Chicago Bears Land DE Robert Nkemdiche in Latest 2016 NFL Mock Draft


With the regular season right around the corner, NFL draft talk is not exactly at the fore-front. That being said, with 2015 expected to be somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Chicago Bears, it is never too early to look ahead at the prospects.

ALSO FEATURED ON THE FANSIDED NETWORK: Who Do the Bears Select in this Mock Draft?

Obviously, a mock draft this early in the process means very little, but Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller released his latest mock on Wednesday. With Miller being a prominent name in the draft community, I figured a look at the Bears’ pick wouldn’t hurt.

The Bears had the seventh overall pick in this mock draft, with Miller basing his draft order on the latest Vegas odds for the NFL season. With their selection, Miller mocked Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche to the Bears. Here is what he had to say about the selection:

"The Chicago Bears are in rebuild mode, but the one thing general manager Ryan Pace cannot afford to do is reach and miss on a quarterback in the upcoming draft. And in this scenario, there’s no quarterback on the board at pick No. 7 that makes sense from a value perspective. Yes, it’d be nice to have someone behind Jay Cutler that is ready to take over, but it would be better to build a talented team and be patient waiting for the quarterback as you go through a two- or three-year rebuild. Kind of like what they did in Seattle.Robert Nkemdiche is a great cornerstone to the new Bears. He’s athletic, powerful and scheme-versatile. And in Vic Fangio’s defense, he’s Justin Smith. Plug him in at right defensive end and let him eat as left tackles try to combat his power and speed off the snap. It’s not a sexy pick, but Nkemdiche in Fangio’s defense is a tone-setter for how this team will draft, how they’ll play defense and how they’ll win ball games."

While he has yet to become the ferocious pass rusher that it once seemed he would turn out to be, Nkemdiche is an extremely talented player who would fit Fangio’s defense perfectly.

He was considered to be the top prospect in the entire 2013 college football class, as his talent was obvious from an early age. Entering college, Nkemdiche was considered to be a future pass rushing star, who showed incredible explosiveness and quickness off of the edge. However, he grew at a more rapid pace, and has turned out to be more of an inside player on the defensive line.

Sep 13, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (5) steps up to the line during the game against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Currently listed at 6-foot-4, 296 pounds by the official Ole Miss football roster, Nkemdiche would make for a perfect fit as a five-technique defensive end in Fangio’s defense. With his obvious athleticism and raw strength on the field, I think Miller’s comparison to Justin Smith is right on the money.

If the Bears do struggle like expected this season, and Cutler does not have a good year, I could easily see the team looking at the quarterback position in this draft. While it is way too early to know for sure, it seems that there are four potential elite prospect who should be available in the 2016 draft process.

Ohio State QB Cardale Jones went to the Cleveland Browns with the third pick in Miller’s mock, while Cal QB Jared Goff went to the Washington Redskins with the very next selection. Both players are obvious talents at the position, and I imagine the Bears will have some interest there.

The only other QB to go in this particular mock draft was Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg who Miller place at number 14 with the Washington Redskins. Connor Cook was not selected in the first round of this mock, but he is commonly thought-of as a high-level QB prospect in this class. An earlier mock draft had the Bears selecting Cook with the first overall pick.

When it comes down to it, we are a long way away before we start realistically start placing players to teams, but this exercise is fun year-round. The Bears are a team in rebuild mode, and the draft is going to be very important for the team moving forward. It never hurts to keep a close eye on talent who fits the mold of your team.

Next: Kyle Long Should Have Been Named Bears' Captain

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