Round 1 – 3rd overall
Solomon Thomas (DE), Stanford
Previous Pick: Jamal Adams (S), LSU
This was a difficult decision. Since free agency began, general manager Ryan Pace addressed every position of need besides defensive end, which is the reason for the change from Adams. Jonathan Allen’s moderate arthritis in his shoulders made me apprehensive enough not to pull the trigger, and that’s why Chicago brings in Thomas. He’s an explosive defender who has an appealing mix of strength, quickness, and size. He will be a high-impact player that will be relentless come Sunday. By drafting Thomas, the Bears’ front-seven drastically improves.
Round 2 – 36th overall
Marlon Humphrey (CB), Alabama
Previous Pick: Jalen “Teez” Tabor (CB), Florida
Chicago brought in a starter at corner in Prince Amukamara, but that doesn’t mean the Bears should not draft one early. Humphrey possesses all of the desired traits. He has experience with a variety of coverages, is a strong competitor and plays aggressively in press. Like Charles “Peanut” Tillman, he looks for opportunities to strip the ball (forced three fumbles in 2016). Humphrey does need some time to refine his technique. He did allow 19 yards per completion last season and tends to give up the big play. But with some solid coaching, he can polish up his game and become a formidable corner for years to come.
Round 3 – 67th overall
Nathan Peterman (QB), Pittsburgh
Previous Pick: Evan Engram (TE), Ole Miss
With the signing of Mike Glennon, the Bears now have someone who will start while developing a young quarterback. Even though they are expected to do so, nobody truly knows when the Bears will draft a quarterback. However, I believe Peterman is the ideal developmental quarterback in this draft, besides Patrick Mahomes. Peterman has a strong pocket presence, natural accuracy, and great vision. He’s proven he can rise to the occasion. He beat Deshaun Watson and Clemson back in November when he tossed five touchdowns. Peterman’s experience in a pro-style attack makes his learning curve a little smaller than other quarterbacks. If the Bears gave him time, he can develop into a solid starting quarterback.
Round 4 – 108th overall
Josh Reynolds (WR), Texas A&M
Previous Pick: Jaleel Johnson (DE), Iowa
The Bears have already brought in speed by signing Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright. So, why not add more? In my first mock draft, I had the Bears drafting Reynolds in the fifth round, but he will not last on the board that long. He finished last season with 61 catches and 12 touchdowns. Reynolds is a dangerous vertical threat and would help the Bears stretch the field. He also dominates in the red zone and would be an excellent option in this offense.
Round 4 – 114th overall
Jake Butt (TE), Michigan
Previous Pick: Julie’n Davenport (OT), Bucknell
Chicago already added some depth behind Zach Miller when they signed Dion Sims, but the Bears would be wise to add another body to the unit. At one point Butt was considered one of the top tight ends in the draft, but after tearing his ACL in the Citrus Bowl, his stock has taken a dip. By already signing Sims, the Bears can allow Butt time to fully heal without any rush to return to the field. Once healthy, he should be a good pro that potentially replaces Miller down the road.
Round 5 – 148th overall
Conor McDermot (OT), Conor McDermott
Previous Pick: Josh Reynolds (WR), Texas A&M
McDermot is a tower at left tackle (6’8″) and is solid in both run blocking and pass protection. He’s athletic for a tackle and comes off the ball with a powerful pop. The one knock on McDermot is his core strength. Some scouts fear he does not have enough to play in the NFL. That said, give him some time in the weight room and see what happens. He possesses impressive size and has solid technique, so he’s worth a gamble here in the fifth round.
Round 7 – 226th overall
Deatrich Wise Jr. (EDGE), Arkansas
Previous Pick: Chunky Clements (DT), Illinois
With the final pick, the Bears add a player who can get after the quarterback. He has incredible arm length (35 inches) that allows him to generate impressive power in his punch and knock down passes (six over last two seasons). His production dipped enough in his senior season to drop his stock. Wise has the traits to bounce back, and with Chicago’s current crop of pass rushers, Wise can be given time on the practice squad to work on his weaknesses. His length and power make him an attractive final pick of the draft for the Bears.
Saying the Bears addressed all positions of need in free agency isn’t saying much. In all honesty they had one of the more lackluster free agent seasons since Pace took over. He didn’t get 1 top free agent…not 1 and he was armed with 4th most cap space in the league…that’s pathetic! Instead he decided to sign a bunch of depth players or borderline fringe starters but NONE of these players should still be on the team in 2 years! The Bears are only marginally better now than when they started free agency and that’s mostly because they have some added depth now and not because they signed any “playmakers” that Pace promised he would do in free agency. The secondary is still devoid of any playmakers and should still take precedence over all other positions at #3 and Pace would be smart to add the first legit playmaker at safety since Mike Brown by selecting Jamal Adams. The d-line isn’t a priority right now and Adams is BPA at #3 any way!!!
Optimistic as a rule says
I was listening to a radio guest who played on the Packers just before they became good. He shared that the Packers were cycling through so many players just find incremental improvement. That’s what’s going on here.