With the Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, many fans believe that they have to wait until the fall for football season to start.
Well, I’m here to tell remind those fans that football season never ends. We do, in fact, have the 2019 NFL Draft coming up starting on April 25th.
Last year, the Chicago Bears’ ‘Worst to First’ season had fans thinking a deep playoff run was inevitable. Unfortunately, Cody Parkey had other plans. In attempting to get better after an early January exit, the 2019 NFL Draft is a great opportunity for the Bears to fine-tune the roster to make another playoff push in the 2019 season.
Luckily for Bears fans, April is approaching fast and that means Ryan Pace is getting ready to work more of his draft day magic. I’m going to try to read the mind of Pace and see how close I come to predicting his picks in my first mock draft of the season.
Round 3 Pick 87: Amani Hooker, DB, Iowa.
For some reason, Amani Hooker isn’t considered a top defensive back in the coming NFL draft. As the 2018 Big Ten defensive back of the year, he recorded 65 total tackles, one sack, and four interceptions.
While Hooker doesn’t have insane speed, his football IQ is through the roof. It almost seems as if he is omnipotent, the way he sees plays develop and the way he takes advantage of his gift. He has great versatility while being able to drop back into pass coverage, and being a major threat up front with his insane tackling abilities.
Round 4 Pick 126: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford.
Bryce Love had an amazing 2017 season, finishing with 2118 yards and 19 touchdowns. Not to mention he was the Heisman Trophy runner-up that season. His injury-plagued 2018 season was much less stellar as he finished with only 739 yards and six touchdowns.
Obviously, the major concern with this pick is the injuries. If Love can stay healthy, I believe that he could become a huge part of the Bears’ offense. His blazing speed would help keep the field open even when Tarik Cohen isn’t on it. If he could pack on a few pounds of muscle, he would be a dominant force.
Round 5 Pick 162: Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon
Jalen Jelks had a phenomenal Senior Bowl, and he immediately shot up draft boards everywhere after pancaking Northern Illinois’ Max Scharping. He finished his career at Oregon with 155 total tackles, 30 tackles for losses, and 15.5 Sacks.
His 2018 stats were down from 2017, but in my opinion that should have no effect on Jelks’ NFL potential. His size and speed make him a major threat coming off the edge, which could take some pressure off of Leonard Floyd in the rush game. Playing with and learning from NFL superstar Khalil Mack could help Jelks become a household name.
— Trey Daubert (@treydaubert) January 22, 2019
Round 7 Pick 222: Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
During his tenure at Ohio State, Prince was an extremely prolific run blocker while struggling with the pass blocks. He has great strength and is very aggressive, which is both a pro and a con.
The positive side of his aggressiveness is that he does not let up on run blocks until the whistle. It’s great to see that he could make a huge hole for the backs to move through. The main downside to it is that during pass blocks, he tends to lunge at the rusher rather than staying poised and waiting for perfect moment. Prince’s lunging causes him to whiff on pass sets.
If Prince can start to use his hands and stay patient on pass sets, he should be a great late round pick for the Bears.
Round 7 Pick 238: Cole Tracy, K, LSU
LSU’s Cole Tracy has a big leg and great accuracy, and he also has a history of being extremely consistent. He proved that in 2018, when he went five for five against the Georgia Bulldogs. He would make a great addition to the Bears’ kicking competition, and I have no doubt that he would win.
Follow me on Twitter (@Aburdelik) for more Bears news and opinion