It’s too early for a mock draft, but with the Bears season long over, I need something to look forward to. So much can and will change between now and the draft on April 27th, but it’s fun to speculate anyway.
Here is a short list of just a few inevitable changes in the next few months:
1.) Trades – The Bears could trade any of their picks, including the third overall pick for Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The Bears have made draft day trades the last two years and the odds are about even they make one again this year.
2.) Free agents – The Bears position needs could change drastically over the next few months. The Bears are among the top five teams in cap space and could add multiple impact players, which could change their needs at certain positions. Which players they decide to bring back (Alshon Jeffery) will also significantly impact their draft strategy.
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3.) Draft stock changes – Every year plenty of players move up and down on teams’ draft boards based on performances in the post-season all-star games, pro days, drug tests, and the combine. It’s not uncommon for a player to rise or drop multiple rounds depending on what happens over the next three months.
It’s impossible to predict how the above factors could impact the Bears draft needs, so I’m basing this mock draft on their current needs and roster. It’s such a crap-shoot this far from the draft, but I have gotten a few choices right in my mock drafts the last two years. I had most of the rounds wrong, but a few players that at least ended up on the Bears roster.
2015: S Adrian Amos (4th / 5th), CB Bryce Callahan (7th / UDFA)
2016: OLB Leonard Floyd (1st / 1st), TE Ben Braunecker (6th / UDFA)
Hopefully, I get a few right this year as well. Please keep in mind that the Bears can’t fill every need in this draft. If they were a couple of players away from the Super Bowl, then maybe they could focus on certain positions but at this point, they need to draft the best player available. I know the Bears need defensive backs, so hold back your comments about how I’m an idiot for not drafting a DB in every round.
Here is my initial Bears seven-round mock:
Bears 7-round mock
Round 1: DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama (6’3 | 291 | 4.85)
I’m sure the Bears will be tempted to take a quarterback with this pick, or maybe even a safety, but the reality is that none of the draftable QBs are even close to a sure thing. There also hasn’t been a safety drafted this high since 1991 (Eric Turner, Browns #2).
Defensive line might not be the Bears most glaring need, but it’s not like they have a stacked group at the position either. There are some above-average players on the d-line, but adding a potential impact player like Allen is worth using a high pick on.
A front three of Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Allen could potentially be one of the most dominant d-line groups in the league, assuming health obviously. Allen might be the safest pick in the draft and the Bears have never been known as a team that takes big risks with their top draft picks.
Allen is one of the best all-around defensive line prospects to enter the draft in years. He is a versatile beast who can play all over the line of scrimmage and be a force both as a pass rusher and run stopper.
The only knock on Allen is his lack of ideal length and bulk for an NFL d-linemen, but he came to Bama as a 268-pound outside linebacker so he’s already bulked up as much as can be expected. At 291 pounds, he’s big enough to play anywhere on the line except maybe nose tackle. He has the skill set to excel as a one, three, or five technique, which is a perfect fit for DC Vic Fangio’s hybrid defensive scheme.
The versatility to play multiple positions in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme has plenty of value, but it’s Allen’s ability to control the line of scrimmage that makes him unique. He has the quickness to generate pressure on quarterbacks, the power to hold the point against the run, and the violent hands to shed blockers and make plays on the ball. His play recognition and awareness are also elite.
Allen is the total package where ever he’s used on the defensive line. He’s a legit contender for the number one pick and a great value at number three.
*Also considered: S Malik Hooker, Ohio St; Trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo