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The 2018 Chicago Bears Draft Class

| April 28th, 2018

Come back Monday morning to read big-picture analysis of the front office’s approach to these three days. For now, here are the newest members of the Chicago Bears with a quick blurb from yours truly.


Round 1 – Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia

Honestly, ten years from now, fans should be debating where Smith ranks among the great middle linebackers in Bears history. That’s what an organization should expect when drafting a player at this position this high. Ryan Pace needs this to be Roquan’s defense for the next decade plus.


Round 2 – James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

Immediate starter. The Bears now have one of the league’s best interior o-lines (Daniels-Whitehair-Long) and one of the league’s three finest offensive line coaches. If he stays healthy, Jordan Howard may find himself in the MVP conversation this season.


Round 2 – Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

A text from a friend in the league: “He was the highest wide receiver on our board.” The Bears gave up a lot to get Miller and will put a lot on his shoulders quickly. Expect him to start in the slot in the opener against Green Bay.


Round 4 – Joel Iyegbuniwe, ILB, Western Kentucky

This most interesting pick of the week for Pace. If the Bears intend to play him inside, he’ll have a near-impossible time getting on the field. But he profiles similarly to Brendon Ayanbadejo – a solid defensive depth piece who excels on special teams. (If he sticks I’m sure I’ll need to Google the spelling of his name just as many times as I did Ayanbadejo’s in his career.)


Round 5 – Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware

Akiem Hicks wore down in 2017. Eddie Goldman has an injury history. Nichols is being drafted to work steadily into the rotation and give these two great players a breather. In 2017 he simply devoured blockers in the middle of a 3-4 line. In 2016, according to Mike Mayock, he showed burst and acceleration getting to the quarterback. Rarely should one have expectations for a fifth-round pick. In this case, have some.


Round 6 – Kylie Fitts, Edge, Utah

Worth the risk for an athlete this impressive at a need position off the edge. Fitts has a terrific chance to be a real contributor to this Bears defense if he stays healthy. The problem? He’s rarely healthy. But it’s the sixth round. Why not? 


Round 7 – Javon Wims, WR, Georgia

A big dude who consistently makes highlight reel catches. Can he separate from pro corners? Doubtful. But with his size and speed, it’s impossible to rule him out of having a plausible chance to make some kind of impact in 2018.

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Round 4 Selection: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Western Kentucky

| April 28th, 2018

I had never heard of this linebacker (edge?) from WKU. So here’s some professional analysis from Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:

Overview

Iyegbuniwe put together a very strong campaign this season, but some of those numbers don’t look translatable on the next level without a lot more work. His speed and athletic ability in coverage are big pluses in his favor. His NFL role may have to be as a backup weak-side linebacker with some cover talent who can become a top special teams worker.

Strengths
  • Rangy, athletic frame
  • Plays with good speed in pursuit
  • Shows early burst in his scrapes to play past climbing blockers
  • Actively searches to strip the football and create opportunities to flip the momentum
  • Finished 2017 with three forced fumbles
  • Very smooth in his backpedal and when driving into space
  • Has athletic ability to warrant consideration as a cover linebacker in subpackages
  • Special teams talent to cover
  • Finished career with 11 tackles on special teams
Weaknesses
  • Gets caught coasting too much when the play is developing away from him
  • Needs to keep the motor activated
  • Slow to balance eyes between blockers and ball-carrier
  • Will need to improve ability to slip blocks on the next level
  • Gets stuck on blocks when he gets squared up
  • Too accepting of his fate and needs to fight it early with a strong punch
  • Awareness in zone coverage can be improved

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