FanPost

Ditka's Pushbroom Mock Draft 3.0 (The Perfect Storm Edition)

I am planning to release a new Mock Draft every Thursday leading up to the NFL Draft. Since the Draft opens on a Thursday, the Final Mock Draft (My personal ideal scenario) will be released the week prior to the Draft, on April 20th. My plan is to use different scenarios that could play out in real life, although I do plan on having a Cleveland Browns-style trade back edition just for fun (April 13th).

For this particular Mock Draft, I utilized the Fanspeak Premium edition so that I could introduce trades into the equation. While the program itself offers a bevy of trade proposals, I stuck with just the single trade for this mock. I had Ryan Pace trading the #3 overall pick to the Panthers, for the #8 overall, #40 overall (2nd Round Pick), #64 (2nd Round Pick) and #98 (3rd Round Pick).

The word is that the Panthers are trying to trade with the 49ers for the #2 pick. The thought process being that they want Leonard Fournette and believe they need to jump the Jaguars to draft him. I highly doubt that the Bears would get this kind of haul. They likely wouldn’t get the #64 overall pick or they would forego the #64 and #98 for a 2018 2nd Rounder, which are generally valued less than the current year’s draft picks.

I hadn’t gone into this draft with the intention of trading with the Panthers but since it was offered, and I got the chance to watch extra players, I had to jump on it. Again, I do not believe that this trade is plausible but I do see the Panthers as potential trade partners and this trade was very heavily favoring the Bears.

Disclaimer: I am not a draft expert. By no means do I claim to know everything about all of these prospects. Every year as the NFL Draft approaches, I like to familiarize myself with as many prospects as I can with a focus on the Bears’ needs. For this exercise, I used the Fanspeak Premium mock draft tool with Matt Miller’s "Big Board." The point being to run a mock where I had to do some research on players that I was not wholly familiar with.

Round 1 - Pick #8 – 8th Overall: Mitchell Trubisky – Quarterback – North Carolina

Mitchell Trubisky, in my mind, is the prize of this QB class. It is always a gamble to trade-down but when Trubisky was sitting there at 8, the pick was easy.

Trubisky isn’t necessarily great at any one particular thing but he is really good at everything. A lot of pundits are scared off by the fact that he has only had one starting season in college. I don’t see that as necessarily a detriment. When watching QB’s on film, you have to look at "traits" and how those transfer to the NFL game.

When I watch Trubisky, he has all of the traits that you are looking for in a QB. His footwork is good, he has repeatable over-the-top mechanics, his pocket presence is solid, excellent athleticism, solid decision making, ample arm strength and he is very accurate.

What I see from Trubisky, which I believe to be true of all QB’s in this draft, is that he will need a year to sit and learn. I don’t believe any QB’s are ready to make the leap into the pros their Rookie season. When the time does come though, I believe that Mitchell Trubisky will be the guy that shines from this class. If he gets the proper coaching and a solid supporting cast, I believe that he will turn into one of the top QB’s in the league within his first 3 seasons. Wouldn’t that look nice in Navy and Orange?

Round 2 - Pick #4 – 36th Overall: Forrest Lamp – Guard – Western Kentucky

A Guard in the 2nd Round? Well, yes actually. Let’s face it, Josh Sitton isn’t getting any younger and Kyle Long is recovering from a tough ankle injury and has a torn Labrum. While on paper the Guard position appears to be a strength, there are certainly questions and longevity concerns.

Forrest Lamp is this year’s Cody Whitehair. They both played Left Tackle in college and are undersized technicians that project to Guard at the NFL level. I think that Lamp is a bit rawer as a prospect than Whitehair was, so he fits with the Bears timeline. Lamp could certainly step into the starting lineup should either Sitton or Long go down with an injury, but I believe he is best served to sit a year.

Lamp has the strength and athleticism that you dream about at the Guard position. He has excellent feet to mirror pass rushers at Tackle, but he just doesn’t have the length to stay there in the NFL. His strength, like Whitehair, is what makes him exciting as a Guard prospect.

I believe that Forrest Lamp will be, if not elite, one of the better Guards in the NFL by his 2nd season. In a perfect world, Kyle Long comes back healthy and the interior of the Offensive Line is dominant for years to come. Lamp is a player that can get you to that level, especially with Jordan Howard behind him.

Round 2 - Pick #8 – 40th Overall: Obi Melifonwu – Strong Safety – Connecticut

Obi Melifonwu is a classic case of drafting a player based on projection. In my opinion, he was not used to his potential at Connecticut. Based on the film that I watched, he was mainly lined up as a deep Safety. When he is playing deep, he doesn’t have the superior play recognition that a Jamal Adams or Budda Baker have.

