A team can never have enough pass rushers, and the Chicago Bears figure to add one in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
The Chicago Bears finished the 2016 season with 37 sacks, and they appear to be ready to add more pass rushers in the upcoming NFL Draft. In a pass-happy league, a strong pass rush is key to slowing down the league’s most explosive offenses. For the Bears, a strong pass rush is even more key when you consider they play some guy named Aaron Rodgers twice a year.
The Bears’ pass rush is led by Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee, yet the latter has a lengthy injury history and counting on him to be productive for 16 games is risky. The Bears other main pass rushers are Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, yet both carry some risk as well.
Houston is coming off his second major knee injury in the past three years, and he might miss the beginning of the 2017 season. Young has been a productive player, but his play dipped badly as last season progressed.
A team can never have enough pass rushers, and with seven picks in the draft, the Bears figure to look for more help. Here are some of their options:
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
The consensus top player in this year’s draft figures to be gone by the time the Bears pick third overall. However, if he fell, the Bears should run to the podium with their selection. Explosion, power, and athleticism are just some of Garrett’s strengths, and he should be a Pro Bowl player very early in his career.
Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Barnett’s athleticism doesn’t jump off the page, but his power does. Despite lacking a quick first step, Barnett is able to use his hands effectively to gain leverage and force offensive tackles to lose their balance. After combining for 37 sacks and quarterback hits in 2016, Barnett is quickly rising up draft boards and is a first-round lock.
Carl Lawson, Auburn
With a nice first step and very active hands, Lawson was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC last season, registering nine sacks and 42 hurries. If the Bears decide to move on from Lamarr Houston, Lawson could be the perfect replacement. Lawson is expected to be a first-round pick (but not worthy of the third overall selection), so the Bears would have to make some trades to add him to their roster.
An athletic player, Williams racked-up 22 sacks in only 485 pass rushing snaps in his collegiate career playing against some very good competition. There are some red flags, but Williams would give the Bears a dynamic pass rusher to add to their rotation. Williams is a fringe first/second-round player.
Charles Harris, Missouri
With a devastating spin move, Harris is one of the draft’s best pure pass rushers. Using a quick first step and solid use of hands, Harris usually beats offensive tackles pretty quick. A subpar performance at the Scouting Combine could cause him to slip to the Bears in the second-round.
Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
When watching McKinley, one word comes to mind: explosion. A dynamic first step and terrific straight-line speed make McKinley one of the best speed rushers in the draft. He won’t be great against the run, but as a situational pass rusher, McKinley could register double digit sacks in his rookie season. McKinley has been gaining steam, but he should be picked in the high second round.
While not displaying ideal size or athleticism, Anderson still was a very productive pass rusher in college. He uses his hands well, and has an uncanny ability to avoid blockers and close-in on the quarterback. There’s some risk with Anderson, but his collegiate production should make him a second- or early third-round pick.