An early trade down with the Arizona Cardinals slotted the Chicago Bears at No. 45 overall in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft - a selection they used on Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen. With the trade, they acquired a fourth-round draft pick (no. 119) and sixth-rounder (No. 197) this year, along with a fourth-round selection from Arizona next year. All in all, effectively recouping some valued assets used in the trade up to acquire North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky.
That trade sets the table for Chicago to find some quality depth, particularly on defense considering some of the players remaining, and fill out the roster on the remaining day of the draft. Note that considering Shaheen’s pick, we now more than ever know there’s a type the Bears prefer: raw prospects with high ceilings.
Let’s take a look at some of the best players remaining for general manager Ryan Pace and the Bears to potentially invest at need positions tomorrow afternoon.
1. Desmond King, Safety, Iowa: Considering King’s positional versatility and natural instincts as a defensive back, he seems like the perfect player for Pace and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. You can plug and play him in from the outset, even if that doesn’t seem like this current regime’s goal. These Bears seem to like guys with immense potential and who have multiple uses. King, who was once of the consensus top cornerbacks slash safeties in this class, would be a steal for Chicago on day three.
2. Carl Lawson, Edge, Auburn: Lawson does have a partly troubling history with a previously torn ACL and hip injury during his college career, but make no mistake that he’s one of the more underrated and productive pass rushers in this class. To discount what he would bring to a Bears edge group that desperately needs another youthful boost wouldn’t be wise.
3. Tedric Thompson, Safety, Colorado: Thompson is a bit limited physically, but he’s simply terrific around the ball. 13 college interceptions speaks to the playmaking ability and flash he would offer the Bears on the back-end.
4. Chad Hansen, Wide receiver, California: Hansen is another kind of player I think the Bears have their eye on. A fluid, smart, and strong receiver, he’s the sleeper you seek in the late rounds that can complete your team. He’ll need to work on professional route work, of course.
5. Marlon Mack, Running back, South Florida: We’re now in the territory where the Bears may seek a complimentary back and Mack fits that profile and more. A tailback with explosive bursts, who makes plays out of nothing, and who possesses excellent vision. Easy target for Chicago.
6. Damontae Kazee, Cornerback, San Diego State: If Kazee weren’t so undersized at just 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds, he may have been a day two or even day one pick in this draft. There might not be a twitchier, more natural athlete at cornerback here than him, though. Always around the ball, always with a sticky competitiveness. In the proper base nickel defense in the NFL, Kazee could thrive.
7. Corn Elder, Cornerback, Miami: Elder is much like Kazee, in that while he is small, his fight is anything but. He plays with a reckless abandon that would make you think he’s a prototypical NFL cornerback with prototypical size. He’s patient in diagnosing quarterback’s reads, is another twitchy athlete, and is a demon in run support. A worthy investment in the slot or even on the outside given his demeanor.
8. Josh Reynolds, Wide receiver, Texas A&M: Reynolds’ puts his long 6-foot-3 frame to good use in boxing out defenders and creating space as a receiver. A guy you can both use as a possession receiver and one who generally quick enough to create separation between the 20’s. He’ll have to gain strength and otherwise work on route refinement, but his ceiling is moderately high.
9. Eddie Jackson, Safety, Alabama: Jackson was thought of much higher earlier in the draft process but injuries (a broken leg last year) towards the end of his career, and team strength at Alabama, intensified a microscope that has him sitting there for secondary needy teams. Jackson’s the kind of player you can use all over the field much like King, but to a lesser extent. Still, he’d be a worthwhile addition.
10. Roderick Johnson, Offensive tackle, Florida State: If the Bears wanted to seek a highly sought developmental tackle for the future, the 6-foot-7 298 pound Johnson fits that thought. He’s going to need to gain strength while also work on general balance and hand placement. But if a coaching staff can work him up with time, he’ll be a solid starter.
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.