With the 2017 NFL season officially over you can expect our offseason coverage of the Chicago Bears to just keep rolling along. Free agency starts soon, and the NFL Draft shortly thereafter. In fact, the full offseason calendar of events can be found right here. Bookmark that, because you know in a few weeks you’re going to start to wonder when the Bears have to decide on Kyle Fuller’s contract status.
While free agency starts before the draft, it’s the draft that brings more hope to teams. Free agency is great at plugging holes, but the odds on getting a bonafide All Pro type of player are slim. How often do teams allow elite players to walk away? The draft is all about the upside. Tom Brady wasn’t the only All Pro sixth round pick. Former Denver great Terrell Davis and Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown were sixth round gems.
These prospects all have a shot at greatness, because the NFL draft is all about the future.
From time to time we’ll take a quick peek around the interwebs to see who the NFL Draft experts have the Bears drafting.
Up first SB Nation’s Dan Kadar who has the Bears going in a popular direction.
8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Remember in last year’s draft how three wide receivers were picked in the top 10 and no one expected it? Ridley could go unexpectedly high this year because there’s such a disparity between him and the second-best wideout this year.
I have a feeling that once free agency starts the Bears will attack the wide receiver position and pass on taking one in the first round.
ESPN’s Todd McShay still has the Bears going with the Alabama wide receiver.
The Bears desperately need playmakers on the outside for second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky and can’t count on Kevin White to stay healthy. Ridley is the clear No. 1 wideout in this class, and while I don’t think he’s a true No. 1 NFL wide receiver, he’s much better than his stats in a run-heavy Alabama offense indicate. Denzel Ward would be another consideration here.
If Ridley isn’t a “true No. 1 NFL wide receiver,” then the Bears have no business drafting him at eight overall.
CBS Sports has a couple of mocks drafts up, with Chris Trapasso also having the Bears taking Ridley.
The stars seem to be aligning -- yes, in February -- for this seemingly ideal match to come to fruition on draft night. The Bears must be aggressive in building around Mitchell Trubisky, so they nab the first non-quarterback on the offensive side of the ball.
But R.J. White has the Bears going in a defensive direction.
Arden Key, DE, LSU: The Bears can save more than $11.5 million on their cap by parting ways with both Pernell McPhee and Willie Young, and going that route while using this pick on an elite talent like Key makes sense if they’re confident his off-field red flags won’t be an issue. The premier pass-rusher dealt with injuries himself in 2017, but he’s impressed against top SEC talent and should be a constant sack threat in the NFL if he can stay on the field.
The USA Today has the Bears making an interesting selection.
8. Bears — Connor Williams, OT, Texas: Chicago’s priority has to be putting better pieces around QB Mitchell Trubisky. It’s especially tempting to slot a wideout here, but there doesn’t seem to be one who’s emerged as a justifiable top-10 selection. Williams seems like a good enough alternative given Trubisky was sacked 31 times in 12 starts. And despite the strong start to RB Jordan Howard’s career, the Bears’ run game has only been middle of the road the past two years.
The Sporting News (via Yahoo Sports) has the Bears addressing their lack of pass rushers.
8 Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech
Chicago has found success through free agency on its defense, but it’s time to find high-end, young defensive talent through the draft. Edmunds is a special talent and one of the few off-ball linebackers who deserve to be drafted in the top half of Round 1.
NFL.com’s latest is a three rounder!
8. Denzel Ward - CB, Ohio State
The Bears’ secondary needs an upgrade. Ward’s toughness and agility in coverage will help him overcome his average size.
39. Bears: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
But the Bears don’t have a third round pick at this time...
I do like getting Miller in the second round.
What are your thoughts on these mocks?
How much do you think they’ll change after free agency?
Sound off in the comment section!