Rise and shine, it’s an early start for the last day of the 2018 NFL Draft. General manager Ryan Pace has been busy filling holes for the Bears. Chicago has already added three projected starters in Roquan Smith at No. 8 overall, James Daniels at No. 39 overall, and Anthony Miller at No. 51 overall. All immediate impact and plug and play players.
But with one day left in the draft, there are holes on the Bears’ defensive edge, no answers at right tackle, and occasional areas to fill in depth. Better said: there is much work to be done yet.
The list of best available players projects to remedy where the Bears are ailing, and where they can attack the gaps in their roster. Pace has traditionally done well adding talent on the last day of the draft. Here are Chicago’s top remaining needs.
Going into the season with Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, and Sam Acho is a risky ideal. The Bears need to find a young edge player to play opposite Floyd or someone to inject into their defensive rotation. Good thing prospects such as the Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor are available. Ejiofor isn’t a terrific athlete by any means, but he understands hand usage, leverage, power, and is incredibly disciplined. Also keep an eye out for Florida State’s Josh Sweat: a terrific athlete and blur of a pass rusher that should tear the NFL apart.
While Daniels fills a major interior offensive line gap for the Bears and sets their future in the middle, they don’t have someone to build around at their right book end. Bobby Massie isn’t the answer at right tackle and if the Bears want to have a complete offensive line, they’d be well suited to find a developmental prospect at the position. Luckily guys like Oregon’s Tyrell Crosby are on the board for the taking. Crosby is a little raw and will take time to come into his own at the NFL level. That’s time the Bears have, for another season.
Cornerback and defensive line depth
The last two areas the Bears should fill are general depth on the boundary and for their defensive line. You can never have too many cornerbacks or defensive linemen to add into your rotation. A rotating cast of playmakers and men up front defensively make or break your defense. Some prospects at corner that the Bears could consider are Stanford’s Quenton Meeks or Texas’ Holton Hill. Both are long, physical, rangy, and have tremendous ball skills. On the defensive line, Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle and Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand are physical maulers that should be able to spell Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and company. At this juncture in the draft any contributors the Bears can find is gravy.
Bears’ remaining picks
- Fourth round - No. 115 overall
- Fifth round - No. 145 overall
- Sixth round - No. 181 overall
- Seventh round - No. 224 overall
You can catch all of the final day’s action on ESPN, ABC, or NFL Network starting at 11:00 a.m. Central. One last chance for Pace Bears’ magic.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.