It seems crazy to believe in the midst of everything else going on in the world right now, but the 2020 NFL draft is just a few hours away.
This year’s draft is certainly a unique one given the remoteness of the process, from the team visits to the actual draft itself. Nonetheless, it’s sure to make for an exciting weekend.
The Bears find themselves in an interesting situation, as they have two picks in the second round, but no picks in the first, third or fourth rounds as it currently stands. With numerous positions that could be worth addressing with those two second-round selections, it will be interesting to see how they attack the draft this year.
Given that there is currently a gap of 113 picks between their later second-round pick and their fifth-round selection, one could expect the Bears to trade back with one, if not both, of those Round 2 picks. That’s exactly what I have them doing in my final mock draft of the year.
The specificities of the deals are not as important when projected trades in mock drafts, but rather the general concept of trading down in order to obtain a pick in the third or fourth round for Chicago. In this mock, I have them moving down once with one of their second-round picks, as well as another trade down later in the draft.
Without further ado, here is my final Bears seven-round mock draft for the 2020 NFL draft.
Round 2 (from Raiders): Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Chicago has so many different paths they could go down with the first of their second-round picks. Being relatively close to the first round, there’s a strong chance a first-round talent could be available for them at No. 43, and that’s the case with this selection.
The Jim Thorpe Award winner for the best collegiate defensive back in 2019, Grant Delpit is an intelligent coverage safety with plenty of physical tools to his profile. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound defensive back has great length for the safety position, and his frame is able to dish out hits effectively. He has very good range in dropping back into single-high or two-high shells, as he has good overall hip fluidity and is able to accelerate well coming out of his breaks, whether he’s charging downhill and guarding the underneath or bursting outward toward the sidelines. Delpit is a quick processor who is able to read a quarterback’s eyes consistently and time his jumps on routes to make a play. He is a talented blitzer off the edge for a safety—his seven sacks and 14 tackles for a loss in his last two collegiate seasons back that up—and he has the physicality and willingness to play down in the box.
Much concern has been made over Delpit’s angles and technique as a tackler, which has admittedly caused his draft stock to fall since the start of 2019. However, his profile fits the Bears’ need at safety very well: a talented defender in coverage who can excel up high alongside Eddie Jackson while having the versatility to play closer to the line of scrimmage if necessary.
Round 2 (from Titans, projected trade): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Bears trade back here from the No. 50 spot back to No. 61, acquiring Tennessee’s No. 93 pick in the process. As a sweetener, Chicago throws in their fifth-round pick: the No. 163 selection. Luckily for them, they’re still able to pick one of the top receivers in this year’s class.
Seen as a strong first-round candidate as the 2019 season ended, Laviska Shenault Jr.’s disappointing Combine and a core injury could see him fall in the draft. Don’t let the 4.58 40-yard dash fool you: Shenault can fly. With great burst off the snap, the deep speed to stretch the field as a vertical threat and the breakaway speed to outrun defenders once he hits space, the Colorado star’s speed makes him one of the best playmakers in this class. He’s also elusive and can see the field well after the catch, and his 6-foot-1, 227-pound frame gives him tremendous contact balance and strength as a ball-carrier, which resulted in the Buffaloes using him in the backfield at times. Add in his physicality at the catch point, and Shenault is a tough man to defend.
Though not an incredibly polished route runner yet, Shenault’s playmaking abilities and versatility make him a great fit for the ‘Z’ receiver role in the Bears’ offense. Placing him as a field receiver gets him out in space and allows him to make the big plays that made him a household name in the Pac-12.
Round 3 (from Eagles, projected trade): Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
With Trey Burton no longer on the team and Adam Shaheen possibly on the trade block, the Bears have very little depth at tight end, and the soon-to-be 34-year-old Jimmy Graham is not a long-term option. They manage to trade back deeper into the third round, moving from No. 93 to No. 103 while receiving Philadelphia’s No. 168 overall pick in the fifth round.
Another victim of declining draft stock over the past few months, Brycen Hopkins is a talented tight end who has gotten the short end of the stick in recent discussions. The son of former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Brad Hopkins, the Purdue tight end is an athletic pass-catcher who stands out as one of the best receiving tight ends in this year’s draft. He has great body control, allowing him to move fluidly across the middle of the field and adjust easily to difficult passes, making for impressive ball skills. He accelerates well off the snap and has good deep speed for his position. Hopkins runs precise routes for someone who’s 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds: he can sink his hips well into his cuts and changes direction seamlessly.
His technique as a run blocker and his consistency in his hands have dropped him down boards a bit, but Hopkins is a physical mismatch with his size and athleticism. While it’s possible the Bears could target a better blocking tight end to make for a better short-term fit alongside the aforementioned Graham, they shouldn’t rule out adding a great fit for their offense in the long run like Hopkins.
Round 5 (from Eagles via Patriots, projected trade): Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
The Bears have a hole at cornerback alongside Kyle Fuller, which could realistically see them draft a cornerback earlier than this spot. If they play their cards right, though, they could still find some starting competition on Day 3.
Dane Jackson is a scrappy and competitive cornerback who can fit well as a press cornerback at the next level. The 6-foot, 187-pounder is an aggressive player who covers with good hand usage and is able to counter hand-based releases well in man coverage. He can jam receivers at the line of scrimmage pretty well, and he has shown good closing speed and willingness as a tackler. Jackson deflected 35 passes in his three seasons as a starter at Pittsburgh, a statistic that was aided greatly by his willingness to attack the ball in tight coverage and get his hands inside of a throwing window to make a play. He also plays with good patience as he diagnoses route concepts, solid footwork and good overall fluidity.
