Chicago Bears: Team has pre-draft meeting with All-American safety

While it’s not a direct correlation of their plans, the Chicago Bears are meeting with Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

The quest to replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is on as the Chicago Bears will reportedly have a pre-draft meeting with Antoine Winfield Jr. The standout safety from the University of Minnesota is one of the best safeties in the draft not named Grant Delpit and Xavier McKinney. Recent mock drafts have Winfield dropping to the second round, where the Bears hold two selections.

Addressing the offensive line is undoubtedly the most significant need in the draft. But with two picks separated by just seven slots, there are several directions that General Manager Ryan Pace can go. However, it’s worth noting that the Bears won’t be able to pick again until the fifth round, so it’s critical to get both of these selections right.

The Bears brought former fourth-round pick, Deon Bush, back on a one-year, $1.4M deal and signed Jordan Lucas from the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Bush has started just eight games in his four-year career, and the majority of his snaps have come via special teams. He had three spot starts in place of the injured Eddie Jackson at the end of the 2018 season.

He allowed a 42.9 completion percentage on seven targets and a 56.8 quarterback rating while collecting a sack in the process. With the Bears signing Clinton-Dix last season, Bush’s defensive snaps dropped from 14 percent to just five.

Winfield also has pre-draft meetings scheduled with four other teams. The redshirt sophomore was hindered by injuries in both 2017 and 2018. However, he shined brightly last season, finishing third in the country with seven interceptions. Aside from being a ballhawk, Winfield is a sure tackler, collecting 85 total tackles last year, including three sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.

He played well in big moments, collecting two interceptions in Minnesota’s win over number four Penn State to go along with a season-high 11 tackles. He’d be the perfect complement to Eddie Jackson in what figures to be a top-notch Bears’ defense.

Next: Team needs to trade down in 2020 draft

As noted, the Bears need to patch up their offensive line, but it wouldn’t shock me if they grabbed a long-term safety as no one on their roster appears to be that guy right now.

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