Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
A lot will change between now and the NFL draft (April 30th). The Bears will bring back some of their free agents, let some go, sign new ones, etc. The combine and pro days will change projected draft slots drastically in the next 3+ months. We don’t even know for sure what defensive scheme the Bears will be running under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. But as of today, Jan 27th, this would be my ideal draft for the Chicago Bears.
To determine which players would be available in each round I calculated the average draft slot for each player from the most respectable mock drafts I could find¹. Once I had the average draft slot, I used that to determine which players would be available when the Bears picked in each round. For example QB Brett Hundley had an average draft spot of the 37th overall pick, so he wasn’t an option for the Bears 2nd round pick (39th). For each pick I took the player I liked best that met a specific need for the Bears. What I consider needs and what new GM Ryan Pace does are obviously going to differ, but this is how I hope things pan out.
For the purposes of this article, I am assuming that the Bears don’t make any trades, even though it was tempting to trade down to add picks and address their multiple needs. I didn’t do that, but I wouldn’t be upset if it happens in real life. I covered round 1 yesterday, today I’ll hit rounds 2 & 3, then finish the rest of the draft tomorrow. If you have any issues with my picks, let me know in the comments or on twitter.
Chicago Bears 2nd round mock:
39.) Eric Kendricks, LB – UCLA
Regardless of which defensive scheme the Bears end up implementing this season, there will be a spot for Kendricks. If the Bears stick with a 4-3 scheme, Kendricks could take over Lance Briggs weak-side OLB role. Assuming new DC Vic Fangio uses something similar to the scheme he installed with the 49ers, Kendricks would be a great fit at inside linebacker in the NaVorro Bowman role. The Bears don’t have much ILB talent on the roster and if they do switch to a 3-4, Jon Bostic is the only clear fit inside. Bostic could handle the run stopper role (Patrick Willis), while Kendricks mans the jack-of-all-trades role that Bowman has excelled at in Fangio’s scheme with the 49ers. It is similar to the role Kendricks handled at UCLA as an ILB who did a little bit of everything for their defense.
Attributes – 6’0 | 233 | 4.68
Scouting report – Played in the middle for the Bruins, was their defensive captain and has been their leading tackler for three seasons in a row. Kendricks was ridiculously productive during his 4 years at UCLA with 440 tackles. He’s a bit undersized but plays bigger than he’s listed and could fit on the weak-side in a 4-3 scheme or the middle of a 3-4. Kendricks is about the same size Urlacher was when the Bears drafted him and teams are trending smaller at LB due to the increase in pass first offenses. I’m not comparing Kendricks to the Bears legendary MLB, but he is a sideline-to-sideline run stuffer who has great instincts and diagnoses plays quickly. Kendricks is also a sure tackler who rarely misses after initial contact. He is a big hitter as well with enough speed and instincts to cover TEs, RBs, and even slot receivers but struggles at times with his back to the ball. His lack of size is the main knock on Kendricks, but he’s a tough, instinctive football player who I think is a 3-down NFL LB. After passing on Chris Borland last year, presumably because he’s too short, hopefully the Bears won’t make the same mistake on Kendricks this year.
NFL comparison – DeAndre Levy
Others considered: CB Jalen Collins (LSU), DE Mario Edwards (FSU), S Gerod Holliman (Louisville), DT Michael Bennett (Ohio St), CB Alex Carter (Stanford)