Bowl season is a great time for the casual fan to get familiar with the players who will be suiting up on Sunday next season. There’s only one bowl game left, but none can match the stable of prospects that the National Championship game will feature.
There are players on both teams and both sides of the ball that will interest the Bears as to who will be available at different rounds in the draft. You better believe Ryan Pace and the Bears scouts will be keeping a close eye on this game.
And so should you!
CB AJ Terrell (#8)
The Bears have a decision to make with Prince Amukamara this offseason. He didn’t have his best year and cutting him would save $9 million to use elsewhere. On the other hand, the only cornerback behind him is Kevin Tolliver, a former undrafted free agent who has shown some flashes, but I question if he’s a future starting corner.
If the Bears decide to cut Amukamara, cornerback becomes a huge need, and Terrell would be a perfect fit who can play immediately.
Terrell is a superb athlete with good size and length at 6-foot-1. He has the mirroring skills in man coverage, quick feet and fluid hips to allow him to consistently stay in the hip pocket of receivers in man coverage. He has tremendous footwork and hand placement in press man coverage and also good awareness when playing off-man.
With Chuck Pagano playing more man coverage than Vic Fangio did, the Bears need a corner who can develop into a true lockdown defender.
Terrell could be that guy.
Projected Round: 2
LG John Simpson (#74)
It’s no secret … the Bears did not run block well in 2019. Harry Hiestand is out and in comes Juan Castillo to help right the ship.
Simpson is a mauler in the run game with heavy hands and plenty of power at the point of attack. He’s got great size at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds to go with his long arms that can wall-off defenders in both the run and pass game.
He’s been the Tigers’ full time guard for the past two seasons and played over 450 snaps the two years prior. He has the experience you want to see out of a senior prospect. Because of his experience, Simpson has a tremendous football IQ.
He’s most likely suited for a gap-blocking scheme due to his power and only average athleticism, so he might not be an ideal target for the Bears’ zone-blocking scheme. Even still, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Bears drafting Simpson if he falls in the draft.
Projected Round: 3
S K’Von Wallace (#12)
The Bears have a decision to make at safety opposite Eddie Jackson as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and his backup, Deon Bush, are both free agents. Chicago could opt to bring either of them back or bring in another veteran safety.
Obviously another option would be targeting a safety in the draft, and if that is indeed the course of action, Wallace could be a good fit.
Wallace has played nearly every position in the backend of the Tigers’ defense but has found the most success at safety. That versatility shows up on tape as he is equally adept in man coverage as he is in zone. However, he is at his best in zone coverage closer to the line of scrimmage.
He has a high football IQ and enough athleticism for the position. Wallace had his best statistical season as a senior in 2019 doing a little bit of everything for the Clemson defense on his way to 63 tackles, three for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
Projected Round: 3-4
S Tanner Muse (#19)
If the Bears want more of a box safety who will allow Jackson to be a deep ballhawk, they can opt for Wallace’s partner, Muse.
Muse is a big bodied safety at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds and could be a bit of a tweener at the next level. He is at his best when attacking downhill and does a good job flowing to the ball and attacking blockers in the run game.
He isn’t a guy you want in deep coverage very often or covering wide receivers in the slot, but he can be reliable in short to intermediate zones as well as man covering tight ends and running backs.
The Thorpe Award semifinalist has started the last two seasons (to go along with nine starts as a sophomore), accumulating 110 tackles, seven for loss, 3.5 sacks and seven interceptions.
He is always in the right place due to his high football IQ and coaches will fall in love with him due to his non-stop motor, which is evidenced by the touchdown saving tackle to run down JK Dobbins from behind in the College Football playoff semifinal against Ohio State.
May not have been a "highlight" but you win championships because of plays like this…
Tanner Muse hustles and runs down J.K. Dobbins to prevent a touchdown and then the Tigers D holds OSU to a field goal.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) December 30, 2019
Projected Round: 6-7
RT Tremayne Anchrum (#73)
In the NFL, you should be drafting at least one offensive linemen every single year. The Bears have tried, and missed, on some late round developmental guys in recent years (Tayo Fabuluje, Jordan Morgan), but Anchrum has the potential to be a starter down the road and a quality backup at worst.
Anchrum has the experience you like playing in 53 games in his career and making 35 starts. He does not have the prototypical size of a tackle at only 6-foot-2 and 315 pounds, which could lead to a move inside in the NFL.
