The NFL Draft is quickly approaching! The IDP department is breaking down each team post-free agency and what they should look to address in the draft.
The Bears have turned into a very underrated defense under DC Vic Fangio. When John Fox was fired, the Bears got a little lucky and kept Fangio. It was as much a defensive move as anything else as Fangio was getting some interest from Green Bay (although this may have backfired considering Green Bay landed Mike Pettine). This defense has a few holes, but they should be filled through the draft.
Akiem Hicks has been one of the best signings by GM Ryan Pace. Since signing with the Bears, he has put up 100+ tackles and 15.5 sacks across two seasons. Jonathan Bullard will be starting across from Hicks. Bullard was considered a steal when the Bears drafted him in the 3rd Round back in 2016. He has yet to live up to that billing though, totaling 2.0 sacks over two seasons. If he can improve his game substantially during the offseason and play to the level many expected, the Bears will have a scary 3-man front.
Eddie Goldman had a down year for sacks in 2017, only totaling 1.5 sacks. The former 2nd Rounder did put up a career year in tackles, hitting 44.
As it currently stands, Nick Kwiatkowski will be starting across from Danny Trevathan on the inside of this defense. Not particularly scary Monsters. The Bears will add ILB help in the draft, but they seem to like Kwiat so it likely won’t be as early as most expect.
Former 1st Rounder Leonard Floyd has flashed potential but has missed 10 games over two seasons. After letting Pernell McPhee ride Washington’s training tables and releasing Willie Young, Chicago re-signed Sam Acho. Acho was an injury fill-in for the Bears but would compete with former 49er Aaron Lynch to start opposite Floyd. OLB has to be the Bears top priority in the draft.
Kyle Fuller has been a roller-coaster as a pro… Forced into starting duties as a 1st Round rookie, Fuller had a productive IDP season but a rough NFL season. 2016 was forgettable as Fuller missed the entire season with an injury and there were questions about his motivation and whether he would ever play for the Bears again. He put those questions to rest last year as he started all 16 games and compiled 22 PDs. Prince Amukamara was re-signed after a solid year in Chicago. Amukamara is solid. Bryce Callahan will cover the slot.
The Bears are set at Safety. Eddie Jackson proved to be a steal in the 4th Round last year, starting all 16 games as a rookie at FS. The Bears had signed Quintin Demps to start at SS. He lasted three games, giving former 5th Round pick Adrian Amos a shot. Amos hadn’t shown much to that point of his career, playing out of position at FS. He was solid the rest of the season, turning into a very consistent IDP performer. The Bears will likely spend a late round pick to add some depth at Safety, but, barring injury, Jackson and Amos will be the starters next season.
Draft Needs – OLB, ILB & DE
This defense needs to improve at the second level. They need to add a starting OLB and potentially a starting ILB. Depth along the D-line and at the back end would be lower priorities.
The Bears currently own:
1st Round #8 overall
2nd Round #39 overall
4th Round #105 overall
4th Round #115 overall
5th Round #145 overall
6th Round #181 overall
7th Round #224 overall
Chicago was brilliant in free agency. They added a top tier WR in Allen Robinson, a solid receiving TE in [/profiler]Trey Burton[/profiler] and a role WR in Taylor Gabriel. These additions will hopefully provide sophomore signal-caller, Mitchell Trubisky, with enough weapons to see a Jared Goff-type improvement in his second season. It also afforded Chicago ever-important draft flexibility. They can focus on defense now. The defense, while solid, has a few holes.
Everyone has been mocking the Bears an ILB with their 8th pick. Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds are both popular picks. This is shortsighted, however. First off, the Bears seem to like Kwiatkowski. Second of all, they have a far bigger need at a position that requires higher draft capital. Chicago needs to draft an OLB. #8 overall may be a little high to draft Harold Landry, but they need to make sure they get a pass-rusher.
There will be solid ILBs available in the 2nd Round. There will even be serviceable guys available in the 4th Round. Landry and [/profiler]Darius Leonard[/profiler] is a better tandem than Roquan and whatever Edge will be available at the start of the 2nd. If they do take Roquan or Edmunds, the best case scenario for the Bears is [/profiler]Lorenzo Carter[/profiler] drops to the 2nd Round. But they need someone more refined than Carter because they’ll immediately be starting opposite Floyd.
Throwing another wrench in the works is the Saints offer for Cameron Meredith which the Bears decided not to match. Taking a WR at #8 in this class is a REACH. If they take a WR in the 2nd Round, it’s a long drop to the 4th Round. The Bears would be smarter to take a cheap flyer on Willie Snead who now seems expendable in the Big Easy.
It is a little concerning having seen the Bears Draft Hat prominently featuring “Monsters of the Midway.” If they are planning on taking an ILB in Round 1 to carry on the legacy of the Monsters of the Midway, it will hurt their pass-rush.
For more in-depth analysis of these players, you can get the 2018 Rookie Roundup for FREE and read up on the IDP relevant draft prospects.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your favorite team broken down IDP style. Follow me @Ben_Glaser and let me know who you would want the Bears or your team to draft this year!