What Melifonwu does well though is something that I think the Bears can really use. He is very similar in style to a Deone Bucannon or Kam Chancellor. He is a bit rawer than those players but he has similar traits. He is big (6’4" 224 lbs) and fast (4.40 40-Yard Dash at the Combine). He plays physical and never shies away from contact.

Where I see Melifonwu’s best fit is "in-the-box." When asked to play man-to-man coverage, he often excelled at blanketing his assignment. He seems to have a better instinct for finding the ball when he is closer to the line of scrimmage. He needs a year to get ready but Obi Melifonwu has the chance to be a game-changer in the NFL and would be a looming presence over the middle of the field.

Round 2 - Pick #32 – 64th Overall: Evan Engram – Tight End/H-Back/WR – Ole Miss

Evan Engram is an intriguing prospect for many reasons. The best thing about Engram is his versatility. He lined up mainly as a slot receiver and H-Back at Ole Miss. This is exactly how he would be used in the NFL, I believe. He is small for a traditional Tight End (6’3" 234 lbs) but he ran a 4.42 40-Yard Dash at the Combine. He doesn’t play that fast on film but he does show above average athleticism.

The cons here are that he doesn’t offer much as a blocker, but most Tight Ends don’t when they leave college. He has inconsistent hands at times, which I believe is from a lack of concentration. His 10" hands are plenty big and seem "soft" on tape. Engram also suffers from a bit of laziness in his route-running. He often "rounds" off his in/out cuts and can struggle to "sit" and present himself as a target against zone coverage. He isn’t as physical as you would like for a guy his size.

What Engram brings though is an intriguing skill-set that, if harnessed, could turn him into a really good football player. As noted above, he has some things he needs to work on but in the right offense, he should really thrive. I have seen his NFL comparison as Jordan Reed. That is not a bad comparison. I see him as more of a big WR that can block when he chooses to. If Evan Engram is fully committed to football, he will become a player that every defensive coordinator will dread facing. He is a matchup nightmare!

Round 3 - Pick #3 – 67th Overall: Carlos Henderson – Wide Receiver – Louisiana Tech

Carlos Henderson has flown a little under the radar because of where he went to college. But the NFL will find you if you are talented enough to play and Henderson is most certainly that. Henderson really came on this past year and has improved each season in college. The light, as they say, has come on for him this past year where he amassed 82 catches for 1,535 Yards and 19 TD’s (no, that is not a typo).

Henderson is fast but not a true burner, as evidenced by his 4.46 40-Yard Dash time at the Combine. What stands out to me is his explosiveness. He played on the outside in college, although he may end up moving to the slot at the NFL level due to his height (5’11"). Personally, I think he can play outside. His hands a route running abilities are excellent and despite his size, can still make contested catches.

Given the recent success of WR’s that are similar in size (Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr), I see no reason why Henderson couldn’t be a very productive NFL receiver. Other than his relative lack of size and speed, I really don’t see a lot of flaws in his game. Carlos Henderson should contribute as a Rookie and breakout in his 2nd year as a legitimate NFL Wide Receiver.

Round 3 - Pick #34 – 98th Overall: Tim Williams – EDGE – Alabama

I really don’t like comparing prospects to established players, as you know, however it is one of the best ways to describe a player without being able to show you the tape. What if I told you that there was a player in the Draft that was a cross between Pernell McPhee and Leonard Floyd. Would you draft that player? I know that I would!

Tim Williams is a little larger than Floyd (6’3" 244) and not quite as fast or "quick-twitchy" but he has a tremendous amount of power. He also knows how to use his hands extremely well. His long arms, which in combination with his hand-fighting skills, allow him to keep OT’s from getting into his body and blocking him.

Tim Williams is a guy who really stuck out when I was watching film of Jonathan Allen. Honestly, Williams was the player that stood out to me time and again, not Allen. Williams is outstanding against the run and as a pass rusher. This is a player that could slide into the Strong Side OLB role as a Rookie to replace Pernell McPhee or to split time with him.

Round 4 - Pick #4 – 111th Overall: Ethan Pucic – OL – LSU

Ethan Pucic is another player that was very difficult to watch on film. Basically, he is the opposite of Cody Whitehair. Whitehair had played Left Tackle in college but given his size, projected to be a Guard or Center in the NFL. Pucic is the opposite, at 6’6" 310 lbs, he is too tall for Center in the NFL. He is very athletic though and is a solid pass blocker.

