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Windy City Gridiron draft roundtable: Our choices at No. 3 overall

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In this four-part series, we’ll take a look at every angle concerning the Bears’ 2017 first-round pick. Today, our choices if in charge of the selection.

Western Kentucky v LSU Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

It’s difficult to argue that the 2017 Draft isn’t the most important to date for the Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Pace’s regime. After a free agency period filled with veteran stop gaps and just nine wins in two seasons, the Bears cannot afford to have a let down in any draft. They need to find young starters and or stars, and plug them in quickly to build a quality core base and contend. If there is a “plan,” then that’s it.

Of all the picks in 2017 for Chicago, the one at third overall in particular must be a home run. Whoever the Bears select with their first-round pick has to be a franchise player for years. He has a to be a star. And he has to make a lasting impact on this storied organization that won’t soon be forgotten.

No pressure on Pace or his scouting department, of course.

Since this opportunity at such a premium player likely won’t come again in the Pace era, we decided to break down every possible scenario the Bears can face at No. 3 overall. It’s too crucial of a decision for the franchise not to ascertain what could happen with the pick. It’ll send the wheels of the team into motion, in either an incredibly positive fashion, or one of a failure.

With all of that mind, in part one of this defining moment, we as a staff made our picks for the Bears at No. 3.

1. Your Bears’ pick at No.3 overall?

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Zeglinski: I’ve been enamored with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson for quite some time and I’m not going to waver off of that thought. I think this quarterback class is for some reason, still getting an extremely bad rap, and it shouldn’t be. It’s also my belief that Watson is easily the best of the bunch of the passers available.

Pace has now waited three years to lock in his options at quarterback. Chicago can’t wait forever to draft a young guy to develop and eventually start. We hear the same ideal repeated ad nauseum all the time: Every year the next top quarterbacks are “better.” To push this decision back again and again, only harms the long-term outlook for the franchise.

The Bears can add a star at a less impactful position such as safety and that player can be really good, but the team could also go never go anywhere because the quarterback can’t play well. Even an average passer in the modern era would have more impact than most any other player. It’ll always come back to him and I’d prefer taking the risk versus going with “safe” options in that light - if there is such a thing in the lottery of the draft.

It’s really all about positional value. What does it matter if the rest of the team is built but the guy under center can’t play?

On that note, I don’t know if Watson is a “sure” thing, but neither are any of the other prospects. Everyone available in this draft has questions and that never changes in any given year. I’m confident his will be mitigated.

I understand the concerns but it’s high time to take a swing for the fences if you’re the Bears. In Watson, you’re getting a true leader, a dynamic playmaker, and the potential cornerstone and face of the organization for a long time. Sit him behind the bridge quarterback, Mike Glennon, for a year or two to refine aspects of his game, and then watch the dazzling show unfold.

Ken Mitchell: Jamal Adams, because he's a 10-year type player. He's solid across the board: No injury history, smart, fast, good coverage skills, and instinctive. He also fixes a serious hole that we are desperately in need of fixing and is a day-one starter.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Louisiana State vs Louisville Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lester Wiltfong Jr.: I've gone back and forth on this for months now. First I have to try and decipher what the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers are going to do, and besides Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett being off the board, I have no idea which other player will be gone.

I'm leaning towards San Francisco going with Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, so that leaves me plenty of options. First of which is to trade back. My second option, is to try and trade back again. But if forced to pick, I'd take Adams.

I know the "value" argument on taking a safety at third, but if he steps in and plays like most predict he will, then he's worth the money. He has Pro Bowl potential and the Bears just spent a No. 1 pick on a pass rusher last year. So factor in Leonard Floyd becoming a double digit sack guy, plus a top prospect in the secondary, and suddenly Chicago's defense has some teeth.

Josh Sunderbruch: Adams. I am about as big of a "value" guy as you will find, but Adams has a high floor, higher ceiling, and anchors an entire position group. He provides much-needed leadership for a unit that is largely rudderless. He has the potential to tilt the field and make everybody else play better with his presence. His intangibles are also fantastic. When you can get that with a draft pick then "value" becomes less important.

Jeff Berckes: Adams. I love what I'm getting here. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com starts off his list of strengths in a scouting report by calling Adams a "natural-born leader of men." This is a guy who stands out in a crowded LSU secondary and lives and breathes football. Adams gives us a field general on defense that we haven't had roaming the secondary in a long time.

Some will balk at using this pick on a safety, but looking at some of the best defenses in the game today, you see standout safety. There's no doubt about the floor for Adams and the ceiling is as high as you need to justify a top-five pick.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Householder: Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. E.J. has swayed me. There is a lot to like about Adams but the more I read about Hooker, the more convinced I am that he is a more technically sound prospect. Frankly, the Bears don't need anymore projects or guys that need time to blossom. He also has something others are sorely lacking: ballhawking and turnover creation.

While I'm not a fan of Ohio State, the Bears drafted a really good safety from the school back in 1975 named Doug Plank. That worked out pretty well.

NCAA Football: North Carolina vs Georgia Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

E.J. Snyder: Trade down is my first option. Even if the Bears take lesser value they'll get an extra starter or two out of it. If they have to stay put I'd pick North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears need an option at quarterback if Glennon gets injured or fails. If they wait to make a choice at passer, the quality will drop off very quickly.

WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Kev H; Sam Householder; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.