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Bears to meet with defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denzel Ward

Chicago is exploring every option possible with the No. 8 overall pick. The next of which addresses long term secondary needs by meeting with Fitzpatrick and Ward.

SEC Championship - Alabama v Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The roundabout of prospect visits for the 2018 NFL Draft continues for the Bears as top safety in Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and stud Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward are visiting Halas Hall today, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

After already speaking with Georgia’s Roquan Smith earlier today, it appears Chicago is checking off every box with due diligence. Neither Fitzpatrick or Ward fill a pressing need in comparison to interior offensive line or the defensive edge, but both present potential long term upgrades to the current Bears they would replace in Adrian Amos and Prince Amukamara, respectively. Making a selection of either requires necessary foresight that the Bears seem to have a little more of lately.

The 21-year-old Fitzpatrick is coming off a season where he was arguably the best defensive player in college football. He captured the Chuck Bednarik Award for top defensive player and Jim Thorpe Award for top defensive back. In three years as a starter, Fitzpatrick was a stat sheet stuffer, accumulating 171 tackles, 24 passes defended, 16.5 tackles for loss, nine interceptions, five sacks, four touchdowns, and two forced fumbles. This was a player that also moonlighted all over the Alabama defense. The two-time All-American is a cornerstone of versatility as well as athleticism that the Bears could seamlessly plug into their defense.

Meanwhile, Ward is regarded as one of, if not the premier cornerback available in this year’s draft. At 5-foot-11 and around 190 pounds, his size could be a concern at the next level. When taking into account his elite coverage ability and fluidity, he’s another guy that the Bears and Vic Fangio could potentially love to play around him.

Should the Bears take the draft leap with either of these two, they’d present themselves in good hands towards taking care of their defensive back end. Time will only tell as to whether the impression Fitzpatrick and Ward make will have been enough.

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.