Pucic seems to work better in space and has experience as a Tackle. I am taking the long-term view with this selection. He needs to work on technique and gain strength to be successful. The best teams in the NFL seem to always have young Offensive Lineman that they are grooming for a starting job later in their career. In my view, Ethan Pucic can be just that type of player. At worst, he becomes a back-up Offensive Lineman who can play anywhere. Given the proper coaching though, he can be a very effective Left or Right Tackle in the NFL.

Round 4 - Pick #10 – 117th Overall: Anthony Walker Jr – ILB – Northwestern

As a Northwestern fan, Anthony Walker Jr was an exciting, albeit, maddening player to watch. You could see it as a Freshman that he had the talent to play at the NFL level. He followed that up with an outstanding Sophomore season (120 Tackles, 19 Tackles for a Loss, 4 Sacks, 1 Interception, 3 Forced Fumbles and 3 Fumble Recoveries). After dealing with nagging injuries and a disappointing Junior year, he declared for the NFL. What is maddening about Walker though is that he oozes talent for a stretch of time and then misses a few tackles or disappears for another stretch.

Walker Jr has a tremendous skill-set though. He is fast, strong and athletic. In Northwestern’s Defense, he is often asked to cover the middle zone and shows some coverage ability there. He generally diagnoses plays quickly but can get caught guessing at times, which leads to long runs. I am drafting him here because I think he can excel as a "Jack" Linebacker (Danny Trevathan’s Position). Given some time to learn the position/scheme, he can be the answer to the "Jack" beside Kwiatkowski, whom I view as Freeman’s eventual replacement.

Round 5 - Pick #3 – 147th Overall: TJ Logan – Running Back – North Carolina

At first glance, a RB does not appear to be a huge need for the Bears. But dive into the depth chart a little deeper and you see that there really are no dynamic players on the roster. The recently signed Benny Cunningham could be that type of player, but has yet to really show his potential in the NFL.

Despite being a small RB (5’9" 196 lbs), Logan is compactly built and tends to do things well that smaller backs usually struggle with. He is an adequate blocker and seems to actually excel in short-yardage situations. He has superb hands for a RB but it is his burst that takes your breath away. His 4.37 40-Yard Dash not only shows up on film, but he often plays faster than that!

TJ Logan is the lightning quick change-of-pace back that this team really needs, with a bruiser like Jordan Howard. Logan can catch, block and run between the tackles, making him an ideal threat on 3rd down. He’s fast, make no mistake about it, but his burst into his 2nd gear is what makes him such a dynamic threat. If used correctly, TJ Logan can be a similar player to Darren Sproles at the next level.

Round 7 - Pick #3 – 221st Overall: Ifeadi Odenigbo – EDGE – Northwestern

Ifeadi Odenigbo is another former Wildcat that fits into the maddening category. He was raw coming into college and was thought to be a guy who could turn into great a pass rusher. Well he did, but it took him a while. He came onto the scene as a true Freshman and notched 5 sacks. The future looked bright but he only managed 8 sacks in the next 2 seasons before breaking out as a Senior. He racked up 10 Sacks and 12 TFL’s this past year as one of the Big Ten’s most productive pass rushers.

Odenigbo’s kryptonite though was the running game. If he is going to carve out a niche in the NFL, he is going to have to do it by attacking opposing QB’s. I believe he is too small to be a DE in a 4-3 scheme but just right to stand up and play OLB in a 3-4. This is where the projection part comes in. Based on watching him for 4 years, you could see that he was simply out of position at Northwestern, who runs a 4-3 defense.

Ifeadi Odenigbo is probably never going to be a starter for an NFL team, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help. He struggles at the point of attack but he doesn’t lack strength either, it is more of a positioning problem in my mind. Given more time to attack an Offensive Tackle or Tight End, I believe he could be a solid rotational EDGE player who occasionally flashes as a pass rusher.

*BONUS* Round 7 - Pick #3 – 221st Overall: Austin Carr – Wide Receiver – Northwestern

I have tried to get Austin Carr in my previous 2 mocks but he is not listed on Matt Miller’s Big Board, so I can’t draft him using my current preferences in Fanspeak. As a Northwestern Football fan, I wanted to get the word out on 2 of my favorite late round prospects in this draft. With the 7th Round pick, I am choosing to just breakdown both since this is likely where they get drafted or are UDFAs.

Austin Carr is the typical quicker-than-fast slot receiver with great hands. The Patriots have won several Super Bowls with this type of player and my guess is that Carr is on their radar. There isn’t much to say about him other than he is always open and he rarely drops a ball. I couldn’t find the statistic but a crazy amount of his catches went for first downs. He is a chain-mover. He isn’t quite in the same league as Julien Edelman as far as pure athleticism, but he should have a long, solid career in the NFL. As a former walk-on, you can’t help but root for this kid.

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.