Jackson falls this far because he’s just an okay athlete, and his lack of impressive deep speed can see him get burned when guarding vertical routes. He can also be a bit too handsy at the top of the route, which can lead to some penalty issues in the NFL if he doesn’t clean it up. The positive traits he brings, though, would make him a talented addition to the Bears’ starting cornerback battle without having to spend significant draft capital.
Round 6: Kyle Murphy, OG, Rhode Island
Waiting this long to draft an offensive lineman was tough, but the value for drafting an offensive lineman in the second round is likely going to be poor in this year’s class. Luckily for the Bears, there could be a deep sleeper available on Day 3 if they choose to wait that long.
It wouldn’t be a Ryan Pace draft without some small-school prospects, and Kyle Murphy is one of the best offensive linemen outside of the FBS in this class. A nimble athlete, Murphy moves around with good lateral quickness and plays with good footwork in pass protection. He has a flexible lower body that allows him to sink his hips and maintain leverage through his pads at the point of attack. He also plays with a nasty edge to his game, as he blocks with a high motor and packs a powerful punch upon contact. His hands are heavy, allowing him to throw defenders off balance with strong and well-placed strikes. Plus, as a three-year collegiate starter with starting experience at both tackle spots, left guard and center, he offers plenty of versatility that would make him a valuable depth asset for an NFL team.
A left tackle at Rhode Island, Murphy fits better at guard due to mediocre length at 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds. He has a tendency to lunge too often, and his timing behind his strikes could be worked on a bit, as can is consistency in his pad level and overall football IQ. His intriguing physical tools make him a potential steal this late, though.
Round 6 (from Eagles projected trade): Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
There’s no such thing as too much offensive line depth, so why not take a risk on a high-upside tackle late on Day 3?
A former collegiate basketball player with a 6-foot-8, 308-pound frame that has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and 11 1/4-inch hands, Alex Taylor is nothing short of a physical specimen from a measurable standpoint. His basketball background is apparent in how well he moves for his size, as he has great lateral quickness and has good body control when moving around in space. He does a good job of adjusting his sets to square up to the defender, and he has good straight-line speed when climbing to the second level, which is backed up by his 5.09 40-yard dash. Taylor blocks with a high motor and plenty of effort, and his father, uncle and cousin all played at either the collegiate or professional level, so he has football in his blood.
Taylor’s technique and inexperience likely drop him into Day 3. He only played 17 games of high school football, and he only played two seasons of football at South Carolina State, as he actually transferred from Appalachian State’s football team after the 2015 season so he could play basketball for two seasons, instead. His pad level and hand placement both needs plenty of work, and he has a very lanky frame that will require him to pack on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle to support his frame and improve his play strength. As a late-round flier, though, Taylor’s physical tools would make him a really fun developmental piece for Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo to work with.
Round 7 (from Raiders): Azur Kamara, EDGE, Kansas
The Bears are strong at edge rusher with Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn in the starting lineup, but the depth behind the two Pro Bowlers is poor.
One can expect the Bears to target a more athletic edge rusher who can move around in space, given that neither Mack nor Quinn have much experience dropping back into coverage. Azur Kamara, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound player with experience as both an edge rusher and an off-ball linebacker, can be just that. A great raw athlete who ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the Combine, Kamara accelerates well off the snap and has great straight-line speed. His burst and his high motor allow him to hit a second gear when closing in on a ball-carrier, and he has sideline-to-sideline range as a tackler, often making an impact on backside runs. He keeps his legs churning when engaged with a blocker, and he has shown the ability to work off of blocks and make plays against the run. His frame also offers a lot of intrigue, as he has an 82 1/2-inch wingspan and is in fantastic physical condition.
Kamara was only a one-year starter at Kansas, as he played JUCO ball before transferring and serving as a backup in 2018, so his production isn’t all that great. He also doesn’t have stellar play strength, which limits his ability to eat up gaps against the run and convert speed-to-power as a pass rusher. He’s a work in progress, but his athleticism, versatility and physical tools would make him a nice developmental piece off the edge for the Bears.
Round 7: Benny LeMay, RB, Charlotte
With David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis in the backfield to start last year, it was expected that the Bears would utilize a three-back committee in 2019. That didn’t work out, but they could still pull that off in 2020.
Benny LeMay is a stocky runner at 5-foot-8 and 221 pounds who had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and tallied over 20 touchdowns in his last two years at Charlotte. He is a hard-nosed and determined runner who plays with a high motor every time he touches the ball. He churns his legs to plow through contact, and he has the balance and low center of gravity to fight through weak tackling attempts. For a bigger back, he also has some solid wiggle and can cut to the outside when a run up the middle doesn’t develop. He also caught 40 passes in his last two collegiate seasons, and he has soft hands and can adjust to the ball well out of the backfield.
LeMay’s vision can stand to be more consistent, as he doesn’t hit the open hole as aggressively as one would expect on a down-by-down basis. He’s also far from a breakaway speedster on tape, and his 4.75 40-yard dash at the Combine supports what the film implies. He probably won’t be a full-time starter at the next level, but he could bring some value as a short-yardage power back with some pass-catching skills, giving the Bears a very well-rounded trio in the backfield.