It’s about that time folks. The first day of the 2018 NFL draft is one day away. We are about to see the future of the National Football League and it’s something that every team looks forward to. This year, all the attention is on the top four or five quarterbacks that have been discussed since the end of the college football season. The Chicago Bears are not in that position though, but they are in a high enough spot, drafting eighth overall, that their first round pick SHOULD make an immediate impact, barring a trade.
Before the NFL free agency period opened up, analysts and mock drafts had Ryan Pace, the general manager of the Chicago Bears, targeting Calvin Ridley. He was Alabama’s number one receiver and considering the woes at that position for Chicago, it was a logical pick. Then the team went out and signed Allen Robinson to a three-year deal. That meant that Chicago didn’t necessarily need to use their first round pick on a wide receiver. So, where does that leave them?
As of right now, there are three likely people that the Bears are going to target according to analysts everywhere: Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Each of these players have been linked to the Bears and they all have a chance to make an immediate impact on the team.
The most-talked about player has been Nelson. It’s no secret that the Bears offensive line needs some help, especially after the team decided to part ways with Josh Sitton. The website of the Chicago Bears released an article detailing which person from which publication chose whom the Bears would be selecting at the eighth overall pick.
Of the 21 reporters, nine of them had the Bears selecting Nelson. Most of them have the same reasoning; Nelson would be reunited with his old coach, he’s most likely the cleanest player in the draft and he’s going to fill a giant hole for the Bears. It wouldn’t be a flashy pick, but it would definitely make a lot of sense. Should this occur, then the Bears would have, according to Charles Davis at NFL.com, “the makings of an all-pro interior O-line: Cody Whitehair at C, Kyle Long at RG, and now Nelson at LG.” They are definitely wanting to protect second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and upgrading the offensive line would be the best step. Of course, there are other options.
One of the other options would be to upgrade the defense, specifically the cornerback position. It’s not a question that there are some phenomenal corners in the draft, highlighted by Denzel Ward of Ohio State and Josh Jackson from Iowa. On the Bears website, five analysts have Chicago selecting Ward.
It’s definitely a strong move, as Ward has blazing speed and would provide significant depth for Chicago outside of Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara. Not to mention that the Bears’ rivals in the NFC North all have quarterbacks that are not going to hesitate to throw the ball deep. Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins are all throw-first quarterbacks that tend to make life brutal for opposing defenses. The Bears need someone who is going to defend against this, or it’s going to be a long season.
Finally, staying with the defense, the Bears would be wise to look at Edmunds from Virginia Tech. According to the Chicago Tribune, Edmunds has drawn comparisons to a former Chicago legend, Brian Urlacher. Being in the same sentence as one of the newest members of the Hall of Fame is always a good start. Edmunds is quick for a linebacker, posting a time of 4.54 seconds for the 40-yard dash.
Some even believe that Edmunds could be a steal, which would make more sense to draft him. He appears to be a good fit in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s system. He is young, but immensely talented. There is always a risk picking a player that is considered raw by most measures, but at number eight, the Bears need a difference maker.
Adding any one of these picks would immediately upgrade the Chicago Bears. It remains to be seen whom they are going to pick, or if they are going to move up or down in the draft. Whatever the case is, the first day of the NFL draft is going to be interesting and not just because it’s the Year of the Quarterback.
My personal guess: The Bears are going to take Quenton Nelson and continue to solidify that offensive line. It will give a chance for running back Jordan Howard to do some real damage and protect Trubisky. Are the Bears going to content this year? They might have a shot at a wild card, but the continued development of their young players is more important. This team will be fun to watch though.