Daniel Jeremiah, draft analyst for the NFL Network and writer for NFL.com, recently met the media to field questions about the 2020 NFL Draft, and he hit on a number of topics.
He definitely touched of a few players and positions the Chicago Bears likely have interest in, but he was also specifically asked a question about the their interest in going after a quarterback in the draft. Here’s the question, “I’m curious if the Bears were intent on picking a quarterback, they’re drafting twice in the second round and then not again until the fifth, how would you go about them if you were them?”
And here’s how Jeremiah responded;
Wow. That’s a great question. Picking at 43 and 50, when you look at the quarterbacks that can kind of be in range there, I think you’re looking at Jacob Eason. I think you’re looking at Jalen Hurts. I think those would be the guys you’d be choosing from right there. I think Jake Fromm is probably not a great fit in Chicago. So those would be the two guys that you’d be trying to sort out and figure out there.
Hurts has been discussed by Bears’ fans quite a bit, and he’s Jeremiah's fifth rated QB on his board and 50th player overall. He goes on to say that when evaluating a quarterback like Hurts, he does take into account how the team has done during his time there and how he’s played in the big moments.
He also doesn’t think Hurts would be best used in a gimmicky way à la the Saints lining Taysom Hill up at other offensive positions. He feels that if a team truly develops Hurts as a QB, that “he’s got a chance to be really successful.” He calls him a “playmaker,” he say’s “he’s very bright,” and he says Hurts is “somebody that just finds a way.”
Jeremiah has Eason as his 64th ranked player, saying “he’s a polarizing player when you talk to people around the league.” He loves his arm strength and athleticism, and he thinks he’s at his best when on the move. If a team is willing to bring him along slowly and work on his pocket presence, Jeremiah believes the upside is there for him.
But back to the Bears and the QB spot; Jeremiah isn’t too keen on Chicago using a 2nd-rounder on any quarterback and part of the reason is the looming Nick Foles vs. Mitchell Trubisky face-off.
I look at where they are right now. I look at the coaching staff and their familiarity with Nick Foles, and I just think it makes more sense to have that competition, to see if Trubisky, what he can do under that type of pressure, and you know what you have in Nick Foles. I would not use one of those two picks on a quarterback. If you wanted to trade back at some point in time and look for a guy in the middle rounds like a guy like Jake Luton from Oregon State, I’d rather take somebody like that later on down in the draft and use those other two picks to try and help your football team right now. I just don’t like the options they’re going to have right there at that point.
Here’s some of what Jeremiah said on a few other prospects that have been linked to, or could makes sense for, the Bears.
On Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler;
With Hamler, start with his speed. I mean, that jumps off the screen when you watch him. The Michigan game was basically just a highlight show. I’m still upset with him for what he did to App State when he played against my alma mater a couple years ago in that game, but he’s somebody you can pitch him the ball on a fly sweep, you can get him the ball over the top of coverage. There’s a lot of different things you can do with him.
The down side, he’s not big. He’s under 5’9”, he’s under 180 pounds. That’s a challenge, and then just the drops. He’s another one that’s got some concentration drops. He’s got to find a way to clean that up a little bit. Lack of size, not being totally healthy and the drops I think push him down a little bit lower than where he should go. He’s my 57th player. Starting into the process he was much higher than that. I think somebody has got a chance to get a steal with this kid if he shows up healthy.
On safety Antoine Winfield Jr. from Minnesota;
I love the way Winfield plays. When you study him this year, I keep coming back to this one play that just stood out to me at the end of the Fresno State game where you see his instincts. He kind of baits the quarterback, wheels around and picks off the ball to finish it.
His ability to play in the slot gives him some versatility there, as well. He does have some missed tackles, but overall I think he’s a really, really solid player, and over the last few days I’ve made some calls on medicals, talking to teams around the league trying to get some medical information on players, and I brought up his name simply for the fact he’s missed the majority of two seasons and how teams felt about it, and everything I got was all clear, so they were very comfortable with where he was medically. I felt that might have been one hurdle he would have had to overcome, and it looks like he was able to get that done.
On taking LSU’s Saahdiq Charles in the early to mid 50s;
... the big tackle from LSU who is ultra talented, has some suspensions there due to some marijuana, but that’s a challenge now for the league, and you’re scouting with the way this has changed and the new CBA, I don’t know that you penalize him as much. He’s a very talented player who kind of factors into that portion of the draft. That would be an interesting player there at the tackle position.
