Who are some options for the 2-9 Chicago Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft? Find out in this complete seven-round mock draft.
At this point, the 2017 NFL Draft is the next time that the Chicago Bears figure to be relevant. At 2-9 they are far away from being anything close to competitive this season. Injuries certainly played a role in the Bears’ awful season, but this is a team that desperately needs more talent at key positions on the field. Simply put, it is time for the Bears and their fans to look ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft.
General manager Ryan Pace has done a nice job of collecting young talent on the roster the past couple of offseasons. That being said, it has not led to much on-field success. The pieces are in play for a quick turnaround in Chicago, but they simply must do well in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Sep 24, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
EDGE, Texas A&M
The Bears have an obvious need at the quarterback position. They will undoubtedly be looking into the top signal callers in the 2017 NFL Draft class, as I did while making my considerations with the third-overall pick. However, landing the top prospect in this draft class according to most in the industry was far too tempting.
The quarterback position is obviously extremely key in today’s NFL where the passing game is king. That being said, having an impactful pass rush is arguably just as important. Enter Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett.
Garrett is a relentless outside rusher who blends and incredible combination of speed and athleticism. He gets an explosive jump off of the snap and shows the necessary skills to pressure the quarterback with consistency. Make no mistake about it, Garrett is the kind of player who can come in and dominate on Day 1.
His ability to convert speed to power on the outside is incredibly impressive. His game is undoubtedly built on quickness and athleticism, but Garrett is also an extremely strong player on the edge. His pass rush skills are what make Garrett a potential first-overall selection, but Garrett is also strong against the run. He shows incredible natural instincts against the run, seemingly always putting himself on a position to make a play.
Simply put, Garrett is an outstanding natural defensive play-maker whose skills translate extremely well to the next level. Pairing him with 2016 ninth overall selection Leonard Floyd would give the Bears an incredibly talented and scary pass rushing duo for many years.
Oct 22, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Sidney Jones (26) in action against the Oregon State Beavers during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Washington won 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
I really had my eye on Norte Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer here in the second round. Kizer is a talented passer who would be a great franchise quarterback for the Bears to groom. Unfortunately, he was taken by the San Francisco 49ers just one pick before Chicago was on the clock.
However, Washington cornerback Sidney Jones is a great alternative. Landing Jones in the second round would be an absolute steal. He is an extremely aggressive and athletic cornerback prospect who appears to have a bright future at the next level.
Jones is a bit on the small side (6-0, 181 pounds), which does not typically line up with what defensive coordinator Vic Fangio likes in his cornerbacks. That being said, he has good arm length and is a physical. He plays bigger than he actually is.
His ability to play a mix of coverages is also a major plus for Jones. He excels in press man, off-man and zone coverage a majority of the time. He has the necessary speed, quickness, toughness and athleticism to defend many different types of receivers.
Jones is a lock down defender who can stick with anyone, but his ball skills are his most impressive traits. Jones shows incredible timing and natural instincts in coverage that allows him to consistently make plays on the ball. At the next level, Jones will not only be able to knock the ball down, but I expect him to create a lot of turnovers.
The cornerback position is an absolute mess for the Bears. Tracy Porter is a decent veteran and Kyle Fuller still has some ability, but they do not have anything close to resembling a number one corner on the roster. Jones would immediately give them that kind of upside.
He is a tenacious and talented cornerback prospect who would immediately make a huge difference in Chicago. The Bears have greatly improve their pass defense through the first two rounds of this mock by selecting two top-notch players.
Oct 8, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Safety, Ohio State
The Bears continue to improve their defense, specifically their pass defense, with their selection here in the third round. Ohio State safety Malik Hooker is extremely raw and inexperienced but he has the talent to be an absolute star at the next level.
Hooker is an extremely active defensive back who shows elite-level coverage skills. He plays a center field role in the Buckeyes defense, continually making plays on the back-end. The redshirt sophomore has only been a major contributor at Ohio State for one season, but he has immediately stood out on the field. Hooker is a quick athlete who makes plays from sideline-to-sideline.
He shows incredibly natural coverage skills and is a ball hawk from the safety position. Hooker does a fantastic job of creating turnovers, which is something that any NFL coach can obviously get behind.
Hooker has not shown much in run defense this season. He does not come up into the box too often and he does not do a great job at taking the correct angle to the ball carrier. That being said, he is a sure tackler, seemingly always finding a way to get the ball carrier on the ground.
A smart and athletic player with incredible natural ball skills, Hooker has a bright future in the NFL as a coverage safety. The Bears not only land a big-time talent in the third round here, he would also fill a major position of need.
Sep 3, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Eastern Washington Eagles wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) makes a touchdown catch against Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Samson Ebukam (3) during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Eagles won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington
The Bears’ situation at the wide receiver position is rather interesting. Alshon Jeffery is a true No. 1, but he has struggled with injuries and is set to become a free agent this off season. The Bears will undoubtedly make a run at Jeffery in free agency, but it is far from guaranteed that he will be back. 2015 seventh-overall pick Kevin White would ideally replace Jeffery if he moves on, but he can’t seem to stay on the field.
White is incredibly talented and guys like Cameron Meredith and Marquess Wilson have shown flashes, but at worst the Bears could use some wide receiver depth. In this mock draft, I was keeping an eye on nice value selections at the wide receiver position. With the third pick in the fourth round, I found just that.
