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Bears Draft Notes: Risk-Reward With Thomas, Crazy Safety Depth, Pass Rush Help, Butt’s Scouting Report, More

NFL Draft

Exactly one month from now, we’ll be staring directly at Day 2 of the NFL Draft after already discussing what the Chicago Bears did with their first-round selection. Or perhaps selections, if the team was bold enough to trade into the back end of the first round, or trade back from pick three.

We’ll see what happens …

  • There is a particular amount of risk that comes with every draft pick, especially when it comes to top-five picks. Stanford’s Solomon Thomas is a talented defender who projects to be off the board early and could be a fit for several teams at the top, including the Bears. Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes the Bears have to weigh the high-risk, high-reward factors when it comes to Thomas, whose tweener status casts a shadow of doubt on his upside. Thomas said he believes he can play in any system, which would be a boon for Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his creative 3-4 scheme. But Thomas would be undersized and unfamiliar with certain positions along the front seven, which would be a cause for concern and something the Bears (or whoever drafts Thomas) to work on and get squared away before Week 1. It would be a tall task, but one that could be worth it if Thomas is the dynamic playmaking pass rusher he seems to believe he is and can be.
  • Thomas is one of many high-profile pass rushers who will be available in April’s draft. Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo breaks down the top pass rushers from each side of the field. Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett projects to be the top overall pick, and for good reason, as he’s all over the top of the charts here. However, there is depth at this position and it’s something the Bears could keep in mind on draft weekend. For example, Trey Hendrickson of Florida Atlantic had the best pass rush productivity (often against left tackles) by PFF’s standards – but is rated 11th among defensive ends and a projected third-round pick, according to CBS Sports.
  • Quarterbacks often have a high boom-bust rate, so it’s no shock that three quarterbacks are among this crop of the NFL Draft’s riskiest prospects on offense. The list includes three of Mike Mayock’s four highest-rated quarterbacks (including top dog DeShone Kizer), his top-rated running back (Leonard Fournette), and a top-five tackle (Jermaine Eluemunor). We took a bit of a dive into Mayock’s most recent rankings update here and observed some of the safer picks on the draft board here.
  • Michigan tight end Jake Butt doesn’t make the boom-or-bust list, but there is risk involved when taking a player coming off an ACL injury suffered in his final collegiate game. Even still, Butt is one of the draft’s top tight end prospects. The PFF analysis team has a scouting report on Butt, who could provide excellent value as a pass catcher. While the Bears invested a significant chunk of change on unproven tight end Dion Sims in hopes he develops into a dual threat at the position, depth at that spot is still a concern. And even though Zach Miller graded out as one of the league’s better pass-catching options at tight end, he will play in his age 33 season in 2017 and is coming off an injury-shortened 2016.
  • Over at Pro Football Weekly, Kevin Fishbain takes a look at the deep crop of safeties – many of whom the Bears could have an eye on (for obvious reasons) in April’s draft. Safeties have been traditionally undervalued in the draft, but that could change in 2017 with the high-end level of talent and increased need to stop playmaking receivers and tight ends. The Bears added to their safety depth when they signed Demps this offseason, but the team still lacks a secondary playmaker with upside and playmaking potential, which puts the Bears in a spot to make a play on a player such as UConn’s Obi Melifonwu, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers (who had an awesome pro day), and LSU’s Jamal Adams, among others.
  • Speaking of Adams, teammate Tre’Davious White had high praise for his former secondary running-mate:



Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.