Seems every year I watch the NFL draft unfold, there are surprises that most did not see or predict. Players inexplicably rise or fall in the draft. Teams select players that catch others by surprise. This unpredictability works to realign and restructure the best laid plans by GM’s all over the league.
For the purposes of this discussion, lets look at the potential surprises the Bears might spring on us. The thing that sets the table for Emery to spring such a surprise, is his work on the free agent market. He has signed several starting caliber players and franchised our stud Defensive Tackle. We have added depth and talent in LB, TE, OT, S, QB and CB. That leaves the draft wide open for Emery and I am very impressed with his moves….of course, I have not seen how he will pay for it yet.
Early round surprise prediction #1…. Bears select a talented QB in the early rounds.
With the success of recent mobile QB’s and Cutler’s upcoming contract negotiation, I see this as being more and more a possible reality. Another factor, is the recent mega million dollar contracts the are being signed…Tony Romo’s recent deal is an amazing contract to me given his age and lack of accomplishment. As the Bears look to the future, drafting a QB for the future may become a necessity as opposed to a luxury if for no other reason, than to manage their own salary cap.
The draft is the best way to manage the salary cap assuming the GM can select impact players. I could see the Bears trading down to a team looking to nab their prospect if they can find a partner. Trade or not, the Bears could very well use their second round pick to grab Florida State’s QB EJ Manuel. Manuel is a strong armed athlete with quick feet. He has had consistency issues and some question his decision-making. That is what makes him available in the second round…maybe he will slip to the third. Every year, someone slips as others rise or are over-reached. Manuel could provide the Bears with a QB capable of running the read-option too. Instant leverage in the upcoming Cutler negotiations as Bush offered the Bears options during the Forte negotiations.
Another surprise #2 prediction, or maybe not to some, trade down in the first round and wrap up Devin Hester to sweeten the pot.
Look for the Denver Bronco’s to offer the Bears their third round pick in exchange for swapping positions and Hester. This solves a salary cap problem for the Bears as it adds a missing 3rd round pick and gives the Bronco’s an opportunity to select a player like UCLA’s Datone Jones at DE as this will help soften the loss of Elvis Dumervil.
With a lower first round pick and a third, the Bears could use their selection to grab Clemson WR, DeAndre Hopkins or Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o. Either pick would make good sense picking at #28, the Bronco’s first round slot. With the Bronco’s third round pick in hand, the Bears could bolster their roster with a player like Texas A&M’s WR Ryan Swope. Swope ran a blistering 4.34 40 yard dash at the combine and would be a reach for the Bears in round 2. Most Bear fans would agree that the Bears need some speed and depth at the WR position and Swope would be a good value here if available. Don’t rule out Cincinnati’s TE Travis Kelce here. A TE only happens if the Bears are content with leaving Evan Rodriguez in his H-back role. I do expect the Bears to really mix up formations and utilize the double tight end sets. Tight Ends also make good special teams players as well in lieu of Linebackers.
Maybe the biggest surprise #3 will be no surprise at all. That is, the Bears pick in their complementary slots and select players most of us expect them to select.
This draft seems especially unpredictable to me because the team made so many complementary free agent signings. These signings create an enormous amount of draft flexibility and the one year contracts that have been so prevalent, allows the Bears to shed some of these signings with no impact to cap space. I have to believe that Emery has a few more tricks up his sleeve and surprises are surprises becase they are difficult to predict.
These kind of predictions are usually wrong…that is what makes them predictions but I find it great fun to guess and hear what other people are guessing too. So Bear Fans, what are your predictions for Bear’s suprises between now and opening day kick-off?