Mock drafts in February really don’t mean much and are rarely ever accurate, yet I can’t help but check to see who experts have the Bears taking at eighth overall.
Quenton Nelson, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Tremaine Edmunds are all names I would be perfectly fine with the Bears taking in April as they were all tremendous players in college and would immediately improve their respected position upon arrival in Chicago.
Another name that I continue to see linked to the Bears is a receiver I’m personally a huge fan of …
Ridley, an excellent receiver out of Alabama, would surely boost a depleted receiving core for Chicago. I’m not surprised to see his name linked to the Bears, but I don’t want to see the Bears take him with the eighth pick.
Before I get into my reasoning, I want to clear something up; I don’t assume that any receiver the Bears take in the first round will turn out to be another Kevin White.
Sure, I have PTSD from what could’ve been if the Bears took Vic Beasley instead of White, but that does not impact my decision here.
Ridley very well could be a great receiver, and I believe he will be, but the Bears need to assess this need through free agency.
There are many players that have already proven themselves to be successful receivers in the NFL that will be available. Ryan Pace should do whatever it takes to sign Allen Robinson or Jarvis Landry, but there are still other reliable options like Paul Richardson or John Brown that could definitely help boost the receiving core in Chicago.
Taking a receiver in the first round won’t be necessary if the Bears are able to land any of these veterans. Furthermore, Chicago still shouldn’t take a receiver in the first round even if they don’t make that splash in free agency.
Looking back on the past two drafts, first-round receivers have struggled to find any immediate success in the NFL. Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson, Will Fuller and Corey Coleman were all taken in the first round of the 2016 draft and their first two years in the NFL have been nothing short of abysmal.
The same could be said about the 2017 first round draft class of Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross.
Players in the NFL often improve upon their first couple seasons, so it’s not fair to completely write them off just yet.
However, when you have a young developing quarterback like Mitch Trubisky, you need some sort of veteran presence on the receiving core that could help elevate his game to the next level.
The only scenario I’m comfortable with the Bears taking Ridley in the first round is if they were to trade back into the teens and take him there.
In a draft that is loaded with talented quarterbacks, I could see the Dolphins, Bengals, Cardinals or Chargers trading up with the Bears if they’re interested in a quarterback that’s on the board.
If a trade like that were to happen, I would expect Ridley to still be there when the Bears were back on the clock, and if so, the pick would make much more sense.
Pace is unpredictable in the draft and I honestly don’t expect the Bears to even be picking at No. 8.
It may be earlier, it may be later, but if the Bears are going to be taking a receiver in the first round, it better be by way of trading back and accumulating more picks.