This space will be updated with information and commentary regarding tonight’s first-round selection by the Chicago Bears just minutes after that selection is made. This will include opinion from two well-respected league guys.
(1) I asked a current NFL general manager what position he thinks is underrated in this draft. “Wide receiver,” he told me. “Don’t be surprised if once the seal gets broken on the position there’s a mini-run.” The belief is there’s no star wideout in this draft but there are at least a half dozen “70 catch guys” (his phrase) in the mix.
(2) Based on some criticism I’ve read, I went back and looked at a few Quenton Nelson games. I didn’t need to. He’s exceptional. But one thing stood out to me: Mike McGlinchey is going to be drafted earlier than many expect.
(3) I asked a former high-ranking NFL personnel man which player will influence the drama Thursday night most significantly. He didn’t even hesitate. It was Lamar Jackson. “I have friends who think he’s the best quarterback in this class. I have other friends who don’t think he has any chance to play quarterback in the league.”
(4) The Saquon Barkley love makes sense. But why does nobody bring up Penn State’s horrendous track record of sending running backs into the NFL. Blair Thomas. Ki-Jana Carter. Larry Johnson. Curtis Enis! All early first-rounders. At some point, it’s not coincidence. Is this a reason not to draft Barkley? No. But is it reason for pause? Absolutely.
(5) Asked both of the aforementioned personnel men what the Bears need? The GM stumbled around and gave me nothing. The other was dead-on. “They need defensive backs that make big plays when they get their hands on the football. And there will be several available when they pick. That’s where I expect Ryan to target and I KNOW that’s what Vic wants.”