This year’s draft is going to be the toughest that Bears GM Ryan Pace has ever had to go through.
Not having a first or second round pick limits what the Bears can do to replace needs, but Pace has consistently shown that he is one of the best in the league at selecting players on day three. For that reason, I’m not putting it past him to still have a productive draft.
At this point in the draft season, before free agency, I will be utilizing the offseason plan that I am expecting the Bears to follow. This mock draft could be very different in a couple weeks, based on the moves Pace makes on the free agent market.
Round 3, Pick 87: Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
The Bears will be in an odd spot with their first pick in the draft. The talent that will be atop their board does not really match up with their team needs. At this point, the Bears may just look at best player available, and Terry McLaurin may be that guy.
McLaurin would add another weapon to the Bears at wide receiver. Even though he displayed his speed at the combine well, he stayed under the radar. His teammate, Paris Campbell, was the guy everyone was talking about instead. McLaurin ended his day with with a 4.35 40 time that was just four one hundredths of a second slower then Campbell. He looked very smooth in the combine’s wide receiver drills as well.
In McLaurin, Chicago would have a burner who has the great trait of being able to beat the press with ease. Additionally, he was the gunner for the Ohio State punt team, a job that is usually done by defensive backs. His ability to get space in those situations is very impressive.
McLaurin would give Mitch Trubisky yet another asset on the offensive side of the ball, and that should always be welcomed.
Round 4, Pick 120: Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston
If you are looking for a long and rangy corner with all the physical traits that you want from that position, then Isaiah Johnson is the man for you. Johnson was listed as 6’2″, and that height with the long arms that he possesses are pretty scary for a corner. Add that to his dominating of the combine, finishing top five for cornerbacks in the 40 yard dash, broad jump, three cone, and the 20 yard shuttle, and we have an absolute freak on our hands.
Johnson’s film has some highs and lows, and it is clear that he has some work to do technique wise, but that should be expected – he was converted into a cornerback after beginning his career at Houston as a wide receiver. He has shown some growth, but he definitely has some major work to do.
The Bears may not need an outside cornerback at the moment, but the age and durability of Prince Amukamara makes this selection intriguing. The Bears may have gotten lucky this past season with him not getting seriously hurt, but Amukamara has not had a full season since 2013 with the Giants. The team cannot expect him to stay as healthy as he was last year again.
Round 5 Pick 152: Devine Ozigbo, RB, Nebraska
Would it be a NFL Draft article from myself if it didn’t include Divine Ozigbo? He has been my guy for quite a while, and he is going under a lot of peoples’ radar. Not receiving an invite to the Combine did not help him in this regard.
Ozigbo is one of those do-it-all backs – he is not much of a home run-hitter, but he has displayed great elusiveness to gain yards. He also displays the ability to shake off potential tacklers with consistency.
— Dan DeYoung (@DanDeYoung80) January 17, 2019
Stats-wise, there are plenty of things to like about this guy. Lots of fans are loving on Penn State’s Miles Sanders, but Ozigbo was a better rusher than Sanders when you take a deeper look at the stats. A quick look would show that Sanders had more rushing yards, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Sanders finished his year with 1,274 rushing yards, whereas Ozigbo finished with 1,082 rushing yards. But when you add carries to the mix, that is where things change, as Sanders had 220 rushing attempts to Ozigbo’s 155. Ozigbo finished his final season rushing for 7.0 yards per carry, and is somehow still being slept on.
When I watch Ozigbo, I honestly see a Jordan Howard that is built more for Matt Nagy’s offense. While he may not be as powerful as Howard, he is much more elusive, and he seems to be a better receiver than Howard is. The Bears replacing Howard with Ozigbo and another veteran may not be a bad plan.
Round 7 Pick 200: Darius West, S, Kentucky
The Bears wait a little bit on selecting a safety here, but that’s because I believe Chicago will find their answer at the safety position. In this scenario, I’m predicting that the Bears are going to sign Eric Weddle, giving the Bears a leader who can help develop a long-term replacement.
Enter Darius West, a player who has routinely impressed me with both his tape and his work at the Combine. From what I see on film, I see a guy who right now is a great in the box safety. His tape has shown me that he does a great job of flying to the football and making big stops.
The tape does show a bit of a lack of great pass coverage abilities. He sometimes struggles with mental mistakes, but the good news is that the aspects he isn’t good at are teachable. West can learn and improve on them in his first year or two while Weddle or a different stopgap is finishing his career.
Round 7, Pick 216: Donald Parham, TE, Stetson
With their last pick, Pace should take a flier on an athletic talent that you believe you can develop, and no man suits that description more for me than Donald Parham. The 6’8″ tight end is not going to be a big name on peoples draft boards, but he should be given a look.
For a guy who is that tall, he is surprisingly nimble on his feet. He looks like a man amongst boys on tape in the FCS. The Bears have already taken a chance on a player like him in Adam Shaheen, and maybe they do it again with Parham.
The Bears could take a shot on Parham and hope he becomes something special.
Follow Dan on Twitter (@DanDeYoung80) for more Bears news and opinion.