One of my favorite events of the league year is coming this Thursday. The 2017 NFL Draft takes place Thursday Night, and the Bears have a very high and extremely valuable draft pick at Number three overall. This pick, as well as the draft class as a whole, could potentially change the direction of the Bears franchise. Lets take a look at how I believe things may play out this weekend.
First Round- No. 3 Pick Overall: Jamal Adams, S LSU
For a long time I had Jonathan Allen at this spot. Allen is an elite linemen who would add another high level player to the Bears already elite defensive line. Then the injury reports came out, with Allen having arthritis in both of his shoulders. While this isn’t the most immediate problem, it can definitely cause issues down the road, and I don’t believe the Bears will want to take a risk if they don’t have to. And they don’t have to because its extremely likely Jamal Adams will still be available.
Adams would be a home run for the Bears. He is an elite safety prospect who has all the intangibles that a team looks for in the draft. One of the best attributes of Adams’ is his leadership capability and potential. He was the leader on an exciting and potent LSU defense and he is a voice in the locker room. This is something the Bears have been lacking on the defensive side of the ball in particular since Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher left town.
On the field, Adams if a force. His performance on tape speaks for itself. Adams’ presence is visible and known. He is a hard hitter in the purest sense of the phrase, breaking up plays before they even start. His leadership skills translate to the field, allowing him to command the secondary. All of these tools that Adams had are holes on the Bears defense, and Adams has the potential to make an immediate impact for our team.
Second Round- No. 36 Overall: Malik McDowell, DT MSU
After passing on an addition to the D-Line in Round 1, I believe the Bears will more than make up for it in Round 2, drafting Malik McDowell out of Michigan State. Many Mock Drafts have McDowell projected going in the late first round, there is a very good chance he falls to the Bears second round pick at number 36.
McDowell is a physical specimen, standing at 6’6″ he ran a 4.85-second 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. This athleticism allows him to break through gaps and get at the QB frequently. While McDowell has the potential to be an elite play-maker one day, there is still a lot of room for improvement. His production took a harsh dip last year, only garnering 1.5 sacks after registering 4.5 the year prior, and because of this I believe he will be available at this juncture for the Bears. Ultimately, McDowell would be a phenomenal addition to an already exciting young defensive line for the Bears.
Third Round- No. 67 Overall: Cooper Kupp, WR Eastern Washington
One position the Bears really subtracted at this past offseason was Wide Receiver, with the team moving on from Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal. Kevin White (if healthy) and Cameron Meredith remain viable options at wide-out, and the team added a little bit of talent back to the position through free agency, but there is still a major hole at the position that needs to be filled to ensure Mike Glennon‘s success.
Enter Cooper Kupp out of Eastern Washington, a player the Bears got a very good look at during the Senior Bowl. Kupp is all over the record books in the FCS, and while the competition is not as fierce, his numbers speak for themselves, going for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns on 117 catches during this past season. In addition to the production, Kupp has an incredible set of hands, always catching balls with precision and fluidity. While he is not as fast as some prospects, having ran a 4.62 40 yard dash, this has never been an issue and he should continue to produce in the NFL. Kupp would be a phenomenal addition to the Bears receiving corps.
Round 4- No. 111 Overall: Jourdan Lewis, CB Michigan
The Bears address their secondary again here getting Jourdan Lewis out of Michigan. Lewis is an elite CB prospect who’s draft stock has fallen due to off the field issues, and provides great value in Round 4 for the Bears. While undersized at 5’10”, Lewis has incredible instincts for a corner and is able to read routes with ease. With Lewis, the Bears yet again address one of the teams biggest weaknesses.
Round 4- No. 117 Overall: Brad Kaaya, QB Miami (FL)
Mike Glennon is supposed to be the bridge to our future Quarterback for the Bears, and the Bears might get their man in Round 4 with Brad Kaaya. Kaaya comes out of a Pro-Style system and has an extremely solid mental makeup, proving that he is a smart passer. While he is tall at 6’4″, he has a lean frame, something that he should be able to work on in the NFL.
Additionally, accuracy of the deep balls he throws needs quite a bit of improvement if Kaaya wants a shot at the starting job. All that being said, Kaaya is a project who is definitely a worthwhile investment at this juncture in the draft. The Bears have already shown interest in him, having met with him at the combine. If he can build on his frame and work on his accuracy with some effectiveness, Kaaya can be the Bears QB1 of the future.
Round 5- No. 147 Overall: Jonnu Smith, TE Florida International
In Round 5 the Bears decide to fill another need: Tight End. Jonnu Smith is an athletic specimen out of FIU. He is not the tallest TE you’ll ever see at 6’3″, but he makes up with it with a blazing fast 4.62 40 yard dash. He is able to create separation with ease at times, something that should become even more consistent over time in the league.
His speed is truly exciting and will definitely translate well to the pro level. His biggest issue is his hands, as he has a tendency to drop balls. It will take some work to improve this, but I believe Smith would be a great addition to the Bears and has the potential to be an exciting play-maker if he can improve his ball skills.
Round 7- No. 221 Overall: Cameron Lee, OG Illinois State
With their last pick in the draft, the Bears add to their offensive line taking Cameron Lee out of Illinois. Lee is a big boy at 6’5″ and 312 lbs, however this leads to poor footwork at times. He has extremely long arms that cap off his NFL frame that also possesses incredible strength. Lee would be a great addition to the Bears offensive line rotation, and the team has already shown interest in him, having invited him for a private visit. If the Bears nab Lee hear in round 7, they will end the draft on a high note.