We’re rapidly approaching the 2018 NFL draft which means we’re in the heart of mock draft season. We have done a few mock drafts already here at Da Bears Brothers, but I thought I bring something a little different to the table.
To mix things up I decided to see what would happen if the Bears traded down in the first round.
To make this as realistic as possible, I used the premium version of the Fanspeak On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. This allows trades and also the computer uses a different draft board for each team, which makes the draft a little more unpredictable.
To make this as authentic as possible, I wanted to make sure two things happened:
- Quenton Nelson was off the board. In real life, if Nelson is on the board, I am fairly confident he will be the pick for the Bears.
- There is a top quarterback still on the board. Trading isn’t as easy as some fans think, and there needs to be a player whom another team wants to target. If the Bears do trade down, it will most likely be with a quarterback-needy team.
So here’s how it played out:
- Round 1 No. 8 Overall
- Round 1 No. 12 Overall
- Round 2 No. 53 Overall
- Round 2 No. 56 Overall
- Round 5 No. 166 Overall
Sure enough, when the Bears came on the clock Nelson was gone to the Broncos and Baker Mayfield was still on the board. The Bills, who already traded up once in this draft, offered a king’s ransom I happily accepted. While the price may seem steep, the Bills have no choice but to trade up for a quarterback, and every team knows this.
With the 12th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select:..
Round 1 No. 12 Overall: Harold Landry, EDGE (Boston College)
Landry is the consensus No. 2 pass rusher in this class behind Bradley Chubb and a player I would personally draft at eighth overall. So when he was still available after trading back, it was a fairly easy decision.
While he was hurt in 2017, his 2016 season was remarkable. His 16.5-sacks and seven fumbles forced both ranked first in the entire nation while his 22 tackles-for-loss was fourth best. He wins with incredible speed and bend around the edge and proved that at the combine where he was a top performer in the 3-cone (2nd), 20-yard shuttle (1st) and 60-yard shuttle (1st).
At just over 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, there are concerns about Landry’s ability to hold up and set the edge against the run, but with 24 bench reps at the combine (8th) he showed he has the upper body strength necessary for the position. Whatever he provides against the run is just icing on the cake because getting after the quarterback is where he is going to make his money.
The Bears overall had a solid defense last season ranking 10th in yards per game and 9th in points per game. But the one area they struggled with the most was getting off the field on 3rd and 4th down ranking 20th and 23rd in the league respectively.
Landry immediately gives them a bona fide pass rushing threat opposite Leonard Floyd. With those two coming off the edge and Akiem Hicks rushing up the middle the Bears should greatly improve on third down.
There aren’t a lot of prospects who have the potential for double-digit sacks in their rookie year, but Landry is one of them. He could be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in a few years.
Others considered: SAF Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB Denzel Ward, OG Isaiah Wynn
Round 2 No. 39 Overall: Jaire Alexander, CB (Louisville)
After filling the Bears biggest need in round one, and knowing I had two additional second round picks after the trade, I was prepared to draft the best player available who dropped to the second round, even if there were bigger needs for the Bears.
Alexander has first-round talent, possibly even top-30, but he is undersized and is coming off of an injury-plagued season (sound familiar?). But when he is healthy, he has the athleticism and coverage skills to succeed in the NFL.
Like Landry, his 2016 season was more impressive than 2017. That year he accumulated 39 tackles, five interceptions and nine passes defended. His combine performance put to rest some concerns about his health running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds with a 6.71 three-cone drill which makes me feel comfortable taking him with a premium pick.
It would not shock me if Alexander outperforms newly re-signed corner Prince Amukamara. At the very least, he can step in right away and be the Bears nickel corner. While Bryce Callahan has been good, he struggles to stay on the field and Alexander’s upside is too good to pass up. He could potentially challenge to be the Bears top corner by 2019.
With Landry and Alexander in the fold, the Bears defense should have no issue getting off the field on third down.
Others Considered: DL Da’Ron Payne, G/C Billy Price, RB Sony Michel
Round 2 No. 53 Overall: Anthony Miller, WR (Memphis)
I was not expecting to draft a wide receiver this high. Then Ryan Pace decided not to match the offer sheet the New Orleans Saints offered to Cam Meredith, making wide receiver a position of need. But honestly, even if the Bears did match, Miller’s talent and skill set would have been tough to pass up at this point.
Miller was a super productive college player for Memphis amassing 191 receptions, 2,896 yards, and 33 total touchdowns over the last two years. And if he had a better quarterback throwing him the ball, he might have been even better.
I’ll admit this was a luxury pick with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and even Trey Burton being signed this off-season as pass catchers.
But Miller fits Nagy’s scheme to a tee.
He’s an incredible route runner and more physical than you would expect for a guy his size. He’s an ideal slot receiver who can work the underneath routes but also run past you when you’re least expecting it. While he will be at his best from the slot, he should be able to line up on the outside from time to time as well.
This pick would potentially give the Bears a top-10 receiving corps in the NFL, a far cry from where they were a year ago.
Others Considered: G Austin Corbett, EDGE Lorenzo Carter, OT Jamarco Jones
Round 2 No. 56 Overall: Austin Corbett, OL (Nevada)
Finally, I address the Bears second biggest need with my last pick in the second round. I expected to draft a guard higher, but the value never seemed to match up. Luckily, Corbett is a prospect who can step in right away and contribute.
Corbett played left tackle for Nevada, but his best position in the NFL will be on the inside at either guard or center with the skill to potentially be an emergency tackle. In this way, he is similar to Cody Whitehair when he was drafted.
