Needs: So many needs. A ton of needs. The Bears aren’t drafting at No. 3 overall because of bad luck — it’s because they have a bad team, and Chicago could pretty much pick a player at any position and justify it. The most pressing needs are on the defensive side of the ball — defensive line and cornerback stand out, but safety, and inside linebacker aren’t exactly overflowing with talent either — but Chicago coulda also use a few wide receivers, a tight end, a couple of offensive linemen, and a quarterback.
Picks: First Round (3), Second Round (36), Third Round (67), Fourth Round (111,117), Fifth Round (147), Seventh Round (221)
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Bears have needs all over the field, but it’s amazing how much better a defense becomes when one side of the field is shut down. That’s what Lattimore could do at the NFL level — he has all the physical traits of a lock-down corner, and while there are injury and experience concerns, the Bears cannot pass on what is clearly the best player at a position of extreme need
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DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Kizer has the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft class, and frankly, I don’t see it as being all that close. He’s a somewhat infuriating prospect, because he can make all the throws, and then some, but at times finds it nearly impossible to complete a five-yard toss into the flat. Still, it’s shocking that he looks like he could fall out of the first round as the fourth (!!!) quarterback selected. The Bears signed Mike Glennon in the offseason, but he’s clearly a stop-gap option under center — Chicago can move on from him whenever they want. That said, he gives the Bears an opportunity to draft a quarterback who might need a year on the bench, as Kizer does. He has an incredible arm, prototypical frame, is lauded for his intelligence and comes from an offensive system at Notre Dame that should make his transition to the NFL level much easier. If this guy is available at the start of the second round, the Bears have to take him.
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Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
Chicago’s move to a 3-4 base defense last year was — let’s go with shaky. The difficulty in transition was particularly evident on the defensive line. The Bears' need for a nose tackle (0 or 1 technique) and at least one 5-technique is huge. Don’t be surprised if they address the defensive end issue early — perhaps with Alabama’s Jonathan Allen at No. 3. But when it comes to a nose tackle, there isn’t a Day 1 pick to be had. In fact, the first true 0 technique might not go until the third or fourth round. That player might be Tomlinson, who was consistent and sound and an unsung hero of one of the best collegiate defenses in recent memory. He can handle two gaps, is adept at tossing off guards to snag a ball carrier, and will also provide some pop on passing downs — he easily could be a three-down nose, a rarity in the league. Oh, and he might be the smartest player in the draft. Chicago would be wise to cash in an extra pick to move up to land him in the second round.
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Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State
Five of the top six scorers in the NFL last season were kickers. A great kicker can change an offense — meanwhile, Chicago has Connor Barth, who is replacement-level at best. Gonzalez is a day 2 talent who might fall to day 3 because of the stigma around drafting a kicker early (particularly after Roberto Aguayo’s struggles last year.) He went 16-for-16 inside of 50 yards and 7-for-9 from 50-plus his senior season. He’s a weapon and for a team that’s looking to land long-term weapons, he’s worthy of a mid-round pick.
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Joe Mathis, DE, Washington
A late-round pick — Mathis is a strong scheme fit for the Bears’ defense, as he can play both standing up and with his hand on the ground. He was tremendously productive in his senior year, registering 20 hurries on 114 pass rushing snaps and showing stoutness against the run, though the small sample size, because of injury, has significantly hurt his draft stock. He’s not particularly athletic or twitchy, and the success that he had wasn’t against the best competition, but as a pick in the 200s, he could well be worth the gamble — he can be a depth outside linebacker with the upside to be a starter down the line with good coaching.
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