What Defenders Won't The Bears Draft in R1 & Why?

It is exceptionally tough to predict who the Bears will draft in round 1, but I thought we'd put our heads together to figure out which defenders Chicago will likely avoid. Unlike in previous years where the Bears needed help almost everywhere making draft speculation pointless, this exercise might be a helpful in identifying Pace's likely targets.

I'm skeptical of any mock that doesn't have Chicago nabbing a LB in round 1, though I could sort-of also see them going corner. In Fangio's four years in SF the 9'ers drafted a linebacker in round 1 once (Aldon Smith), in the first 3 rounds three out of the four years, and added to the position in every single draft. Chicago has only added linebackers in one of the three years Fangio has been in Chicago. While Vic doesn't have the final call on personnel, I imagine he's been letting Pace know about the need to add to the position. It wouldn't surprise me if a few defensive draft promises were made to Fangio to get him to return to the Windy City under a new contract.

Denzel Ward - Denzel is frequently mocked to the Bears, but I don't think he fits the profile of what Fangio wants in a corner. Denzel is 5'10". Looking at the corners that Fangio has drafted in the first 4 rounds, we have Chris Culliver (6', taken in R3 by SF), Dontae Johnson (6'2", taken in R4 by SF), and Deiondre Hall (6'2", taken in R4 by Chi). This shows that Fangio defenses have not drafted corner early despite cb being a position of weakness during the 49er run of excellence. On top of that, it suggests that Fangio likes taller corners, a theory that is further bolstered by the fact that Prince and Kyle are both 6' tall, which is taller than your average NFL corner. I just don't see Fangio asking for a 5'10" corner for the first time.

Minkah Fitzpatrick - While Minkah probably won't make it to the Bears, I don't see why a team that is set at free safety would draft a guy in round 1 that is best in the slot and at free safety. Yes, Fitzpatrick can play outside, probably well, but there isn't as much tape of him excelling at that position. Then again, Fangio likes big corners and it is possible Pace thinks the 6'1" Fitzpatrick would make a great outside corner.

Roquan Smith - The Bears need pass rushers. Roquan had 6.5 sacks in 2017, but none in 2016 or 2015. If the Bears like Smith at ILB because he can rush the quarterback, I think they'd just go with 19 year old Tremaine Edmunds, who rushes the passer well enough from ILB that some believe he'd be best at edge. Yes, Fangio clearly also values ILBs, but his only first round linebacker in San Francisco was a highly regarded edge pass rusher.

Calvin Ridley - Some mocks still have Ridley going to Chicago. As someone that paid close attention to free agency, I don't think Ridley was highly regarded by Pace or Nagy.

So what do you guys think? Who will Chicago avoid?

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