The 2018 NFL Draft is just 20 days away, and mock draft season is in full swing.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com recently released a five-round mock draft, in which he predicted five trades in the first round. He has the Buffalo Bills moving up three spots to select Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Carolina Panthers trading up to secure Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley, and both the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading up into the back end of the first round to select Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams and LSU running back Derrius Guice, respectively. The biggest projected trade, though, involves the Chicago Bears.
Reuter’s mock has the Bears trading down to the No. 27 selection with the New Orleans Saints, who select Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 8 pick. He implies that such a trade would involve Chicago receiving a 2018 third-round pick and a 2019 first-round pick, in addition to the No. 27 pick. With this new draft positioning, the Bears end up selecting offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey out of Notre Dame.
Reuter has this to say about the pick:
The Bears take advantage of New Orleans’ aggressive move for a young quarterback. Quenton Nelson’s off the board when it’s their time to pick at No. 8, so they move down and allow O-line coach Harry Hiestand, who held the same position with Notre Dame last season, to work with a different former Fighting Irish OL.
McGlinchey would undoubtedly be a steal this late in the first round. I have a mid first-round grade on him, and have him ranked as the No. 2 offensive tackle in this year’s class, as well as the No. 3 overall offensive lineman.
The focal point of McGlinchey’s game is his athleticism. He’s a technically sound player with quick feet, balance and fluid movements. He has good technique, does a good job of countering hand moves, and displays good instincts in double-team blocking situations. A team captain for two seasons at Notre Dame, Plus, at 6’8” and 309 pounds, he has elite length for either tackle position. He will need to bulk up a little bit to be able to take on stronger defensive linemen in the NFL, but he has the athleticism to excel in Chicago’s zone-blocking scheme. He would be able to give Bobby Massie immediate competition at right tackle, and could possibly become an option at left tackle in the future if the Bears were to sour on Charles Leno Jr.
Reuter has the Bears doubling down on offensive linemen in the first two rounds, as they end up picking Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn in Round 2. Wynn, who played left tackle in college but will move inside due to a lack of length, would be another great value pick who fills a need, as I have him coming off the board late in the first round.
Wynn is a well-rounded lineman who does just about everything fairly well. He’s strong, he’s fundamentally sound, he’s smart, and he’s a solid athlete. He does a good job of countering hand moves, he has good anchor in his lower body, and he’s a reliable pull blocker, as well. He has short arms and he measured in under 6’3” at the NFL Combine, but he doesn’t really have any other glaring holes in his game. The Bears would be able to plug him in right away at the left guard position and watch him succeed.
Reuter’s projected trade has the Bears acquiring the Saints’ third-round pick. With said pick, he predicts that Chicago will look to add depth to their edge rusher group in the form of Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes.
Holmes isn’t as good of a value pick on my board as McGlinchey and Wynn were, as I have a late fourth-round grade on him at the moment. His production in college was rather lackluster, as he only had five sacks in four seasons at The Ohio State University. This was evident on tape, as he was good at pressuring the quarterback, but he wasn’t great at finishing off the play. However, I can see how one would predict more success at the next level for him.
Holmes is a larger edge rusher at 6’5” and 283 pounds. He’s a strong player with a good bull rush who also has good acceleration off the ball. He’s good at maintaining an even pad level, and he can plug up holes against the run. Odds are he’ll be more of a project pick, but he has the potential to develop into a solid starter in the pros.
Chicago has two fourth-round picks, and Reuter has them taking Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain and Rutgers edge rusher Kemoko Turay with those two picks, in that order. Both would be very good value picks to start off Day 3, especially the latter.
Cain started off the 2017 season with a lot of hype, and some even saw him as a potential first-round pick. That hype eventually died off, but he still has quite a bit of upside in his game. He’s a sizable receiver (6’2”, 202 pounds) who is a fantastic athlete. He’s a dangerous deep threat who has the physicality to break free from press coverage and catch 50/50 balls, as well as the pure straight-line speed to separate from defensive backs.
His route tree isn’t polished, and he occasionally has issues with drops, so he’s unlikely to make a big impact right away. However, adding a high-upside player like Cain to a Bears wide receiver group that already includes the likes of Allen Robinson, Cameron Meredith and Taylor Gabriel would solidify their group of offensive weapons for years to come.
I have a mid third-round grade on Turay, so he would be a fantastic get in the middle of Round 4 from a value standpoint, as well as from a need standpoint. The redshirt senior has fantastic size at 6’5” and 253 pounds. He’s an athletic player who’s explosive off the snap, good in space and has good bend off the edge. He’s energetic, has a high motor and displayed promise in regards to his rip move. Turay will have to work on expanding his hand techniques, as he can be taken out of a play if he doesn’t win the initial battle with the offensive lineman. He also doesn’t have great production - eight sacks in his final three years at Rutgers - and he suffered season-ending injuries in both 2015 and 2016. Despite these drawbacks, Turay is a highly-athletic prospect who would be a great stash on the Bears’ roster.
The last pick that Reuter made for the Bears was in the fifth round, when he slotted cornerback Darius Phillips out of Western Michigan to them. I admittedly haven’t watched Phillips in a few months, but there were some flashes of potential that I saw in his game. He’s an athletic cornerback with fluid hips, good footwork and the straight-line speed to match wide receivers on deep routes. A former wide receiver himself - he joined the Broncos at the position in 2014 - Phillips knows the ins and outs of the position, and he can track down passes like a receiver. In fact, he had 12 interceptions in the three seasons he played at cornerback. He also has value on special teams: he returned five kickoffs for touchdowns in college, in addition to taking one punt to the house.
Phillips isn’t a very good tackler, though, and he’s not very physical at the point of attack. One can tell that he’s still raw by looking at his tape, as he makes the occasional mental mistake, whether it be taking a bad angle to the ball or not focusing on his own man enough. However, he would be a very good addition to a Bears cornerback group that could use some depth and youth.