And on his Tiger Teammate, interior offensive lineman Damien Lewis;
He’s my 91st player and my fifth interior offensive lineman. He’s a power player. In the run game he’s got a lot of upper torque. He can turn and dump defensive tackles. He did it to Arkansas, to Agim in that game. He just gets — in pass protection there’s times where you love what you see and he’s very firm and strong, and then there’s times where he lunges and can get in trouble, and the Auburn game was a tough one for him.
That’s a great group led by Derrick Brown inside, so that wasn’t his best game. But he’s a really good player. I think to me that kind of puts him in that third-, fourth-round range, but I think he’s somebody who’s got a chance to come in and start very early in his NFL career.
On offensive lineman Robert Hunt from Louisiana;
I think he’s a phenomenal player, played right tackle, is going to kick inside and play guard at the next level.
On taking Michigan linebacker Josh Uche in the early 50s;
I think Josh Uche is tremendous, and it’s a little different body type, but I think he’s going to get eight-to-ten sacks a year at the next level. I think he’s really good... but again, he’s a unique player because he’s an undersized kind of a 3-4 (OLB), he’s going to be a speed rusher coming off the edge who’s got a real knack and a lot of ability there, but he’s somebody that on run downs, he’s going to have a little bit of an issue there.
On Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool;
He’s my 13th receiver. He’s my 72nd overall player. I have him as a receiver. I know some teams have already listed him as a tight end and view him as such. There’s an athletic comparison there with him and Evan Engram, a very similar profile between those two players. Obviously Evan Engram has been a tight end for the Giants. I would give this kid a chance on the outside. He’s got some outstanding 50/50 ball wins where he can go up and high point the ball.
He’s a little bit tight. He does have some drops. They don’t ask him to run the full route tree, as we like to say, so he’s got to continue to learn and develop as a complete overall route runner, but his physicality and size is going to play in the red zone right away, and he’s a phenomenal special teams player. He’s one of the best gunners on punt in the entire draft. I have him in that range as my 72nd player, but I like him a lot.
On Alabama outside linebacker Terrell Lewis;
Well, he’s just raw, and he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and I think that the medical stuff with him is going to be — that’s going to be interesting because there are some teams that are concerned there with him on the medical. You know, he might go a little bit lower than his ability suggests he should. He’s my 101st player. You see the flashes. I mean, he’s got some freaky change-of-direction ability. There’s some Danielle Hunter to him when you watch him. I see some similarities there. The upside is great. But he disappears at times, and unfortunately he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and he’s just got to continue to grow and develop and become more polished as a player.
He’s kind of a classic boom-bust player. I got a chance to visit with him and I really liked the kid. He’s somebody that’s easy to root for when you visit with him. So I’m hoping for the best, but I do know there are some teams that are a little concerned about the medical.
On Michigan State EDGE Kenny Willekes;
He’s kind of more in that fifth, sixth-round range for me. Just doesn’t have big time get-off, doesn’t have big time burst coming off the edge but he can use that long arm. He beats up on tight ends.
On Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk lasting to the early 60s;
I love Brandon Aiyuk. He’s my fifth receiver and he is so sudden and so quick. I know the 40 times says 4.50, he plays a lot faster than that, and he’s got — one of the things that’s unique about him, he’s got rare length. He is really long. So you get somebody that can make plays in traffic with his toughness, he’s phenomenal after the catch. He can help you in the return game, as well. He’s really good in that department. So just getting the ball in his hands and let him go and let him make plays. But if you wanted a receiver there in the second round I think is what you said, 61, pick 61, I think he could go in the first —
On TCU wide out Jalen Reagor;
He was challenging to study because the quarterback play was not very good and then he had some drops this year, the production is not where you’d want it, but man, you can see him move and he’s explosive, he’s a fluid athlete. He’ll go up and make some big-time catches, contested catches, play above the rim. But then he just has a ton of drops. So he’s got to sort the drops. He’s gifted as a returner but then he’s got a bunch of muffed punts.
He’s kind of a glass half full, glass half empty when you talk to people around the league. There’s some people that really like him and some people that are down on him. I’m kind of somewhere in the middle. He’s my 56th player but he’s my 10th receiver and I know some teams that think he’s the fifth receiver. It wouldn’t be stunning to see him find his way either into the back of one or very early in round No. 2. So they have a good group there at TCU.
And on his teammate, offensive tackle Lucas Niang;
He’s a very talented tackle who people are a little bit concerned with medically, so you’ve got to answer the medical question there, but he’s a talented player.
What are your thoughts on some of these players he mentioned? Do you see any fits with the Bears?