Thirteen players the Bears could consider in Round 2
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The Bears will draft ninth when the second round begins Friday at 6 p.m., and have plenty to choose from.
Many Day 1 talents are available, and fit the Bears’ needs. A look at them:
The Bears can fill their most obvious need on Day 2. The draft is considered the strongest ever for defensive linemen, and there will be starters available today:
Chris Jones, Mississippi State: Physically, he’s the perfect 3-4 end. Jones is 6-6, 310 pounds with 35-inch arms — remember that, Thursday night, GM Ryan Pace called arm length a critical measurable for Bears draftees. The Bears called Jones earlier this week to make sure they had his correct phone number — in case they call to say he’s been selected.
Jarran Reed, Alabama: Reed’s visit to Halas Hall was scuttled by the birth of his daughter, but he said he’s stayed in touch with Bears officials. At 6-3, 307 pounds, he’s not as tall as the Bears would prefer at end.
A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama: He probably wasn’t as complete as Reed in college, but teams love his 6-4, 307-pound build. He might profile better as a run-stopping monster on a 4-3 team.
The wild cards
Concerns about knee injuries dropped these two inside linebackers — top-5 talents — into the second round, or later:
Myles Jack, UCLA: Teams were spooked by the medical re-check this month, following up surgery to repair his right meniscus tear. The concern is that, five years down the line or so, Jack will need microfracture surgery. There’s no questioning his athleticism. At 6-1, 245 pounds, he’s already a complete pass defender, perfect for the modern NFL. And he visited Halas Hall in late March.
Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame: Once considered the top pick in the draft, Smith might not hear his name called Friday at all. Concerns about nerve damage has scared teams — he might never be the same — and he will likely have to redshirt his first season as he recovers from the Fiesta Bowl knee injury.
Finally, a TE
The Bears swung and missed trying to land Martellus Bennett’s replacement, as Josh Hill’s offer was matched by the Saints. They need a tight end:
Hunter Henry, Arkansas: Considered the top tight end in the draft, Henry can be a good pass-catcher from Day 1. He needs to improve his blocking, which might make him too similar to Zach Miller.
The Bears already selected Leonard Floyd, but Pace spoke about trying to collect pass rushers:
Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky: Thursday was shaped by Laremy Tunsil’s character concerns. It will be interesting to see how fast teams pounce on Spence, the former Ohio State player who was kicked out of the Big Ten for drug use.
Kevin Dodd, Clemson: Dodd and Shaq Lawson, the Bills’ choice at no. 19, teamed up to torture opponents en route to a national championship runner-up. Dodd will be 24 when the season starts, though, and can claim only one year as a college starter. At 6-5, 277 pounds, he could add weight and play end for the Bears, too.
Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State: He visited the Bears at Halas Hall and could both stand up in a base set and work from a lower stance in sub packages. He was the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
The Zeke Consolation
Ezekiel Elliott was gone long before the Bears picked, being drafted by the Cowboys at No. 4:
Derrick Henry, Alabama: The Heisman Trophy winner is about 3 inches and 25 pounds larger than the Ohio State star. He had more than 400 touches this year, though the Bears swear they don’t need a bell-cow back for their system.
The Bears can’t open the season with Matt Blanchard and David Fales as their backup quarterbacks, can they?
Connor Cook, Michigan State: For all the hubbub surrounding the fact Cook wasn’t voted a captain for his senior season, it’s hard to argue with his success; the four-year starter won two Big Ten titles in three years.
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State: He’s a project, yes. And his DUI in March — when he knew he was under the scrutiny of potential employers — makes you question his decision-making. He threw 29 touchdowns and only five interceptions last year.
Christian Hackenberg, Penn State: One of the most polarizing prospects in the draft — some remember him as the 18-year-old wunderkind who ran Bill O’Brien’s Penn State offense as a freshman, others all the mistakes that have come since then. There’s no questioning his pro size, at 6-4.