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Windy City Gridiron draft roundtable: Consolation prizes at No. 3 overall

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Part two of this Bears 2017 first-round pick roundtable has us look at our “other” favorite options for the selection.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Given how the draft always goes, it’s unpredictable as to who’ll be sitting there for the Chicago Bears when it’s their time to select at No. 3 overall. The guys the team prefers may already be off the board by the third pick. It’s that unpredictability that makes this process so compelling.

But you have to play the ball as it lies if you’re Shooter McGavin ... I mean Bears general manager Ryan Pace. Even if the player at the top of your draft board is gone, you have to have contingency plans in place on other premium prospects. Or have an internal debate on whether the player you prefer is ultimately better than your other considerations.

Yesterday, we discussed our top choice for the Bears’ first-round pick. But what if our guy isn’t there? What if Chicago goes in a different direction altogether out of left field? Maybe other players would suit our fancy even he is still available.

On that note, here are our other two choices we would consider at No. 3 overall if in the Bears’ shoes.

2. Who are your top two consolation prizes for the Bears?

CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Robert Zeglinski: I had a certain Clemson quarterback as my favorite face of the franchise, but I wouldn’t be displeased if they went with Alabama’s O.J. Howard at tight end. A couple of months ago, I would’ve laughed at this thought, but after thinking about what a complete player such as him brings to the table, it’s not so crazy anymore.

No tight end has ever been picked in the top three, but outside of the other consensus best at their position like Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Howard might share the same company in “generational” talent to change that.

In Howard, you’re getting a dynamic weapon down field and a traditional versatile tight end who you can line up all over. There’s also name confusion for certain broadcasters once the Bears’ top two offensive playmakers share the same last name. Positional value is crucial in my eyes, but I’d consider throwing that out the window to lock down a potential All-Pro tight end for a decade with Howard. A true security blanket. I also think he’s “safer” than other “safe” prospects.

The other guy I would be okay with is Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, but his torn labrum and raw ceiling will probably have the Bears pass. Though, I love his ballhawk ability and range. So if you’re patient with him, you’ll likely have one of the five best safeties in the league within a few years.

Ken Mitchell: North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky or Stanford’s Solomon Thomas. I'd be fine with either one of them, although No. 3 is too rich for Trubisky. With Thomas, we will be lucky to have him on the board at third overall.

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Lester Wiltfong Jr.: If Thomas is there, he'd be my pick at No. 3. In my opinion, a pass rusher is more important than a safety. I know Thomas has some questions about his game, but so does every prospect coming out.

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Stanford vs North Carolina Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is another name I'd strongly consider. He's not the most technically gifted of the passers available, but he has the all-important intangibles. I also love a quarterback that can beat you with his legs too and Watson has the athleticism to do that.

Josh Sunderbruch: Trubisky is fine. I think he is the most promising of a limited quarterback class. I think most years he's an insurance-policy pick (actually, most years he doesn't come out because the competition is too fierce), but the Bears have to invest in the position. I'm okay with them taking the swing if he's their guy, but I prefer the relative reliability of LSU’s Jamal Adams.

Thomas would be great. He's got the skill and the talent, and there's a lot to like. However, I don’t think he brings the leadership offered by Adams. I also don't think he locks down a position for the duration of two contracts like Adams could.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Berckes: My assumption is Garrett and Thomas are off the board. Obviously, the calculation changes if one of those two is there. For the purposes of this discussion, I originally took Adams over Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and Howard.

I like Allen but I think the combine revealed his ceiling may not be quite worth the capital of the No. 3 pick. I'm somewhat joking about Howard but I like him as a player more than guys like Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore, or Hooker, and the running backs near the top.

If Pace pulled out a shocker and actually took Howard, I think we'd love the guy from day one.

Sam Householder: Howard because he looks like a stud. I actually wouldn't hate the pick but there are some reasons not. Most would say "positional value" and that a tight end has never been taken higher than No. 3 overall but I think using history as an excuse for NOT taking a position is a little silly.

The game is changing and evolving, fast. A stud tight end is a game-changer: Look at the SeahawksJimmy Graham, the PatriotsRob Gronkowski and the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. They are true impact players. However, for the Bears, they need a lot of help and the pressure of a tight end taken at No. 3 when they are uncertain at the quarterback position and so many defensive positions, doesn’t make it a good fit.

Adams as my other pick, because he is another elite prospect. There are some concerns about the top-end pass-rushers in this class: What's their best position, injury concerns, etc. but Adams as a safety would no doubt be a nice fit on the defense.

E.J. Snyder: I'd consider Hooker here. He's special if his medical check is clean. The reason I passed: So much other good safety talent available. You can get a very good player at the position up to two rounds farther down in this draft.

Howard at tight end is the other player I would take. Checks all the boxes and would be a terrific Bear. The reason I passed: He doesn't throw the ball and that is at a premium in today's NFL - No quality quarterback? No playoff wins.

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.