Chicago Bears Round 2 Targets

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas – The best tight end in this year’s draft class by a wide margin. Henry is a reliable receiver with only two drops over the last two seasons (none in 2015), but is also dangerous after the catch averaging just under 15 yards per reception. He’s a solid blocker as well, but will need to get stronger to take on NFL defensive ends.

Tight end is definitely a need position for the Bears and there is a big gap between Henry and the rest of the TEs available. He could team with Zach Miller to give the Bears two dangerous receiving threats in the middle of the field.

WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma – One of the most reliable receivers in college football over the last two seasons with 233 receptions. Shepard is under-sized (5’10 | 194) and may be limited to the slot at first, but could be a weapon there.

He’s got plenty of speed (4.43), catches everything, and might run the best routes of any receiver in this draft. Shepard is a more talented version of Tyler Lockett, who was one of the best rookies in the NFL last year.

The Bears gave veteran Eddie Royal good money to be their slot receiver last season, but he couldn’t stay healthy. I don’t see Royal getting more reliable as he ages and Shepard would give the Bears a potential upgrade inside who can also help out in the return game.

LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama – The Bears signed two starting inside linebackers in free agency, but one of them is 30 years old. I had Ragland graded as a top-15 player overall, and he’s a steal this late in the draft even if he doesn’t fill an immediate need of the Bears.

Ragland is a beast against the run between the hashes, can cover better than expected for his size, and was a team leader who has elite football instincts. The Bears met with Ragland three times this draft season, so there is clearly some interest there.

Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports
Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports /

OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky – Could the Bears double-down on explosive pass rushers? Good edge rushers are hard to find and maybe the Bears hedge their bet on Floyd and take the guy I had rated as the next best edge rusher.

Spence does have some off-field red flags, but they were from years ago and he’s been clean since. I’d be surprised to see Pace & Fox take a character risk this high in the draft, but Spence’s recent track record and upside are worth it. An OLB tandem of Floyd and Spence in 2017 could be dominant.