NFL free agency is technically still going on, but with the remainder of the offseason set to consist of minor depth signings, the focus now sits on the NFL draft.
After adding the likes of Nick Foles, Robert Quinn and Jimmy Graham early on in the free agency period, the Bears have made it clear that they’re looking to win now and make the necessary moves to do so.
While Chicago has made moves at most of their biggest needs, the moves they made were not necessarily long-term ones, with Quinn potentially being the only player likely to stay on the team for longer than the next two seasons. Their plans for the draft are still fairly wide open.
Assuming the Bears don’t make any more “splash” signings and stick to depth additions from now until late April, there’s a general understanding of which positions are needs currently, which positions will be needs in the future, and which positions aren’t necessarily needs. However they choose to attack those holes remains to be seen.
Before we begin this mock draft, I’m going to establish two trades in which the Bears trade back with both of their second-round picks to acquire some picks early on Day 3.
TRADE 1: Bears receive: 2020 second-round pick (No. 49), 2020 fourth-round pick (No. 124), 2021 fifth-round pick; Steelers receive: 2020 second-round pick (No. 43)
TRADE 2: Bears receive: 2020 second-round pick (No. 56), 2020 fourth-round pick (No. 141); Dolphins receive: 2020 second-round pick (No. 50)
I could potentially see the Steelers jumping teams like the Colts and Buccaneers to draft a quarterback, and the Bears pick before both of those teams. In this situation, I assume that Miami could potentially trade up for a wide receiver who fell out of the first round like Tee Higgins or Laviska Shenault. Regardless of the actual execution of the deals, I fully expect Chicago to trade down with at least one of their second-round picks, if not both.
Round 2 (via Pittsburgh): Lloyd Cushenberry, iOL, LSU
Although the signing of Germain Ifedi brought in a young offensive lineman who can step in at guard if need be, the Bears should still look to bring in an interior blocker early if the value is right.
Lloyd Cushenberry would bring plenty of raw power to Chicago’s interior. He packs a powerful punch at the point of attack, and he generates good force in his lower body as a run blocker once he engages with a defender. A thickly-built blocker at 6-foot-3 and 312 pounds, Cushenberry has the frame to take on some of the NFL’s bigger defenders. He’s also a polished blocker who plays with very good pad level and a great sense of placement behind his strikes, making his punches even more effective. While not a stellar athlete, it’s his technique and tenacity that makes him a top interior offensive line prospect.
The offensive line is a major need on the Bears’ roster right now, and Cushenberry would present a technically-sound and powerful blocker who could give their offensive line the nastiness it lacked in 2019.
Round 2 (via Miami): Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Cornerback is the other glaring need on the Bears’ roster at the moment. Though they have youth at the position to battle on the boundary along Kyle Fuller, the group doesn’t have much upside. Kevin Toliver is just decent, Tre Roberson is unproven at the NFL level, and Artie Burns will likely provide more value on special teams than he will on defense. To create a true lockdown duo at corner, Chicago could consider drafting one of the numerous talented prospects who will likely be available in Round 2.
Cameron Dantzler brings a 6-foot-2, 188-pound frame that carries top-notch length for the boundary corner position, as well as impressive physicality for a lankier defender. He jams his opponents well in press-man coverage and does a good job of maintaining physicality through the stem of a receiver’s route. Dantzler fights hard to box out defenders in jump balls or tight-window situations, and he brings plenty of instincts, ball skills and swagger to the table. His athleticism is just okay, but for everything he brings to the table, he manages to compensate for that.
Dantzler would be another prospect who could ideally start from Day 1 and make an immediate impact on Chicago’s defense. His skill-set complements Fuller well, and he has the potential to develop into a lockdown press corner.
Round 4 (via Pittsburgh): Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
The Bears have plenty of talent at receiver, but they lack a true speedster at the position. With how deep this year’s receiver class is, they would be wise to take advantage and add some athleticism to their roster.
Even after breaking out onto the scene in 2019, Devin Duvernay finds himself as one of the more underrated wide receiver prospects in this year’s draft. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Texas star has a compact frame and offers plenty of value after the catch, with his open-field vision, agility and contact balance. He accelerates very well off the snap and has the speed to take the top off the defense as a deep threat. Duvernay is also a fluid receiver who flips his hips well and can adjust to the ball with ease. While not stellar in physical situations like tight man coverage or 50-50 balls, his athletic ability gives him upside at the next level.
It’s a very real possibility the Bears could add a receiver in the second round, but there will also be plenty of talented weapons on the third day of the draft. Duvernay would give them speed and ability after the catch that would fit the team’s offense perfectly.
Round 4 (via Miami): K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
Even if the Bears like Deon Bush enough to start in the secondary, they could stand to add some depth who can put him for that starting strong safety spot.
Wallace is a hard-hitting safety who brings plenty of value when playing downhill. He has great closing speed as a tackler and can deliver crushing pops to ball-carriers. He brings intelligence in terms of his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes, and his instincts and intriguing ball skills allow him to make plays on the ball with consistency. Wallace is also a versatile defender who can play as a strong safety, a free safety, or as a slot cornerback. He may be a smaller safety at 5-foot-11 who can struggle in man coverage and with tackling consistencies, but for a mid-round defensive back, there’s a lot to like in his game.
