The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft has come and gone, and what a night it was for the Bears.
Moving up nine spots to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 11 overall pick, the Bears made the splash that many hoped for, but few thought to be realistic. They secured a potential franchise quarterback, giving them the ever-elusive piece they needed most on their roster.
Though their most glaring need has been filled, the Bears are still not a football team without flaws. They enter Day 2 of the draft with some holes on the offensive side of the ball, as well as some long-term weaknesses that could be exposed on defense.
Luckily for them, there still figures to be plenty of talent available for them in Round 2. Here are some of the more intriguing prospects still on the board before Friday’s picks.
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
One of the more surprising snubs from the first round, Teven Jenkins finds himself as a likely option to be the first player off the board to start Day 2.
His nasty demeanor, polished use of his hands, power at the point of attack, and his intelligence as both a pass and run blocker project him as an immediate starter at right tackle and a steady presence along an offensive line for years to come. He also tested well at his Pro Day and plays with good footwork in pass protection.
It’s unlikely Jenkins falls all the way to the Bears at No. 52, and given their lack of Day 3 capital to ship out, it’s also not likely they trade up for him. However, if he manages to fall, he could be another incredible steal for Chicago in this draft.
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
While Jenkins beats defenders with power, Samuel Cosmi stands out due to his sheer athletic ability for his size.
Very few offensive tackles can move as quickly and as smoothly as he does, let alone at 6-foot-6 and 314 pounds. He changes direction efficiently in space, accelerates well to the second level and has the body control needed to play with temperance in pass protection. He has a lengthy frame and possesses long arms, too.
The Bears have an inside scoop on Cosmi, having his Texas head coach, Tom Herman, employed as an offensive analyst. Cosmi is another player who may not fall to them in Round 2, but there seems to be a slightly higher chance he does, and it’s a chance the Bears should take were he to be available.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Bears should target an offensive tackle to help protect their new franchise quarterback. Sense a pattern here?
A three-year starter at left tackle for Notre Dame, Liam Eichenberg shows off his experience through his hands and situational awareness. He consistency does a good job of locating and timing his strikes efficiently, and he’s pretty strong at the point of attack. He does a very good job of picking up twists and blitzes, and he plays with a polished sense of footwork and angles in both pass protection and in the ground game.
Though maybe not as athletically gifted as the two aforementioned tackles, Eichenberg is a polished and pro-ready blocker who projects well on the right side in the pros. Should he be on the board for the Bears, he would be a target worth considering.
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Very few receivers put together as good of a 2020 season as Elijah Moore.
Exploding onto the scene with 86 receptions, 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns in just eight games this past year, Moore torched SEC defenses en route to one of the biggest breakout seasons of any offensive players in the 2021 class. He showcased the straight-line speed needed to separate vertically and burn defenders deep, as well as the mobility to get open, accelerate coming out of his breaks and make would-be tacklers miss. He has strong hands and is able to consistently come down with the ball.
He may be a bit smaller at about 5-foot-9 1⁄2 and 178 pounds, but Moore brings electricity and reliability out of the slot. The Bears could very well consider him if he manages to fall farther into the second round.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Why not complete a Big Ten pairing by uniting two of the conference’s most dynamic players on the same team?
Rondale Moore is one of the most electric players in the 2021 class. He possesses insane athletic ability, including tremendous straight-line speed and superb lateral quickness in the open field. He can change direction on a dime, and his ball-carrier vision combines to help make him a threat on plays that are designed to get him in space like screens, jet sweeps and end-arounds. Moore’s 2018 season best showcased the dynamic route runner and promising technician he can be when healthy.
Injuries are a concern with Moore, who played in just seven games from 2019 to 2020. However, his athletic ability and upside out of the slot would make him a worthy risk for the Bears to take to add some firepower to their offense.
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Seen as a potential first-round sleeper, Asante Samuel Jr. finds himself likely to be an early selection once Day 2 kicks off.
With 4 interceptions and 29 career pass deflections to his name, it’s no surprise to turn on Samuel’s tape and see how hard he fights. Despite being a smaller defensive back, he plays with a scrappy edge and is willing and able to engage in contact near the line of scrimmage and through a receiver’s stems. He is fluid coming out of his breaks and can change direction well, in addition to accelerating upfield and covering the vertical route. He also plays with a high motor in run support.
While unknown exactly whether teams prefer him on the outside or in the slot, Samuel should project as a solid starter in the secondary either way. With the Bears’ long-term questions at cornerback, they could use a confident and tenacious talent like him going forward.
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
No safeties were drafted in the first round on Thursday, but whenever the first safety comes off the board, it’s likely to be Trevon Moehrig.
Very few safeties fit the mold of “ball-hawk” better than Moehrig. He has had 6 interceptions and 20 pass deflections over the last two seasons, and those numbers back up his quality of play on film. He is an incredibly rangy safety with great lateral quickness and the sideline-to-sideline speed needed to effective cover the hash onward towards the sidelines. He covers a massive amount of space in a short amount of time. Moehrig’s ball skills and ability to track down the ball also serve him well in tight windows, as does his lengthier frame.
Safety isn’t the biggest need in the world for the Bears, but a value like Moehrig could be too much for them to pass up if he’s there at No. 52. His sheer athleticism and range would make him a lot of fun to watch alongside Eddie Jackson.