On Tuesday afternoon, the NFL finally released the list of teams who will be receiving compensatory picks for the 2020 NFL Draft. After a decade-long drought, the Bears were one of the beneficiaries, resulting in an additional fourth-round pick (No. 140 overall).
The full list of compensatory picks in the 2020 NFL Draft: pic.twitter.com/QKADDS4yPu
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 10, 2020
When the Packers signed former Bears safety Adrian Amos and the Bears cut running back Mike Davis, that put Chicago in the mix to receive the pick.
Although the news was just announced yesterday, general manager Ryan Pace was expecting to acquire the extra draft capital coming into the season.
The Bears now have eight picks in the 2020 draft, and that No. 140 overall pick is significant because Pace has had a history of drafting some quality players in the fourth round, which can’t be said for his first-round picks.
Here is every fourth-round pick Pace has selected in his five years as the GM.
- 2015: Jeremy Langford (106 overall)
- 2016: Nick Kwiatkoski (113 overall)
- 2016: Deon Bush (124 overall)
- 2016: Deiondre’ Hall (127 overall)
- 2017: Eddie Jackson (112 overall)
- 2017: Tarik Cohen (119 overall)
- 2018: Joel Iyiegbuniwe (115 overall)
- 2019: Riley Ridley (126 overall)
The two standouts, to a certain extent, are Eddie Jackson and Tarik Cohen, who have both played a fundamental part on the team since they were drafted in 2017. Jackson is clearly Pace’s best fourth-round draft pick. Back in January., Jackson signed a four-year extension that is worth $58.4 million, with an average of $14.6 million per season, making him the highest-paid safety in the league.
Cohen, on the other hand, has had a fluctuating career through his first three seasons. In 2018, he was a big part of the offense, rushing for 444 yards on 99 attempts (4.5-yard average) and adding 71 receptions for 725 more yards (10.2-yard average), and he was selected to the Pro Bowl for his punt return ability. 2019 was a different story. Like most of the offense, Cohen regressed: he rushed for 213 yards on 64 attempts (3.3-yard average) and only had 456 receiving yards on 79 receptions (5.8-yard average).
Nick Kwiatkoski also has had a nice career in Chicago. When he had to step up to a starting role last season, the defense didn’t lose a step. He finished with 76 combined tackles, three sacks and an interception, and as a result, Kwiatkoski should gain some interest from teams in free agency.
Now, looking at this year’s draft and potential players who are projected to be in that fourth-round range, Pace has another opportunity to add a key contributor to the Bears.
Here are some potential targets that could be available.
Iowa CB Michael Ojemudia
After the Bears released cornerback Prince Amukamara, that created a hole at the position opposite of Pro Bowler Kyle Fuller. Third-year player Kevin Toliver would be the next man up, but the Bears should consider bringing in additional competition. Iowa’s Michael Ojemudia could be a target for Chuck Pagano’s defense.
Last season for the Hawkeyes, Ojemudia recorded 52 tackles, three interceptions and was selected third-team All-Big Ten by league coaches. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he has good size at the position and ran 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
At Iowa, Ojemudia played a lot of zone coverage and showed quick closing speed on underneath routes. If Ojemudia gets paired with Fuller and Pagano, he has the potential to develop into a solid player.
Washington State QB Anthony Gordon
The Bears are going to have a completely different quarterback room when the 2020 season begins. Both Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray will be free agents and are unlikely to return, and multiple outlets have reported that the Bears will bring in a veteran. Pace, however, also needs to look into drafting a quarterback, and Washington State’s Anthony Gordon may be good fit.
In Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” system, Gordon put up crazy numbers in his senior season: 493 completions on 689 attempts, 5,579 passing yards, 48 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions.
Gordon has a reputation of making some off-platform throws, and demonstrated that in the Senior Bowl. With “Air Raid” quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Gardner Minshew having recent success in the NFL, there is hope that Gordon can do the same.
Florida Edge Jabari Zungia
The Bears’ edge rushers didn’t apply much pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season. Khalil Mack accounted for 8.5 sacks, while everyone else only registered five total sacks: Leonard Floyd (3) and Aaron Lynch (2). The Bears have been doing their homework on potential edge rushers, and Florida’s Jabari Zuniga would be a much-needed addition.
Zuniga only played in six games last season due to injuries, and he accumulated 14 tackles and three sacks. When he played alongside fellow NFL prospect Jonathan Greenard, the two were a force for opposing offensive lines.
The 6-foot-3, 264-pound pass rusher has a great get-off and pairs that with his high motor to overwhelm offensive linemen.
Each of these prospects has plenty of upside, and that is exactly what Pace has valued in the fourth round of the draft. With all the holes that are currently on the Bears’ roster, Pace needs to take advantage of the pick to hopefully land another key player.