US Sports Veteran
Publish Date: 04/18/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Chicago general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy are on their last legs. After a promising 12-4 beginning to the Nagy era in 2018, the Bears are 16-16 and still haven’t won a playoff game since 2010. Nothing short of a franchise-altering draft class will save Chicago’s current regime.
Unfortunately for Nagy and Pace, they only have one pick in the first 50 selections and three in the top 150. With the defense regressing each year since 2018 and the offense undergoing another facelift at quarterback, Chicago has one of the worst situations in the NFL. The question for Chicago isn’t when but how soon until it’s time to tear this team down and start over.
I used The Draft Network’s mock draft machine and Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator to justify each of my selections. At least one website had the chosen players available at their listed picks over several simulations. I didn’t create any trades and included an “ideal pick” after every selection for optimistic fans.
Several opportunistic scenarios popped up across the PFF and TDN simulations. Ultimately, I passed over Rashod Bateman and Teven Jenkins in both simulators for Newsome. While Chicago needs help at right tackle and is on the cusp of losing Allen Robinson, the team also recently parted ways with Kyle Fuller.
If the Bears make any noise in 2021, it’ll be because of their defense. The team signed veteran Desmond Trufant to play alongside Jaylon Johnson, but the 30-year-old is well past his prime. According to Pro Football Reference, Trufant allowed a 111.3 passer rating when targeted in 2020. He’s only played in 15 games over the past two years.
Newsome is a scheme-versatile cornerback with exceptional footwork and the ability to mirror routes. Assuming the Northwestern product stays healthy, he could become Chicago’s top cover option.
Anthony Miller is in Chicago’s doghouse, and the former second-round pick could get traded shortly after the draft. Miller only totaled 1,564 yards during his first three years in Chicago, but Brown promises a much brighter future for the team’s feeble passing game. The Tar Heels didn’t ask Brown to run an NFL route tree in college, but he has all of the physical traits to adjust in the pros.
There’s little chance that Dillon Radunz falls out of the first-round, but the Bears would love his ferocious blocking style and raw power. In a deep wide receiver class, taking key offensive linemen is a priority. However, Liam Eichenberg, Alex Leatherwood, and Radunz all heard their names called before pick 52 in the simulations I ran.
Ideal pick: Dillon Radunz, OT North Dakota St.
Chicago doesn’t have any options at right tackle outside of Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson. Seattle Seahawks fans know that Ifedi doesn’t have the chops to stick at tackle, and Wilkinson has two consecutive sub-60.0 graded seasons from PFF. If the Bears pass on Teven Jenkins in the first-round and whiff on a tackle at 52, they must find one at 83.
Forsythe is 6-8, weighs 307 lbs., and has over 34-inch arms. He’s fantastic in pass protection, mirroring pass rushers and routinely hitting his landmarks before defenders. Very few offensive tackles possess his natural footwork and upper body strength.
Forsythe falls to the third-round because his height gives up leverage and the former three-star recruit overextends in the running game, leading to missed blocks and plays breaking down.
Ideal pick: Jamar Johnson, S Indiana
The Bears need some depth at strong safety, and Bledsoe is one of this year’s most experienced defensive backs. He lined up everywhere for the Tigers, including at outside cornerback and along the defensive line. Bledsoe’s athletic profile and tight hips likely limit him to a box safety or traditional strong safety role in the NFL.
Bledsoe makes up for his lack of ideal traits with a physical playing style that challenges wide receivers. He’s not afraid of taking on offensive linemen in the running game.
Ideal pick: David Moore, IOL Grambling St.
Powell is already 23 years old, but he can see playing time immediately for the Bears. He has average speed and separation skills, but Powell won contested catches last year and somehow always found open space. His body control and ball tracking skills covered a lack of standout athleticism in college. Life could become harder in the NFL.
Powell adds another level to his game with physicality. He’s a willing blocker and battles for yards after the catch. Once he adjusts to life in the league, Powell should deliver at least 500 to 600 receiving yards per season.
Ideal pick: Simi Fehoko, WR Stanford
Lenoir is a physical cornerback that should start his career in the slot. He possesses above-average production in run support and has good ball skills. Lenoir fights for leverage and is willing to throw receivers off their routes in press coverage. Unfortunately, agility concerns could limit Lenoir to a role on special teams or force a transition to safety.
Koonce is the ideal pick in this scenario. He has tremendous length and bend for a pass rusher. An extra year in the weight room could go a long way to strengthening his run defense.
Ideal pick: Malcolm Koonce, EDGE Buffalo
Ball could turn into a steal for Chicago, but the Bears have to investigate an incidence of dating violence that preceded him transferring from Florida St. Ball has ideal NFL size at 6-7, 308 lbs. but is still very skinny. He could need a year in the weight room before standing up to the league’s pass rushers. Ball’s 35-inch arms should give him a physical advantage once he adds on muscle.
Ideal pick: Zach Davidson, TE Central Missouri
At nearly 6-3, 207 lbs. with 33-inch arms, Terry poses a threat to all defensive backs. However, the former Seminole displays many of the flaws present in taller college receivers that never jump to professional stardom. Terry doesn’t have great agility, which limits his route tree, and the 23-year-old is surprisingly passive for a player his size.
On the positive side, Terry has good deep speed and could emerge as a vertical threat for the Bears.
Ideal pick: Paris Ford, S Pittsburgh