Last time I guessed what the Bears draft board looks like, I didn’t think a quarterback was on it. Now, not only do I think a QB is on it, I think it revolves around the position.
The more I thought about it, the more quarterback made sense for the Bears. It’s the biggest need on the team and there are players who are absolutely worth the third pick (especially if Jared Goff was worth the first pick last year). The signing of Mike Glennon buys them time and, if Glennon plays well, they won’t have trouble trading him for a first round pick next offseason.
Which QB the Bears may like is anybody’s guess. And people have guessed everybody. Within the span of five days, Eric Galko of Sporting News went from writing that Deshaun Watson was their favorite to tweeting that they preferred Patrick Mahomes. The next day it was reported that the Cleveland Browns were convinced the Bears were going to take Mitchell Trubisky. Nobody knows and anybody who says they do is full of it.
After quarterback, the Bears biggest need is probably cornerback, followed by defensive line, safety and offensive tackle, at least among the positions they could take early. The Bears can get good players at other positions later. We don’t know if they can get another quarterback.
Here is the final pre-draft big board, minus only consensus first overall pick Myles Garrett.
10. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Considered by many to be the best offensive tackle in the draft, the raw former University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point player could lock down one of the Bears offensive tackle spots for the next decade. Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie are OK, but the Bears’ pursuit of Ricky Wagner made it clear they’d like an upgrade.
9. Ruben Foster, LB, Alabama
This would obviously be after a trade back, but the Bears have shown interest in Foster and it makes sense. Danny Trevathan has a long injury history and is coming off of yet another major surgery. Jerrell Freeman turns 31 next week and is one mistake away from a lengthy suspension. Nick Kwiatkoski is still an unknown. After that, it’s John Timu. If his off-the-field issues check out, Foster gives them a lynchpin and a building block.
8. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
I just don’t think he’s the kind of athlete Ryan Pace tends to target in the first round. Going back to his days in New Orleans, Pace’s teams have tended to draft excellent athletes in the first round. Adams is an adequate athlete, but I have major questions about his explosiveness. His vertical jump ranked in the eighth percentile and his broad jump would be the worst of any safety a Pace team has drafted other than DeAndre Houston-Carson.
7. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
I don’t know if a more complete tight end has entered the draft. Would be higher on the list if the Bears hadn’t signed Dion Sims, but I wouldn’t blink if he ended up being the pick, either at three or after a trade down.
6. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.
Conley would be the top cornerback in most drafts. Has size, length, athleticism and ball skills and I fully expect him to be among the first 10 picks.
5. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Like Adams, I just don’t think Allen is the kind of athlete Pace covets. I’m not as sure on this one because the Bears were rumored to be interested in DeForest Buckner last year and Leonard Williams the year previous. Neither tested exceptionally well athletically but unlike safety, defensive line doesn’t demand elite athleticism. Pace has still shown a tendency to prefer players who are either huge or athletic there and Allen is neither.
4. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
The Bears tied an NFL record for fewest takeaways last year. Hooker was elite at attacking the ball while it was in the air last year and has been compared to Ed Reed. The depth at the position in the draft is why I think the Bears will ultimately look to fill the void on Day Two.
3. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
The Bears have gone after several top cornerbacks in the last two years and Lattimore is among the best corner prospects to enter the draft in the last several years. He has everything you could want. We don’t know about his hamstrings, but NFL teams have a much better idea. If they check out OK for the Bears, they’re OK for me. Like safety, the Bears can get a high-end starter later in the draft.
2. Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford
Not a need, but too nice of a luxury to pass. Thomas is an elite athlete who can rush from a variety of positions. He and last year’s first round pick Leonard Floyd would compliment each other perfectly. He’s raw, but the Bears have some very good coaches to work with him.
1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
This is my guess regarding the quarterback the Bears want. Watson fills most of the qualifications Pace has spoken about publicly and it’s extremely difficult to argue against his success at the collegiate level. It isn’t all about the Alabama games, but that tape is as close as we get to seeing a player in a big time NFL atmosphere and Watson passed with flying colors. I think Watson is one of the five best quarterback prospects to enter the league in the last decade.