at No. 3 requires organizational stability because of the developmental time required. Are the Bears truly in that position? Coach John Fox is in Year 3 of a four-year deal and coming off a 3-13 season.
Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen?
Thomas. He simply can do more than Allen from more places, and that has more value in Vic Fangio’s defense. He has been labeled a “tweener” at 6-3 and 273 pounds, but it’s a positive description in this case. It speaks to his athleticism and versatility. He can rush off the edge in a four-man front, line up inside in the Bears’ base 3-4 defense or occasionally play in space. As for Allen, his history of shoulder issues is a red flag for a player in the trenches.
Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams?
Adams. He might be the favorite for the Bears if Thomas is off the board. Compared to Hooker, Adams’ durability is noteworthy. Hooker, a full-time starter for only one season at Ohio State, required surgeries on his hip and for sports hernias in January. Adams also appears to be a more complete safety and player. His physical tackling ability will connect him with Fangio and secondary coach Ed Donatell. His natural leadership skills will connect him with Pace and Fox.
Predict the Browns, 49ers picks:
The Browns are the Browns, but they can’t pass on Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett, can they? With a new GM in John Lynch and new coach in Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are a wild card. But the buzz linking them to Thomas seems legit.
In an ideal world, the Bears will …
Find a trade partner, move the No. 3 pick and take advantage of a haul of picks. In general, this is a deep and talented draft. Adding picks will help them fill out their roster with these positions being a must: quarterback, cornerback, safety, edge rusher and tight end.