The NFL Draft is later today, which leaves me just enough time to sneak in a final mock draft for the Chicago Bears.
I've done the strict best player available draft, the trade down draft, the defense only draft and the offense only draft, all to get a better idea of different prospects that could fall to the Bears throughout the seven rounds.
Today I'll kind of mock what I think Bears' general manager Ryan Pace will do. So I'll still be sticking fairly close to the draft board I used through Fanspeak, the CBS Sports Big Board, but I'll adjust it accordingly as I think Pace would.
I wasn't planning on making any trades, but when I got around to the 6th round and I saw a quarterbacking prospect that I thought would entice Pace, I traded the 185th pick (6th round) and the 7th round (pick 230) to the Niners for the 3rd pick in the 6th round (178).
There are a few players I snagged this time out that I had in previous versions.
Here's the link to my full 7 round draft so you can see how things fell.
First Round - Pick 11: Shaq Lawson, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End, Clemson
Lawson played both as a 5-Tech DE and as a 3-4 OLB at Clemson. At 6'3" and 269 pounds, he probably projects to OLB as a pro, but he does have the strength to perhaps stay as a defensive end in some fronts. CBSSports compares him to Bears OLB Pernell McPhee, "Like McPhee, Lawson lacks ideal height and length, but both are well built with violent hands, ball awareness and versatility." I'd like a different type of pass rusher opposite McPhee, but Lawson was the BPA and he fills a need.
Second Round - Pick 41: Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive End, Ole Miss
Nkemdiche is one of the most talented prospects available and if he can convince teams he's not a character risk, he'll probably go in the 1st round.
Vernon Butler, DL from Louisiana Tech, would also be a viable option at this point if the Nkemdiche flags are too much for Pace.
Third Round - Pick 72: Darian Thompson, Safety, Boise State
If there's a run on safeties, Thompson won't make it this far, but you never know how the draft will fall. He had 19 career interceptions and 242 career tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss in 2015. He probably needs to work on reading his keys better, but he has starter traits.
Fourth Round - Pick 106: Braxton Miller, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
Wide out isn't a pressing need for the Bears, but I think they'd like to add some competition to the group. Miller is a fantastic athlete and I honestly think he'll be gone a round earlier. But his rawness as a receiver may cause him to slip. He may not be ready to make an impact in 2016, but with proper coaching he could blossom into a starter.
Fourth Round - Pick 127: Nick Vannett, Tight End, Ohio State
WCGs draft guru, EJ Snyder, profiled Vannett last month in a scouting report and he liked what he saw. I also like him as a prospect, but he's another guy I fear may go a round earlier.
Then again, every draft there are countless players that teams "reach" for and other prospects that seem to fall. The only thing we can be sure on draft day is that we should expect the unexpected.
Fifth Round - Pick 150: Jonathan Jones, Cornerback, Auburn
At 5'9" Jones probably projects best to the slot corner, but he has the speed to stay with anyone (4.33 forty). Even though he's short, he's a well built 186 pounds. Also, he's not afraid to stick his head in to tackle and he can play press man coverage.
Sixth Round - Pick 178: Kevin Hogan, Quarterback, Stanford
Hogan ran a pro style of offense at Stanford and he completed 67.8% of his passes, good for 5th in the nation. CBSSports says "Hogan has a rifle," but other scouts question his arm strength.
Sixth Round - Pick 206: Keith Marshall, Runningback, Georgia
Marshall is 5'11", 218 pounds and not only did he put up the top bench press among RBs (25 reps), but he was the fastest (4.31 forty). An ACL injury in 2013 derailed his career, because in 2014 he had a setback, then in 2015 he was buried on the depth chart. If he's 100% healthy and has his confidence back, he could be a steal.
Do you think the Bears have eyes for any of these prospects?