By Wanda Wiedman @WandaW63
For the past two seasons the Chicago Bears have been rebuilding in order to be a playoff contending team. The Bears are a team desperate to regain respect among the league.
General manager Ryan Pace has promised to pick the best available player on the board who can make an immediate impact. So I attempted to think like a GM, keeping the cap space in mind and how this team could redeem itself.
Round 1/3rd pick: S – Malik Hooker (Ohio)
This is tough because there are so many to choose from at this point. Many see Jamal Adams at this pick but the Bears can’t pass up on safety Malik Hooker. In order for the Bears to have any chance of defeating their NFC North rivals this season, they have to address the middle lane. Hooker gives them the best opportunity in Vic Fangio‘s 3-4 defense.
He has great leadership skills, and crazy instincts prior to the play. He has fluid movement in space and mirrors the quarterback’s eyes. Hooker does tend to have balance issues and squats on tight ends or slot receivers, not to mention tackling issues. But he will still be a high-impact player from the get-go.
Round 2/36th pick: QB – DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) or Nathan Peterman (Pitt)
Despite the fact that Glennon has been signed to a 3-year deal, the Bears have to groom a future franchise quarterback. It was a toss-up between Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and The Fighting Irish junior DeShone Kizer. But I would not be surprised if it is Pitt QB Nathan Peterman the Bears take here.
Without breaking the bank, both provide the leadership skills in the pocket the Bears are looking for. Former coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, believes that Peterman and Kizer are the most pro-ready. They both have quick releases. However, Peterman understands the looks of defenses and likes to work through his progressions.
If Kizer is still on the board without having to trade up, the Bears may go with Kizer. Either way they will have their quarterback of the future.
Round 3/67th pick: TE Evan Engram (Ole Miss) *Bears may trade to move up in 2nd round for him.
The Bears tried out several tight ends including top prospect O.J. Howard. Now the Bears will have a healthy Zach Miller back and the addition of Dion Sims from the Miami Dolphins. But the Bears need fresh legs and Engram can be explosive in the first 5 yards. He is quick (ran a 4.42 at the Combine), and a true runner after the catch.
He needs to post up to defenders effectively and improve on working back to the ball. But he would be a great addition to the offense. He would be the smallest of the group at 6′-3″.
Round 4/111th pick: WR Kenny Golladay, (Northern Illinois)
Home grown prospect Kenny Golladay has the height and arm length NFL teams love. Since the Bears let Alshon Jeffrey walk, they are in need of another target that can step into routes and push the line. He shows good instincts in space and works back to the ball which is a big plus.
He does struggle against the bump-and-run corners and tends to hug the sidelines a little more than he should. However, he could be a match up problem in the redzone and has the talent to do it.
Round4/117th pick: OT Julie’n Davenport, (Bucknell)
At 6′-7″ and 318 pounds, Davenport is a pretty athletic guy for his size. He has great football IQ, physical and sticky to the chest. Loves to frustrate an edge rusher and has great leadership qualities. He can get out of space and unravel with his arms. He is inconsistent in his balance and struggles to get back inside.
Davenport also tends to lean into blocks and can generate uneven weight distribution. But he is raw and moldable. He will most likely end up on the right side under Kyle Long‘s mentoring and give the right side some stability once he has shown progress in his technique.
Round 5/147 pick: OLB/DE Dylan Donahue, (West Georgia)
The Bears need an edge alongside Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee and Willie Young. Donahue is a little undersized at 6′-3″ and 248 pounds but he has some straight up lateral agility that gives him a strong presence both as a linebacker or edge rusher. Donahue is a definite sleeper bargain here. He is a speed rusher with a production ratio of 2.58. J.J. Watt had a ratio of 1.20, which means Donahue possesses a sack or tackler for loss per game ratio higher that Watt. So just imagine what he could do as a swing in both positions!
Even though his production of 67 tackles, 20 tackles for loss of 87 yards and 13.5 sacks would look great for a top prospect, it is questionable as to the caliber of competition schools that may have produced such high numbers. His arm length may be a factor against tackles and tight ends, but with training he can build on it.
Round 7/221 pick: P Jake Elliott (Memphis)
After the Bears released long-time Bear Robbie Gould, Connor Barth has tried to fill in for that role. Barth’s numbers has decreased since 2014. His field goal percentage is 78.3 but makes it up in extra points at 96.9 percent. The Bears need a fresh leg and they can have that with Elliott.
Elliott has great follow-through and excellent trajectory. In four years at Memphis had only one blocked kick. He has also never allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown and rarely misses a chip shot. He will have to work on his hang-time as it is below the desired NFL marks. Will need to add more distance at kickoffs. His consistency beyond 50-yards will be an asset to the Bears special teams.
It will be exciting to see when it all comes together. Hoping the Chicago Bears regain the respect they once had and the fire they so desperately want to ignite. BEARDOWN! Go Bears!!
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