Since Whitehair has played better at center than guard, Corbett should settle in nicely at left guard. But his versatility will also have the Bears covered in case of injury.
A former walk-on turned four-year starter at Nevada, Corbett has the size and athleticism to thrive in zone heavy offensive scheme. While he will have to add some weight, he displays impressive technique that should allow him to step in day one and be a solid player. With Corbett, Whitehair, and Kyle Long the Bears would have a solid interior offensive line for years.
Others Considered: LB Malik Jefferson, EDGE Lorenzo Carter, OT Jamarco Jones
- Round 3 No. 95 Overall
- Round 4 No. 105 Overall
- Round 5 No. 145 Overall
Round 3 No. 95 Overall: Duke Ejiofor, EDGE (Wake Forest)
When I drafted Landry in the first, I knew I wanted to pair him with a bigger edge player to supplement his athleticism. Ejiofor was one guy I had in mind.
There was a chance he would have been there in the fourth, but after a small run on pass rushers and with the extra fifth-round pick I acquired from the Bills, I felt comfortable trading up and getting my guy. Pace has shown he is willing to be aggressive in the draft to get the players he wants and I wanted to do the same.
Ejiofor might be my favorite player in this entire draft and a perfect compliment to Floyd and Landry as a strong side edge defender. He has the best hand technique outside of Chubb and might have the best pass rush arsenal in the entire class. He rushes with a plan beyond his years and uses his long arms to gain leverage against offensive tackles.
He has shown he can set the edge in the run game and is big enough at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds to be a force in this area.
In addition to being a terrific edge defender, he also has experience rushing from the interior on passing downs. A defensive package with Floyd and Landry rushing off the edge and Hicks and Ejiofor coming from the inside would give offensive coordinators nightmares.
If it weren’t for a shoulder injury that prevented him from performing at the combine, he would have been a second-round pick. But this raised questions about his athleticism which drops him to the late third.
Others Considered: None. I traded up for a reason.
Round 4 No. 115 Overall: Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB (Alabama)
The Bears fill their next biggest need here with a linebacker from Alabama. Hamilton would compete with Nick Kwiatkowski for the starting inside linebacker job opposite Danny Trevathan.
The thing that stands out with Hamilton is his tremendous football instincts and athleticism which is evident whenever he was on the field. A captain for the Crimson Tide, Hamilton was a beneficiary of the best coaching in college football which should allow him to compete as soon as he gets in the building. Unfortunately, he has had two serious knee injuries (to the same knee) in the past few seasons that lower his floor as a prospect.
At the very least, he can be a good special teamer for the Bears this season with the hopes of growing into a larger role as he gets back up to speed.
Pace had some luck last season when he drafted an injury-prone defensive player from Alabama so he might go that route again.
Others Considered: DL Nathan Shepherd, LB Josey Jewell, DL R.J. Mcintosh
Round 5 No. 166 Overall: Folorunso Fatukasi, DL (UCONN)
At this point in the draft, I am looking for players who do one thing well or will be special teams contributors.
Fatukasi fits the former.
While he won’t provide much in terms of a pass rush, he is stout against the run with the ability to be a two-gap player. He might not start right away, but by the end of the year, he could blossom into a starter on early downs in the Bears base defense with Roy Robertson-Harris and Jonathan Bullard rotating in on passing downs. He could also serve as the backup to Eddie Goldman at nose tackle.
This isn’t a flashy pick but Fatukasi should have a long career as a rotational defensive lineman who can play most techniques along the line.
Others Considered: LB Jack Cichy, QB Mike White, LB Oren Burks
Round 6 No. 181 Overall: Brandon Parker, OT (North Carolina A&T)
Last year, Pace drafted a developmental guard from a small school with a day three pick in Jordan Morgan. He does the same here at tackle with Brandon Parker from North Carolina A&T – the same school Tarik Cohen was drafted from.
Parker is a massive human being at nearly 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds with 35-inch arms. He dominated a lower level of competition simply by being bigger, stronger, and more athletic than opposing defenders. He will need time to develop his hand fighting and footwork but has the upside you look for in developmental prospects.
The Bears could choose to keep Parker on the practice squad all year or do what they did with Morgan last year: place him on injured reserve with a mysterious injury in training camp.
Others Considered: QB Luke Falk, OG Colby Gossett, CB Holton Hill
Round 7 No. 224 Overall: Logan Woodside, QB (Toledo)
Yes, a quarterback. While the Bears are obviously set for the future with Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel is 31 and only signed to a two-year contract. They will need a backup soon and Woodside could be developed by Matt Nagy to fill that role.
In Toledo’s up-tempo, no huddle offense, Woodside dominated the MAC in his final two seasons completing 67 percent of his passes for 8,011 yards, 73 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions. While the offense was gimmicky, the Bears hired Mark Helfrich to be their offensive coordinator who ran a similar style of offense as Oregon’s coach.
Woodside lacks the arm strength necessary to be a starter but he is smart and athletic which should allow him to carve out a role as a backup who won’t kill you in spot starts. He could spend the entire year on the practice squad while challenging Daniel for the backup role in 2019.
Others Considered: WR Antonio Callaway, RB Akrum Wadley, LB Frank Ginda
There it is! A seven round mock draft with trades. I am sure people will have differing opinions so make sure to share them in the comments below. I’ll be tweeting my thoughts on prospects all the way through the draft (with a few Cubs tweets sprinkled in. Sorry Sox fans :-)) so make sure to follow me on twitter @stephenletizia.
If you want to do your own Bears mock draft, try out the fanspeak.com draft simulator.
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