Cooper Kupp does not have a big-time pedigree, hailing from Eastern Washington University, but he is an extremely gifted and productive receiver. Listed at 6-2, 215 pounds, Kupp has great size for the position and he controls his body extremely well. Kupp is a precise route runner who has shown the ability to make an impact both out of the slot and on the outside.
Kupp has strong athletic traits, including impressive leaping ability, and is an extremely smart receiver, but he does not have breakaway speed. There is plenty to like about Kupp, but he is never going to be a big-time deep threat. He is a wide receiver who has a knack for getting open and has a reliable set of hands. His lack of speed is not ideal, but Kupp makes up for it in other areas of his game.
Kupp has been a big-time performer through all four years at Eastern Washington. In fact, he is the all-time leader in receptions (402), receiving yards (6,061) and receiving touchdowns (68) in the history of FCS football.
A top-notch possession receiver whose skills should translate well to the next level, Kupp would be a fantastic target for whoever is slinging passes for the Bears in 2017 and beyond.
Nov 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Chicago Bears helmet during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Tackle, Western Michigan
When healthy, the Bears have a strong starting trio on the interior offensive line. Josh Sutton, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long match up well against any starting interior line in the NFL outside of Dallas.
That being said, their offensive tackle duo of Charles Leno and Bobby Massie leave plenty to be desired. Leno and Massie both represent a ton of upside at left and right tackle respectively, but they simply do not perform well on a consistent basis. At worst, the Bears need to find some players who can come in and compete with their starting tackle duo in 2017.
With their extra fourth-round selection acquired from a second-round trade down situation with the Buffalo Bills last year, the Bears land a guy who can provide said competition. Enter Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton.
Moton is a big and powerful right tackle who is probably the best player on an impressive Western Michigan offensive line. Moton is an absolute beast in the run game, consistently dominating the man lines up across from him. Moton is undoubtedly a mauler whose game is based on strength, but he also has the quickness to reach the second-level with consistency.
While he is a dominant run blocker, Moton is not quite as impressive in pass protection. He has good athleticism and quickness to allow him to keep up with quick edge rushers, but his technique and footwork is sloppy. Moton simply must clean up his pass protection at the next level in order to have success. That being said, the skills are certainly in place for him to at least be an above average pass protector in the NFL.
He is not a perfect prospect, but Moton is a powerful blocker who can come in and contribute at right tackle right away. Not bad for a mid fourth-round selection.
Nov 12, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Luke Falk (4) drops back for a pass against the California Golden Bears during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 56-21. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback, Washington State
Waiting until the fifth round to draft a quarterback is probably not what Bears’ fans are hoping for in the 2017 NFL. However, here we are and I do not think it ended up being too bad. Jay Cutler is simply not an option the Bears can count on at quarterback any longer. Cutler continues to be completely unreliable and inconsistent. Both sides are probably best off going their separate ways at this point.
Know that I had quarterback as a major need for the Bears throughout his mock draft. However, I never had a strong opportunity to land a franchise guy in the early rounds.
Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer were available with the third-overall pick, but I feel like taking either of those guys over Myles Garrett would be a major mistake. Perhaps Mitch Trubisky, but he was already off of the board (first-overall to the Cleveland Browns).
As I mentioned earlier, landing Kizer in the second round would have been fantastic, but I still feel like I landed great value in Sidney Jones. No quarterback prospects stood out over any of the players who I took in rounds three or four, but Washington State’s Luke Falk sure did here in the fifth.
Falk is an interesting quarterback prospect who has legitimate starting upside at the next level. The redshirt Junior has ideal size for the position, standing 6-4 and weighing in at 214 pounds. He does not posses the strongest throwing arm, but Falk has a strong overall skill set that should play. Great accuracy and a lightning quick release immediately stand out while watching Falk. He also shows nice mobility both creating extra time inside the pocket and making plays outside of it.
Falk is not an elite-level quarterback prospect, but he is a good player who has some nice upside at the next level. He may not exactly be the guy who the Bears are hoping for, but at worst, Falk should be a strong backup option. Pretty solid value choice here in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
November 27, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose State Spartans tight end Billy Freeman (18) scores a touchdown against the Boise State Broncos during the second quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Tight End, San Jose State
Zach Miller has been a strong option for the Bears at the tight end position the last two years. That being said, he is far from an elite-level player.
The Bears have some interesting young tight end prospects already on the roster. Guys like Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown certainly have some upside, but it is not like they are set at the position long-term.
With that in mind, I decided to take a flyer on a tight end for the Bears in the seventh-round. The choices are pretty slim at this point in the draft, but I’m happy with the selection of San Jose State’s Billy Freeman.
Listed at 6-3, 234 pounds, Freeman is going to have to bulk up a bit to deal with the grind of the NFL up front. That being said, he is a smart and reliable receiver who can certainly make some noise in the middle of the field.
Freeman is not the most naturally athletic tight end in the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he is relatively quick for the position. He also runs great routes and has consistent hands. Freeman is the kind of receiver who simply has a knack for getting open.
While Freeman will undoubtedly have to bulk up to be a successful run blocker at the next level, he did show success in that department in college. He is a strong player who shows great blocking technique for a tight end.
A seventh-round selection is not expected to move the needle much, and Freeman is not an exception. That being said, he is a solid prospect who has some nice ability at an obvious position of need. Landing Freeman in the seventh would be a good move for the Bears.