A physical and tenacious safety prospect with better athleticism than many give him credit for, Wallace would be able to push for the Bears’ starting strong safety role and make an impact on special teams.
Round 5: Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota
Robert Quinn gives the Bears the dominant force off the edge they have never had alongside Khalil Mack, but they don’t have much depth or versatility at the position.
Though he’s only 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Carter Coughlin’s athleticism off the edge gives him value at the next level. He has great lateral agility and range as an open-field tackler, and he changes direction very well. His acceleration off the snap is impressive, and he has the speed and the high motor to make plays as a backside defender. That motor translates as a pass-rusher, where he also has a good sense of situational awareness. His play strength and hand usage could be improved, but Coughlin’s athletic gifts make him worth a loo, especially at this stage of the draft.
With Leonard Floyd gone, the Bears don’t have a versatile edge defender who can be moved around and placed into space. Coughlin could fit that role well, while also offering upside as a rotational pass-rusher.
Round 6: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
The Bears re-signed Tyler Bray, but that shouldn’t stop them from trying to find a long-term backup in this year’s draft.
I covered James Morgan in an article about late-round quarterback targets. While I think he’s still developing as a processor and a quarterback who can read the field, there’s some upside in his game:
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Morgan is a strong-armed prospect with some potential to develop into a high-end backup. His passes have some impressive velocity behind them, which allows him to fit passes into tight windows. Not only can he deliver rockets from a clean pocket, but he’s able to make quality throws in off-platform situations as well. He has shown some flashes of pro-ready anticipation and timing behind his throws, and he’s able to hit his targets in stride more often than not.
Morgan has been tied to the Bears for quite some time now, and his skill-set makes him an ideal developmental quarterback at the next level. Chicago hasn’t drafted a Day 3 quarterback since Pace took over as general manager, but that could change this year.
Round 6 (via Philadelphia): Cale Garrett, LB, Missouri
Danny Trevathan is back in the fold, but with Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis having left in free agency, the Bears are suddenly thin at the inside linebacker position.
A three-year starter who played a strong leadership role on Missouri’s defense, Cale Garrett is as tough as they come. He isn’t afraid to lower the boom on a ball-carrier, engage with blockers at the line of scrimmage or take on an incoming opponent head-on. He has a great feel for the game and has the instincts to predict where the play is going, positioning himself to make a play and pouncing when the time is right. Garrett’s instincts and solid ball skills also give him some value in zone coverage. He isn’t the athletic, sideline-to-sideline defender who tends to get drafted early these days, but he has the skill-set to play at the next level.
An underrated producer in the SEC who plays with a similar skill-set to Kwiatkoski, Garrett offers special-teams upside and the potential to plug in as a serviceable backup at linebacker. He would give the Bears some solid depth at the position.
Round 7 (via Las Vegas): James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
The seventh round is basically an avenue for teams to secure players they like but otherwise wouldn’t be able to acquire as an undrafted free agent. It wouldn’t hurt the Bears to draft a late-round running back to push Ryan Nall for a roster spot.
James Robinson had 4,4140 rushing yards and 42 rushing touchdowns in his three years as a starter at Illinois State. A local product out of Rockford, Robinson is an intelligent runner who runs with good patience out of the backfield, but also the calculated approach to hit the hole when the time is right. For a 5-foot-9, 219-pound back, he has solid open-field agility and direction-changing skills once he gets past the second level. His footwork when he cuts is fun to watch, and he offers plenty of effort and power as a pass blocker out of the backfield. He’s far from a burner when he breaks away, and his decisiveness up the A gap should be worked on a bit, but he can serve as a quality No. 3 back for an NFL team.
While Robinson likely won’t be more than a depth piece in the pros, that should be fine with the Bears, who could use some competition in the back-end of the depth chart at running back. His production, vision and blocking ability should give him a role in the NFL.
Round 7: Charlie Taumoepeau, TE, Portland State
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Bears drafted a tight end earlier than this, but if Ryan Pace heads into the draft with a “win-now” approach to save his job, then using an early draft pick on a player who would serve as a third-stringer in his rookie year would be counterintuitive.
Charlie Taumoepeau is a smaller tight end at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, but he makes up for it with effort and willingness in physical situations. As a pass-catcher, he has strong hands and is able to maintain control of the ball in tight coverage. As a blocker, he plays with a high motor and some nastiness when he engages with a defender. Taumoepeau is a solid athlete who has pretty good fluidity when used as a threat across the middle of the field. While his length, explosion off the ball and production at the FCS level aren’t ideal, he has some traits to work with as a developmental backup tight end.
The Bears already have plenty of tight ends on their roster, but that shouldn’t prevent them from taking one at some point in the draft. Taumoepeau is a well-rounded small-school prospect who can be molded into a decent No. 2 or 3 tight end down the line.