Bears: 7-Round Mock 3.0

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bears have added some talent (but mostly depth) through free agency, which makes their draft needs clearer for my third Chicago Bears seven-round mock draft.

With the combine in the books and free agency winding down, it seems like a good time for my next Chicago Bears seven-round mock draft. I’ve included links to the first two versions below, but things change so fast in draft season that just a few weeks can make a previous mock seem delusional.

The Bears managed to fill some significant needs through free agency, but still don’t have many positions that would be considered a strength. They need an influx of talent pretty much everywhere.

I’ve hit on some of the Bears bigger needs in my mock below but there are plenty of other positions I could have targeted, so save the comments on how the Bears need to draft a right tackle, defensive end, etc.

That being said, feel free to let me know what you think about the picks in the comments or on Twitter (@MikeFlannery_)

Bears Mock Drafts: 1.0 | 2.0

Bears Seven-Round Mock 3.0

1st round (#3) – QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (6’3 | 220 | 4.66)

It takes an elite quarterback to win in the NFL. It’s been 14 years since a team won a Super Bowl with a mediocre quarterback (Brad Johnson in 2003, Bucs). The Bears can be competitive by combining a solid running game with an elite defense, but without a legitimate quarterback, they aren’t going to make a long playoff run much less win a Super Bowl.

Bears GM Ryan Pace is in a tough spot for this draft. After a couple of awful seasons for the Bears, it’s possible Pace’s job is in jeopardy unless the Bears make a significant leap in wins in 2017. So does Pace draft to win this year and add another year of job security? Or does he use a valuable pick to draft a developmental QB and risk another losing season?

After passing on a quarterback in his first two drafts, I think Pace needs to take a quarterback this year to at least show he has a plan for the future of the position. If Watson, or whichever QB the Bears draft, plays well or at least shows elite potential, that could extend Pace’s run as GM just as much as a winning season could. Ideally the Bears get both in 2017, but I’m not expecting a miracle.

I know this year’s draft class doesn’t have a sure thing QB, like Andrew Luck, but if the Bears don’t draft their QB of the future now, then when are they going to do it? Will they pick in the top five again next year or anytime soon? As bad as the Bears have been recently, they haven’t picked this high since 1972. If the Bears like one of this year’s top quarterback options, then they need to pull the trigger with the third pick and make sure they get him.

Ideally, the Bears will be able to trade back in the first round and still get the quarterback they want, but that is unlikely. Teams rarely trade up for the third pick and it’s rumored that most teams with top picks are looking to trade down as well. The Bears are likely stuck with the third pick and it’s the best chance they will have any time soon to find their quarterback of the future.

So is Watson the guy? The Bears seem at least semi-interested after sending a contingent of coaches to his pro day including GM Ryan Pace, HC John Fox, and OC Dowell Loggains. Pace has also constantly brought up Saints QB Drew Brees when asked about the quarterback position and he always references his leadership, consistency, and ability to carry the team to victory. Does any QB in this draft match that description better than Deshaun Watson?

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As a starter at Clemson the last two seasons, Watson had a record of 33-3 and led his team to consecutive appearances in the National Championship game including a victory over a heavily favored Alabama team in 2016.

Watson has all the intangibles that NFL teams look for in a QB; He plays his best when the lights are brightest and the pressure is more intense than most college QBs ever deal with. He’s also put up over 800 passing yards in two championship games against the best defense in college football.

I’ll be posting a more detailed breakdown of Watson and the other first round quarterbacks soon, but his main positives are the aforementioned leadership and ability to come through in the clutch, elite mobility and athleticism, a good enough arm to make every NFL throw, and a quick release with above-average touch and anticipation.

On the down side, Watson has played in a very QB-friendly scheme that didn’t require him to read both sides of the field, take snaps under center, or progress through multiple reads. He also has a tendency to force balls into traffic and over/under throw open receivers deep.

Overall, Watson profiles as a first round pick with the leadership, athleticism, and intangibles to be a starting quarterback in the NFL for a long time. He has some flaws but all college QBs do and if Watson can develop his pocket skills, he could become a top-tier starter in the league. The kind of starting quarterback who can lead the Bears to a Super Bowl.