Bears should give Mitch Trubisky what he needs — a first-round receiver
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You’ve been inundated with draft-day possibilities, to the point where you firmly believe that the Bears could take any of 24 players with their first-round pick.
The only thing you can rule out, having read our 12-part series on college punters and the women who love them, is the team using the eighth overall pick on a man with excellent hang time.
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You are confused, exhausted and — gasp! — not sure the NFL Draft is worth living for anymore.
Fear not, your worries are over.
The closer is here.
I’m about to tell you whom the Bears should take and whom they will take. You’ll feel the tension drain from your body, and you’ll learn to love Mel Kiper Jr.’s hair again.
First, a warning. I have no inside information about what the Bears will do Thursday when it’s time for them to pick. Nor does anyone else outside the organization. The Bears are like every other NFL team. They guard their draft plans as they would nuclear launch codes. And I completely understand this. They and the 31 other teams have been so right over the years about their proprietary draft information. Every first-round pick has been a great one, and every team has gone 13-3 every season! Here’s a towel. Wipe the dripping sarcasm from this paragraph.
Whom the Bears should take:
SMU receiver Courtland Sutton (via a trade down)
Are the Bears loaded at wide receiver? No, they are not. Are they trying to build around young quarterback Mitch Trubisky? Yes, they are. So what am I missing here? As debate rages over what edge rusher or cornerback the Bears should take with the eighth pick, one particular receiver begs your attention.
At 6-3, 218 pounds, Sutton is a big target. He has 4.54 speed in the 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of 35.5 inches. He’s tough, productive (two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons) and athletic enough to have suited up with SMU’s basketball team. He’s sort of like Alshon Jeffery, only without the soft-tissue injuries.
Put Sutton with Allen Robinson, the Bears’ marquee free-agent signing this year, and let Trubisky find out what it’s like to throw to big and possibly big-time receivers. As it stands now, it’s hard to say definitively that the Bears have improved measurably in the passing game, especially with Robinson coming off a serious knee injury. The more offensive weapons, the better.
They should be able to trade down to get Sutton, and that would mean more picks, something a thin roster desperately needs.
You say he’s too big of a risk for a team that needs stability after rolling the dice with Trubisky? The thing to remember is that anything is possible in the draft and that the chances of plans going awry are high. Wide receiver Kevin White is the perfect example. Remember the excitement about him on draft day in 2015? His West Virginia highlights? His sense of humor? He was someone you wanted on your team. And then the injuries started arriving.
Trade down, take a wide receiver and add more talent with the added draft picks.
Whom the Bears will take:
Virginia Tech linebacker
The best thing they have going for them in this draft is that, as usual, teams will take a gamble on a quarterback — as the Bears did last year with Trubisky. Four quarterbacks could be taken in the first six picks, and all have big question marks.
Bears fans are hoping that two of the top players in the draft — Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb — will fall to eighth. It’s always good to dream.
Both likely will be gone, so the Bears will look to Edmunds, an excellent athlete who is all of 19. He has, as football people like to say, a very high ceiling, which means he has a lot of upside, which means there’s a lot of room for growth. He’s already very good.
This will be a great pick if A) Edmunds improves and B) outside linebacker Leonard Floyd turns into everything general manager Ryan Pace thought he would be when he made him the ninth overall pick in 2016. Floyd has had injuries that have slowed his development. It would be fun to see what defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could hatch with Floyd and Edmunds rushing the quarterback.
The Bears have lost 10 or more games the last four seasons, so they need help almost everywhere. There are few wrong areas to address in the draft but lots of ways for this to go wrong.
Pace’s first-round draft record is uneven. White looks like a miss, Floyd looks like a hit and Trubisky looks like a quarterback, but no one can be certain yet. Give him another talented wide receiver. Let’s find out for sure..
Sun-Times sports columnists Rick Morrissey and Rick Telander are co-hosts of a new podcast called “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered.” Don’t miss their candid, amusing takes on everything from professional teams tanking to overzealous sports parents and more. Download and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or via RSS feed.