All bets are off. Alshon is an Eagle. In the polls I ran regarding the Bears team needs before Draftwatch took off this year, the assumption was clear from all the Windy City Gridiron writers: Jeffery should stay. They all based their answers about which positions should be drafted on that fact. Most even said that if the oft-injured WR did leave the Windy City that draft strategy would change immediately. He did, so here we are.
The Bears cupboard at WR is not bare, but it isn’t full either. Cameron Meredith is a legitimate threat as an NFL #2 WR. The recently-signed Marcus Wheaton looks like and excellent option in the slot... if he returns to full health (he’s coming off a shoulder injury). Kevin White has shown flashes but been unable to stay on the field. I still think he can be a top-20 WR at the NFL level, but betting on that for a team’s offensive future is a fool’s gamble. The Bears need receivers and it just so happens that this draft is chock full of them. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
I used Fanspeak On the Clock Premium to conduct a draft with the following settings:
- Length: 7 rounds
- Player Big Board: Matt Miller, Lead Draft Analyst, Bleacher Report
- Computer uses same board as me, or random: Random
- Difficulty (Classic or Difficult): Difficult
- Team needs determined by: User-generated list
I added the following rules to guide my choices:
- All offensive positions
- No Trades
If you don’t take the time to read how or why I set up this draft, please don’t expect me to respond to your comments about it.
3: R1P3 QB Mitchell Trubisky UNC - This is an easy choice in an offense-only draft. No position is more important than QB and Chicago needs to hedge its bets. Mike Glennon might be the answer. As a fan, I hope he is. As a team-builder I am not going to count on that. QB talent was available and the Bears get a player to strengthen a position that they have been historically weak in.
36: R2P4 WR Carlos Henderson Louisiana Tech - Call this the "Alshon-effect". Henderson has the talent to ascend to #1 WR. He runs good routes, has excellent balance and the speed to break small plays into big ones. At 5’11 and 200 pounds he’s solidly built and on top of that he has experience returning kicks.
67: R3P3 WR Chris Godwin Penn State - Tough to look a gift horse in the mouth. Godwin has been on my radar for quite some time but after he blew up the combine (running a 4.4 second 40-yard dash) he’s on everybody's radar. He’s is a very complete WR and impossible to pass up here. He was the 57th overall rated player and will likely be gone before the Bears pick in round 3 the actual draft. Almost chose: RB Marlon Mack, USF - he is so much fun to watch and would be an excellent complement to Jordan Howard’s running style.
111: R4P4 OT Taylor Moton Western Michigan - Moton is a perfect candidate to fill the Bears need for a swing tackle. He looks to have the body and the skillset to eventually be starting RT in the league.
117: R4P10 RB Jeremy McNichols Boise State - I am in the minority in thinking that the RB depth behind Jordan Howard is lacking. McNichols is a an all-around back with good speed who experience in multipole offensive sets and as a receiver. He also returned kicks in college so he offers special teams value.
147: R5P3 TE Jeremy Sprinkle Arkansas - Dion Sims is a nice player for the price of the initial year on his contract ($2 million). After that his price triples ($6 million) so having a backup plan if Sims turns out not be what the Bears thought he was is just good business. Sprinkle has very good size and has shown flashes of top-level ability, but may need a season of polishing to bring it out consistently. That’s a perfect scenario for Chicago in this case as they have players in place to the do the job while Sprinkle refines his game.
221: R7P3 WR ArDarius Stewart Alabama - Stewart is a offensive chess piece who played WR at Alabama and had some big catches for them. He also ran the ball out of the backfield on sweeps and tosses. He reminds of another player in the Bears division who had a breakout of his own last year: Ty Montgomery. Chicago could use that kind of versatility. Stewart is explosive with the ball in hands so he will make some plays right away while the team tries to define the best role for him.
Honorable mention: George Kittle (TE, Iowa) went undrafted in this mock and would be a priority UDFA target for me. In reality, Kittle absolutely gets drafted after his very strong Combine showing.
Who is your favorite player of the bunch to fit in with Chicago? If you have a player you would like me to do a "One-Shot" impression scout of (I’ll watch one tape and tell you what I think), leave their name in the comments. I’ll try to do the first 5 listed here AND the first one sent to me on Twitter.