Are all signs pointing to the Bears drafting Quenton Nelson?
By Usayd Koshul
Will the Chicago Bears be drafting the Notre Dame guard with the eighth overall selection?
A gaping hole just opened up on the Chicago Bears’ offensive line. No, not one for Jordan Howard to run through, but one that will require the Bears to find another starter next to Charles Leno Jr and Cody Whitehair. With Josh Sitton gone, the Bears have a need at guard. Do all signs point to Quenton Nelson being targeted by the Bears?
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By now, it’s clear what Bears general manager Ryan Pace does when it comes to the draft process. Pace has this habit of keeping things completely secret and then surprising everyone. However, this time, could we actually get an idea of what Pace could potentially do in April?
Let’s take a look at two significant moves that happened over the last two months that could indicate what the Bears could do in the draft. In January, the Bears hired Harry Hiestand to serve as the team’s next offensive line coach. Nelson played college ball at Notre Dame from 2014-2017, where at the same time, Hiestand coached at Notre Dame from 2012-2017, meaning Hiestand has got first-hand experience of how Nelson’s college career played out.
The second move that is so significant is the Bears opting not to bring back Josh Sitton. Recall that Sitton was cut by the Green Bay Packers as part of the final fifty-three man roster cuts in September of 2016 and then was picked up by the Bears just days later.
Let me be clear when I say this: The Bears didn’t move on from Josh Sitton because of injuries. Sitton proved to be a fairly durable player when he suited up, as he missed only six games combined in 2016 and 2017 and had an impact when he played. They moved on from him because paying $7 million a year for an aging veteran is too expensive for a team that has needs at major positions such as wide receiver, outside linebacker, cornerback, and guard.
By many, Nelson looks as if he has the making of being a future NFL All-Pro. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he tested fairly well in everything, further solidifying his status as a potential top-ten draft pick and the best interior lineman in the class of 2018.
Over the last week, the Bears have been reported to be in talks with the Dolphins regarding a potential trade that would send Jarvis Landry and the 11th overall pick to Chicago in exchange for the eighth overall pick. Were a trade to happen, the Bears would surely fall out of the running for Nelson, however, since nothing is official yet, Nelson has to be high on the Bears draft board.
The moves the Bears have made over the last eight weeks indicate that they could be looking hard at Quenton Nelson. If Nelson is still on the board when the Bears pick, then he should be a no-brainer selection. He’s got the potential to be a day-one starter and impact the Bears offense in many ways. Not only would he open up more holes for the Bears running backs, he’d also go ahead and give more time to Mitchell Trubisky. The ball is in your court Ryan Pace.