Anchrum’s best trait is his athleticism, which should translate well to the Bears’ zone scheme. His issues in pass protection come more from technique rather than being out matched athletically. In the run game he creates a good push at the point of attack and uses his lower body well to generate leverage.
All in all Anchrum is still very much a project but someone who might be worth taking a flier on late in the draft.
Projected Round: 7-UDFA
EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson (#18)
Whether the Bears decide to keep Leonard Floyd and his $13-million dollar cap hit or not, it’s no secret they need more juice and production from the outside linebacker position opposite Khalil Mack.
So why not draft someone who will undoubtedly be compared to Floyd in Chaisson?
Chaisson has a tall lanky build listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds although that weight might be a little generous. What he lacks in size he makes up for with athleticism with a lightning quick first step and the speed to threaten the corner. He also has surprising power you don’t normally see from a speed rusher.
Teams will be scared off by his lack of sack totals (only 9.5 in 23 games), but we’ve seen Pace look past the stat sheet before most notably with the man Chaisson might replace in Floyd.
Of all the players on this list, Chaisson has the highest chance of being a first-round pick, and thus, unavailable to the Bears. He could even potentially sneak into the top-15 due to his athleticism and the positional value of pass rushers.
Should he find himself available when the Bears are on the clock in the second round, Chaisson would be tough to pass up.
Projected Round: 1-2
LB Jacob Phillips (#6)
Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkowski and Kevin Pierre-Louis all played extremely well when on the field last season. All three happen to be unrestricted free agents as well. The Bears could re-sign one or two of them or they could decide to address the position in the draft. LSU has two stylistically different ILB to choose form.
First up is Phillips.
Phillips is more of a traditional Mike or Sam linebacker with good size at 6-foot-4 233 pounds. He’s a thumper in the run game and is good at reading keys and attacking the ball carrier. He finished this last season with 105 tackles and seven for loss.
He has good range in coverage, and his length shows up in this area consistently. He doesn’t have elite athleticism like past LSU linebackers but can hold his own when covering tight ends.
Off-ball linebacker won’t be a huge need for the Bears, so Phillips will most likely be drafted before they would be willing to address the position. Still, he is a guy worth monitoring as his size and length would be a good compliment next to Roquan Smith.
Projected Round: 2-3
LB Patrick Queen (#8)
The next linebacker on LSU’s defense that could interest the Bears is Queen.
Queen is more similar to Smith as he’s undersized at 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds. However, he is more suited to play sideline-to-sideline than Phillips. He also needs protection up front from his defensive line in the run game as he is perfectly suited for the Will linebacker position.
Where Queen stands out is in coverage with his athleticism and quick feet. He’s a prototypical linebacker in today’s NFL who can not only drop into zone but also man cover tight ends, running back and even some bigger wide receivers in the slot.
Queen is constantly around the ball and all over the field when you watch LSU games. Most importantly he should go later in the draft than Phillips, which would make him a more realistic target for the Bears.
Projected Round: 4-5
LT Saahdiq Charles (#77)
The Bears tackle duo of Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie are locked into starting spots for 2020. That said, the Bears would be wise to find a developmental tackle at some point in the draft.
Charles has great experience as a three-year starter mostly at left tackle. He has good, but not great, size at 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds although he more than makes up for this with his long arms.
Charles has the functional athleticism to stay in front of speed rushers and the anchor to stop bullrushes. He uses his length well to push defenders up the arc and out of the play. Where he struggles is with the timing on his initial punch and hand placement. He can be a bit late at times, which leads to defenders controlling the point of attack.
Charles is a true junior and would probably be wise to go back to school to attempt to improve his stock. If he declares, the Bears could do a lot worse than the left tackle of the offensive line awarded the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s top offensive line unit.
Projected Round: 5-6
TE Thaddeus Moss (#81)
Finally we get to a player at arguably the Bears biggest need:TE
You might recognize the name Thaddeus Moss, as he is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. He might not be as explosive and athlete as his father, but he is still an impressive prospect in his own right.
Of all the players on this list, I’ve seen the least of Moss. He was recently brought to my attention by twitter user @michael13877009 and as a junior he can, and probably should, go back for his senior season. Although, with a big game in the national spotlight, he could choose to leave early. He’s definitely a player I will be watching closely, and if he declares, I’ll dive deeper into his tape.
This is a Thaddeus Moss fan account (when you run as much 11 personnel as LSU does with a stud blocker like Moss attached to the formation >>). pic.twitter.com/uqJ7B1ObU9
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 9, 2020
Projected Round: 5-6