At long last, draft week is upon us. In just two short days, months of endless speculation will finally be rendered obsolete with an action-packed three days of actual picks taking place.
Before we head to the time honored post-draft tradition of arguing why guys you’ve never heard of are going to be great NFL players simply because your team drafted them (and your team obviously had the best draft of any team), allow me to add my personal contribution to the time honored pre-draft tradition of pointlessly trying to guess what’s going to happen before it happens. Please feel free to mock me next week once we know how hilariously wrong this was.
My main goal here is not to be accurate, per se, but to generate discussion about what types of options are likely going to be considered by the Bears at various points in the draft. The logic behind each pick is going to be explained based on Ryan Pace’s trends at various points in the draft (you can review day 1, day 2, and day 3 here) and what players who fit those trends are likely to be good fits for Chicago’s current offense or defense based on current roster needs. Let’s use this more as a starting point for some intelligent last-minute draft discussion than simply honing in on these seven names.
Also, I’m not projecting any trades, even though I think it’s likely at least one involving the Bears will happen.
Round 1, Pick 8
Tremaine Edmunds, ILB
I think this pick is Quenton Nelson if he’s still there, but I don’t think he will be. Tremaine Edmunds it is. Edmunds is the round one option who best checks both boxes for Pace in round 1: he’s an exceptional athlete with tremendous upside at a position where a high-profile veteran was recently sent packing (two other names to keep an eye out for in that regard are Derwin James and Marcus Davenport).
Edmunds steps in as an inside linebacker with the potential to develop into a star under Vic Fangio.
Round 2, Pick 39
Lorenzo Carter, OLB
Day two means Pace looks to beef up the trenches, and nowhere is the need greater than at outside linebacker. If Carter is still on the board at 39, the Bears should grab him without hesitation. He’s long and athletic, just like Vic Fangio likes in edge rushers.
Of course, Carter might be gone by this point, and I also think it’s likely the Bears trade down from this spot. If they do trade down, I think Uchenna Nwosu is a likely option. He’s one of the few day two OLBs who fit the length and athleticism criteria Pace has set so far without being projected as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick.
Round 4, Pick 105
Michael Gallup, WR
Day three is when Pace has looked for skill position players, and after letting Cam Meredith walk a few weeks ago, WR is now a need.
Enter Gallup as a great fit for the Bears’ new offense at wide receiver, and he’s even a small school prospect, something Pace has shown an affinity for on day three. He can be their 3rd or 4th WR from day one, ready to step into a bigger role if somebody in front of him gets hurt. I’ve seen Gallup projected anywhere from round 2 to 6, but WR is deep this year, so it seems like a realistic option he might still be on the board at this point.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Pace break from his trends a little bit and look for an offensive lineman here since he didn’t get a 2nd day two pick (essentially treating this like the 3rd round pick he doesn’t have). If that were to happen, somebody like OT Brandon Parker or guard Wyatt Teller would make a lot of sense. You could even see him trade up into late round three from this spot using a 6th round pick.
Round 4, Pick 115
Isaac Yiadom, CB
Sticking with the skill positions on day three, CB could use an infusion of youth, especially on the outside behind starters Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara. Yiadom fits the Fangio mold of a tall CB with long arms, and he could compete with Marcus Cooper to be the top backup boundary CB (a competition I think he’d win). Again, it’s hard to project who gets drafted where at this point; I’ve seen Yiadom slotted as a day 2 pick on some sites and a day 3 pick on others.
Round 5, Pick 145
Chase Edmonds, RB
Ryan Pace loves drafting running backs on day three and has invested a 4th or 5th round pick in the position every year so far. Even with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen both in the fold, I think that likely continues. The goal here has to be getting a player who is more of a well-rounded back than Howard (run-heavy) or Cohen (pass-heavy). Enter Chase Edmonds, another small school prospect who’s a good physical fit for this offense.
Round 6, Pick 181
Tanner Carew, LS
Once we hit rounds 6 and 7, Ryan Pace doesn’t seem to value the picks as highly as he does those earlier in day three, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of these last two selections traded away in earlier draft maneuvers. If they stay and pick here, I honestly have no clue what they’ll do. There’s just not enough history yet in these later rounds to find any sort of pattern for Pace.
So hey, why not a long snapper!? We know the Bears have been looking at Carew, and he played for offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich at Oregon. Maybe the Bears could use this spot to land Patrick Mannelly’s heir (now we just need Carew to grow a mullet).
Round 7, Pick 224
Bentley Spain, OT
Like in round 6, I’m completely guessing here. A 7th round pick is basically just an undrafted player you want to make sure is in your camp for a tryout anyway. And it’s possible this pick is traded away.
But we have seen Pace willing to use later picks on developmental offensive line projects like Tayo Fabuluje and Jordan Morgan, so maybe that happens here (or in round 6). When I Googled late-round offensive linemen looking for some names to check out, Spain jumped out to me because he blocked for Mitchell Trubisky in 2016. It’s hard to have any clue what players will or won’t be drafted by this point, so I didn’t do too much research trying to identify any other specific names.
Looking back at my picks here, one thing that jumps out is that the interior OL doesn’t get addressed at all, which doesn’t seem ideal. Quenton Nelson being there for the Bears in round 1 would take care of that, should it happen, or maybe we see an edge like Marcus Davenport taken in round 1, followed by an offensive lineman on day 2. A trade back for more day 2 picks-when Pace has historically taken his linemen-could also help in that regard.