The first two days of the 2021 NFL Draft have certain been eventful for the Bears.
Just one day after shocking the league by moving up for Justin Fields, the Bears traded up once more, this time acquiring Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins in Round 2. Moving up 13 spots cost them their third-round pick and one of their sixth-round selections, but it saw them end up with an early fifth-round pick and one of the best offensive linemen in the 2021 class.
Now that Day 3 of the draft is upon us, one can only wonder what Ryan Pace has up his sleeve. Will they try to move up into the fourth round? Will they stay put and try to make the most of their four remaining picks?
Time will tell what the Bears do on Saturday, but there are plenty of talented prospects still available heading into Day 3. Here are a few that could interest Chicago.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Amon-Ra St. Brown stands out as one of the most productive weapons still on the board, and given how many wide receivers went on Day 2, it’s bizarre he wasn’t one of them.
St. Brown caught 178 passes for 2,270 yards in 30 games — averaging over 75 yards per game — putting up strong numbers despite competing for touches with multiple NFL-caliber weapons. He offers a nice blend of size and speed, stretching the field well and offering solid length in his frame and catch radius. He has good vision and lateral quickness after the catch, and his ball-tracking skills also allow him to serve as a high-quality deep threat. St. Brown’s body control allows him to make grabs that some weapons physically can’t. While still developing as a technician, he has solid No. 3 receiver potential and could be a quality grab for the Bears on Day 3.
Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Seen as a solid Day 2 prospect for much of the last two seasons, it’s rather surprising Tylan Wallace has fallen into Day 3 of the draft.
Wallace is a sure-handed weapon with consistency in terms of coming down with grabs in tight windows. He has very good body control and does a great job of both timing his high-pointing of the 50-50 ball and contorting himself to square up to the pass. He has good deep speed and also complements that with willingness to get physical through his stems and against press coverage. With 205 receptions and 3,434 yards to his name at the collegiate level, he excelled at putting up big numbers for Oklahoma State. His ceiling is fairly capped, but as a high-end complementary receiver, Wallace could be enticing for the Bears.
Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
More fitting of the traditional slot receiver archetype, Jaelon Darden was one of the most productive wide outs in college football in 2020.
Darden broke out with 74 receptions, 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns in just nine games in 2020, and his game-breaking speed saw him torch the opposition consistently. He has the speed and lateral quickness to escape defenders after the catch, and his deep speed is incredible. He’s also polished as a route runner and showcases great footwork and explosion coming out of his breaks. Though smaller for a receiver, his dynamic upside would make him a fantastic addition to the Bears’ wide receiver room.
Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
The Bears may not prioritize the offensive line as much after selecting Jenkins in Round 2, but they could find stellar interior value in Trey Smith.
A powerful blocker with a mean streak, Smith packs a punch at the point of attack and does a good job of driving his legs to push back defenders upon contact. He is a people-mover in the run game who uses his 6-foot-5, 321-pound frame to his advantage. He tested very well athletically at his Pro Day and offers solid burst to the second level, and his experience at both guard and tackle are encouraging from a versatility perspective. Smith’s 2020 hasn’t gone according to plan, but the physical upside with him is enough to warrant the Bears giving him a look.
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Some will be scared by his subpar 2020 season on the outside, but when placed in the nickel for Ohio State, Shaun Wade looked the part of a potential first-round pick.
Despite a decrease in draft stock, Wade was actually a consensus All-American in 2020 and played a big role in the Buckeyes’ secondary all three years he played. Scrappy out of the slot who blends contact willingness with athleticism, he translates well to the NFL from a physical perspective. He has fluid hips and can change direction well in coverage. He has also flashed some upside in terms of route recognition, though he didn’t seem to be do as well in that regard when kicked outside. If the Bears want a nickel to compete for a starting role, Wade could be a strong option with a high ceiling.
Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
A cornerback who’s more suited for play on the outside than Wade, Marco Wilson had one of the best Pro Day outings for a cornerback in this class.
Putting up a 9.99 Relative Athletic Score, Wilson dominated his Pro Day with elite speed and explosiveness numbers. His athleticism sticks out on film, as he has very good hip fluidity and can accelerate upfield coming out of his breaks. He is a smart cover corner who can read the eyes of the quarterback and make a play on the ball. His combination of speed, intelligence and a high motor make him a tough player to account for both once the ball is in the air and in run support. Wilson faded in the background a bit in 2020, but his tools could make him a rotational piece worth considering for the Bears’ secondary.
Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana
The Bears don’t have as big of an immediate need at safety as they do at other listed positions, but if they want to find a potential starter at the position, they could find exactly that in Jamar Johnson.
Johnson broke onto the scene with 4 interceptions in 2020, including two against Fields in one of just three multi-interception games of the quarterback’s collegiate career. He is an intelligent ball-hawk in coverage who has very good recognition of route concepts and is easily able to read the eyes of quarterbacks and position himself accordingly. He times his jumps on routes well and has the ball skills needed to track down the ball, whether it be in an underneath coverage role or in single-high. He is a fluid athlete who changes direction well. A marijuana arrest in 2018 and a poor Pro Day appear to have knocked his stock a bit, but he’s a fantastic coverage safety who would fit alongside Eddie Jackson very well for the Bears.
Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
The value at the safety position is so good that the Bears may not have a choice but to consider taking one on Day 3, especially if a physical specimen like Hamsah Nasirildeen is still available.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Nasirildeen brings incredible length and a muscular frame to the safety position. He is a willing and capable tackler who wraps up well and hits hard, no matter whom he’s trying to tackle. He has very good straight-line speed, and with how big he is for his position, he carries a lot of momentum as a downhill tackler. Nasirildeen has flashed good instincts in two-high shells, reading the progressions of quarterbacks pretty well. He also offers plenty of upside as a blitzing option and on special teams. Though somewhat stiff and having an ACL tear to his name, his physical upside could make him an intriguing Day 3 option for the Bears.