There’s always a chance that the Bears go for a defensive back or even a running back if Saquon Barkley somehow falls to No. 8, but the latest NFL mock drafts continue to focus on the offensive line and defensive front seven for Chicago. With just over two weeks before the big weekend at AT&T Stadium, that’s the conventional wisdom on the direction GM Ryan Pace will be heading.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each did three-round “Grade A” mock drafts this week, and while they disagree on the players, they each have the Bears picking a linebacker and an offensive lineman. Kiper projects Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in the first round and Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter in the second round. McShay projects Georgia’s Roquan Smith and Ohio State’s Billy Price, respectively.
Other mock drafts continue that trend.
CBS Sports has the Bears picking Smith eighth overall after missing out on Nelson and Barkley with the previous two picks. Sporting News, SB Nation and the San Diego Union-Tribune go with Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, the same player the Sun-Times’ Mark Potash projected to Chicago in our latest mock draft.
Draft Countdown and Cleveland.com stick with Nelson, who is considered the consensus top offensive lineman in the draft. The Bears have been aggressive this offseason adding pieces like Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton to support Mitchell Trubisky and new coach Matt Nagy, so further solidifying the line with a potential Pro Bowler like Nelson would follow that trend.
“If you get Nelson at eight, [you] would be satisfied,” Kiper said in a conference call last month. “Some people think he’s the best player in the draft.”
It may be difficult for the Bears to pass up the chance to land another top defensive player, however. The offense already got a lot of love this offseason, and bringing in a potential stud like Smith or Edmunds could make a big impact. Either way, help up front on either side of the ball seems to be a likely outcome. Only two more weeks of mock drafts until we get to do the real thing.