With the NFL Draft just over 24 hours away, we put together our second mock draft this week, in which the Bears snag a QB, and go Big-10 Heavy in 2017.
Round One (3rd Overall) – Jamal Adams, Safety LSU
It’s just about as forgone of a conclusion as any conclusion can be made in the NFL Draft, that the Browns will take Myles Garrett with the first pick in the NFL Draft Thursday evening, and many believe that the 49ers will take one of the two top-rated quarterbacks in the draft, Mitchell Turbisky (North Carolina) or Deshaun Watson (Clemson).
That would mean that my ideal selection for the Bears with the third overall pick, Jamal Adams will be available when the Bears are up to pick with the third selection. If it plays out that way, the Bears should be taking Adams without a doubt. After adding some nice bridge pieces to the secondary this offseason, the Bears now can focus on creating a big and bad defense that can wreak havoc on opposing offenses for years to come. Jamal Adams is the first step in that.
Adams has shown a high motor advancing into the box and looking to punish opposing running backs to this point in his career, and is not afraid to hit anyone. Adams changes gears well, and plays off the blockers to make clean open arm tackles on opposing ball carriers. The Tigers run defense, anchored in the secondary by Adams, was ranked second in the SEC in 2016.
An anchor in LSU’s vaunted defense of the past couple seasons, Adams has drawn rave reviews in regards to his leadership on the field, as well as in the locker room by many of the top draft scouts. Anchoring the secondary, that was one of the worst in football last year, should be concern number one for Ryan Pace and company on Thursday evening, and if Adams is there at three you can expect him to be the Bears top selection.
Round Two (36th Overall) – Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech
Patrick Mahomes threw for 5,052 yards and logged 53 total touchdowns for the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2016, and while Mahomes has garnered a considerable amount of extra attention in the past few months, I still see him falling into the early portion of the second round.
I believe that Davis Webb and DeShone Kizer will go in front of Mahomes in the middle-to-end of the first round of the draft, with Turbisky and Watson going before that on day one of course. If it plays out that way, taking Mahomes at 36th overall is the move for the Bears. Mahomes has a ton of talent, and is obviously going to be a project, but that may just be what allows him to slip to the Bears at 36. Teams in desperate need of a QB on day one, want that QB to play in the not so distant future, sometimes in their rookie season.
Mahomes possesses the size of a prototypical NFL QB at 6’3″, 230 pounds, with an above average arm that when coupled with his athleticism and ability to move in the pocket and make plays with his feet when needed, will allow him to be successful in the deep passing game. Teams will need to stay at home rather than dropping back, because if they give him the space, Mahomes will tuck it and make them pay for leaning back on the deep ball.
With Mike Glennon under contract, the Bears could take their time in transitioning Mahomes into an NFL passer before anointing him the man under center in Chicago. The biggest knock on Mahomes thus far is his poor footwork, and that can be corrected over time, especially if he is not thrust into a starting role immediately.
Round Three (67th Overall) – Chris Godwin, WR Penn St.
A receiver corps that has taken a hit with the losses of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in the past few season has the Bears relying on Cameron Meredith and an huge question mark in Kevin White moving forward. The addition of Markus Wheaton was a nice one, but they still need to address the position in this draft.
Chris Godwin in the third round would give the Bears a receiver who has not only recorded all-conference numbers the past two seasons, but stepped up his performance in bowl games. Godwin caught seven passes for 140 yards and a touchdown as a Freshman in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2014, six catches for 133 yards in the TaxSlayer.com bowl in 2015, and then nine catches for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Rose Bowl against USC in 2016.
At 6’3″, 209 pounds Godwin possesess the strength and agility to transition successfully into the NFL, posting high marks in the bench press and 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine earlier this month in Indianapolis, and has the production to back up the skills in him three seasons with the Nittany Lions.
Round Four (111th Overall) – Jourdan Lewis, CB Michigan
With Jamal Adams in play in this mock draft and likely anchoring the Bears secondary for years to come, taking Jourdan Lewis with the first of two fourth round selections is a nice addition behind the bridge additions that the Bears made to the cornerbacks this offseason. Marcus Cooper and Prince Amukamara will play in front of Lewis, and allow him to develop before being asked to play a major role in the secondary, a luxury that the Bears didn’t have with Kyle Fuller, who has not panned out after being selected in the first round in 2014.
Lewis has received high marks for his excellent instincts and route reading skills from many, and could parlay into a solid corner for the Bears down the line, and at minimum he would be able to cover opposing team’s slot receivers down-field.
Round Four (117th Overall) – Jake Butt, TE Michigan
A pair of Michigan players in the fourth round for the Bears would round out with former Wolverine TE Jake Butt. Butt would have likely been a late second or early third round pick if he had not torn his ACL during Michigan’s Citrus Bowl loss to Florida State. NFL.com now has him going anywhere from the late third round to the fourth round after the injury.
If the 6’5″, 246 pound TE could rebound to his pre-injury form he could be a middle-round steal for the Bears who are in need of a pass catching threat at the TE position after trading Martellus Bennett to the Patriots last offseason. The thought was that Zach Miller would be able to slide right into the starting role and provide comparable production in 2016, unfortunately that never came to fruition.
After being named the Big Ten Conference Tight End of the Year the past two seasons on the strength of 97 catches and 1,200 yards combined, Butt’s NFL size and above average hands would be just what the Bears need, and most certainly worth the risk of Butt not returning to form.
Round Five (147th Overall) – Carroll Phillips, OLB Illinois
During his Senior season at Illinois Phillips earned all-conference honors after logging 56 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. The nine sacks were a team-high, and his 20 tackles for loss was ranked ninth in the FBS in 2016. Nicknamed “Wild Man” Phillips possesses excellent quickness and has a keen nose for the ball, shutting down opposing run games and terrorizing running backs.
Phillips would be an excellent late-round addition to the Bears already developing linebacker core in the future. Phillips would be a project for the Bears, as he needs to pack on some additional weight and strength, and some have even went as far as saying that Carroll’s run-defense technique won’t translate to the NFL. I believe that at number 147 Carroll will be the best available outside linebacker, and has a chance to thrive under Vic Fangio in the not-so-distant future if he can bulk up his frame.
Round Seven (221st Overall) – Travin Dural, WR LSU
With the Bears final pick in the draft, I have the Bears snagging Travin Dural, a wide receiver out of LSU and a former teammate of Jamal Adams in Baton Rouge. Dural missed some time in 2016 with a shoulder injury, and played in a poor passing attack at LSU, and still managed to grab 28 catches, 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Tigers.
If you can look past his undersized hands and his lack of production on the stat sheet at LSU, Dural has great size and speed and could potentially be a threat in the slot, especially if he gets matched-up with a linebacker or a slower nickel-back who he can exploit with his size and speed. Or he can fizzle out, but the size and speed are good enough reason to roll the dice with a seventh round selection.