Even though the usual buzz around the NFL Draft is missing for some Chicago Bears’ fans, that doesn’t change the importance from the team’s standpoint. Ryan Pace and his scouting staff will be working as hard as ever to make sure they maximize their five selections this year.
The Bears don’t have many pressing needs that they HAVE to hit on in the draft, so we could see Pace stick to a best player available strategy and just get good solid football players to bolster the depth on his roster. Or we could see him go the other way for a change, and roll the dice on high upside types. Either way, the draft is sure to be interesting. We’ll also likely see Pace trade around the board, which could add to the excitement, and don’t be surprised to see him use some future picks to do so.
For my first Bears’ mock draft this offseason I used a new simulator to the game and I thought it provided a good peek at the process. The Draft Network rolled out their sim this offseaosn and it’s been receiving a lot of play on social media.
A quick reminder about mock drafts; they are all wrong. All of them. Even this one. Simulating or guessing exactly how a board will fall is an impossible task. I may hit on a few picks, but for the most part these are exercises to learn about some prospects the Bears could be interested in.
For this specific mock I picked with the assumption that the Bears are likely to trade running back Jordan Howard. Since I can’t make that deal on The Draft Network’s sim to pick up an extra selection, you’ll just have to use your imagination to determine what could be the return for Howard.
I also stuck fairly close to the board that I used as the players fell. I dropped down a few times when the top positions available came at a spot the Bears should have no need for.
To see my full draft board you can click here, and to see how I picked keep on reading.
Round 3 - Pick 87: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
The Bears will be looking for some more versatility at the running back position, and Sanders could provide that. After being kept behind Saquon Barkley early in his college career, Sanders was finally given the keys to the car in 2018 and he ran for 1,274 yards with a 5.8 average. He also caught 24 passes last year, but more importantly he looked like a natural receiver out of the backfield. Penn State even lined him up out wide on occasion. At 5’ 11” and 211 pounds, he’s not simply an undersized third down specialist, plus the low mileage could be beneficial to his long term career.
Round 4 - Pick 126: Marquise Blair, S, Utah
Whether or not Adrian Amos is resigned, safety depth is always a need. Blair looks more like a free safety (6’1”, 195), but he plays with an aggressive (sometimes too aggressive) streak. “Blair plays the game with an aggressive field demeanor that fuels his passion to race into the action, ready to strike on sight’” writes NFL.com’s Lance Zierleine. “However, his lack of discipline hurt his team with targeting penalties and by over-running responsibilities against the run and pass.”
Round 5 - Pick 162: Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington
It wasn’t my intention to double down at the position, but Gaskin (5’8”, 205) was high on the board when I was picking and he fit the “prototype” for what the Bears could use. If my third round pick of Sanders is replacing Howard, then Gaskin would replace Taquan Mizzell.
I have a feeling that head coach Matt Nagy would prefer a running back by committee, so getting two fresh faces to pair with Tarik Cohen makes sense.
Round 7 - Pick 222: Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
You can never have enough pass rushers and Brailford had 10 sacks in 2018. From an athletic standpoint, he was top ten at the combine among edge defenders in the forty, the broad jump, bench press and vertical jump. Those explosive traits will need honing at the next level, but he has some workable tools.
Round 7 - Pick 238: Mark Fields, CB, Clemson
Fields had the second fastest forty (4.37) and the second most reps on the bench (18) among corners at the NFL Combine. With his quickness and size (5’10”) his NFL home will likely be as a nickleback. He may need some time to work on his technique after only playing in 12 games the last two years, but as the saying goes, you can’t teach speed.
I'm told many NFL scouts believe Clemson's Mark Fields is the best cover corner in the southeast. He's played well during 1v1's, got beat deep twice but recovered both times to break up the pass pic.twitter.com/nGDUczxB3y— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) January 22, 2019
Check out how my mock board fell at The Draft Network and let me know who you would have taken.