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ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. mocks Jamal Adams to the Bears, loads them up on defense

A little less than a week from the draft, the ESPN analyst has Chicago grabbing the LSU safety and going defensive heavy.

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

We’ve discussed what LSU’s Jamal Adams would bring to table for the Chicago Bears a lot recently. Conversation surrounding his hypothetical place on the team has heated up considerably with the draft now close on the horizon.

From comparisons to Ohio State’s similarly dynamic safety in Malik Hooker, to piecing together his history and exactly what he’d do for the Bears, to some’s preference as the third overall pick for Chicago.

And then of course, there’s his obvious versatility, physicality, and outstanding charisma. The idea of what the 21-year-old Adams will become in the NFL is tantalizing to many and too much to pass up on from where the Bears sit.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. also agrees on Adams’ ceiling and ability being a great fit for Chicago, as he mocked the 2016 First-Team All-Sec player to the Bears in his latest three-round “Grade-A” mock draft.

This mock is what Kiper says, has him as the de-facto “general manager” of all 32 teams and what he would do if he sat in their shoes in this draft. It’s all about the “best interest” of the team with each pick in his mind according to Kiper. Not about what any team up next in say, the Jaguars at the No. 4 overall slot, would want . The three players he gives to the Bears and the rest of the NFL are purely based on his rankings, too.

Let’s take a look at his selections in the top half of the 2017 Draft for Chicago.

Round 1 (3): Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Round 2 (36): DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State

Round 3 (67): Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

Interesting trio at three defensive need positions for the Bears there.

Here’s how Kiper explained his Bears’ draft:

My quick take on the Adams selection is that while I’m obviously a huge proponent of the Bears going with a quarterback they believe can be their franchise guy at No. 3 overall, if they indeed go with a non-passer, Adams is easily the safest pick they can end up with. He might be the safest pick in this draft, even over the consensus No. 1 overall selection in Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett.

Now, I’m still not a huge fan of taking a defensive back so high, too. You know, positional value. But of all the other top prospects at safety and elsewhere, Adams has by far the least amount of question marks if you go his direction instead of a quarterback.

There’s Hooker’s torn labrum. There’s Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and his arthritic shoulders. And there’s Hooker’s Ohio State secondary teammate in Marshon Lattimore and his hamstrings. Three other players I see consistently being mocked to Chicago of late for whatever reason, that have too much potentially going on in the background for me to be comfortable with the investment of No. 3 overall pick.

In Adams, you’re getting a surefire impact player that will likely last his entire career with the Bears and possibly “wear a yellow jacket” one day (apologies for the early projections).

Meanwhile, the Walker pick is fascinating, because his production at 16 sacks in a 2016 senior season stands out, but he’s not necessarily the best athlete. He’s going to contribute at the NFL level, but more than likely has some production limitations. This is very much a grind-it-out player (part reach of a pick) that if put in a quality situation, will mostly still thrive anywhere, though. I’ll say that I do like the value of grabbing him at No. 36 overall, relatively. The Bears need an edge-rusher and five-technique to continue adding pieces to their defensive front seven and he certainly fits that model.

Finally on Kazee, while I expect him to be one of the top sleeper “underrated” cornerbacks this year, as Kiper describes him, the third round feels like a bit of a sizable reach. Many mocks have him currently projected in the fourth and fifth round due to a smaller frame at 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, and as more of an insider corner. But as I’m quite fond of what he offers, there’s no doubting his ballhawk ability as well as fluidity in coverage and in turn possible impact on the Bears.

I’m just not sure I’m a fan of taking Kazee so high when he’ll likely be available later. He would be a quality developmental cornerback for the Bears either way.

All in all, I like this draft for Chicago by Kiper. The Bears would finally fill out their defense with youthful impact guys on the edge and in the secondary, and ideally have a strong, even dominant unit for a long time. However, they’d probably have trouble scoring points. In my mind, one of those first three picks would be changed to a playmaker at receiver or tight end as the team is, in my opinion, much closer on defense than it is on offense.

A developmental quarterback in the second round would also be especially welcomed at a better value. You can’t completely ignore one side of the ball in such a fashion with a “best player available” mentality. That’s a misguided notion that would put the franchise in a bind. I’d say the same thing if Kiper went all offense, as the best players at each slot later on could be on offense to some. Chicago isn’t in a current position to load up with it’s top picks on any one unit. I’d highly suggest the Bears try to build a balanced team moving forward when given the opportunity.

Find players that can help new quarterback Mike Glennon or a young guy under center, otherwise you’re putting them in a position to fail, and complete your defense. You can do both at the same time. A novel thought, I know. That’s the one legitimate gripe I’d really only have outside of the reach for Kazee.

All in all, a solid haul of players by Kiper when taking everything into account and a nice infrastructure set in place for the Bears’ budding core.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.