There are just 16 days until the NFL Draft, and one former Chicago Bears scouting director, Greg Gabriel, just dropped some fairly unexpected (but totally interesting) opinions on the incoming crop of QB prospects:
That makes 11 clubs with a QB need. Bank it, 4 will go in first round. 2 more in second
— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) April 11, 2017
Six quarterbacks hearing their names called in the first two rounds during draft weekend would be alarming, considering the lack of consensus on a top prospect. But it makes sense, in part, because so many teams have long-term needs at the position. The Bears could be included in the mix, but might be better off using their higher picks on better fits at other positions.
- Over at Pro Football Focus, William Moy narrows the Bears’ many needs down to three the team should focus in on during draft weekend. The needs at quarterback, cornerback, and on the defensive line aren’t new to any one, of course, but the way the team could go about addressing them could be creative. For example, it is growing more unlikely by the day that the Bears would draft a quarterback with the third pick … but GM Ryan Pace could be creative if his ideal quarterback drops down draft boards and he’s able to execute a trade to get into the back half of the first round. If not, a player like Nathan Peterman might be worth taking in the middle rounds.
- Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling delivers some surprising names in a list of 10 players the Bears should avoid taking in the 2017 NFL Draft. The group includes potential first-round targets such as Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, as well as quarterback projects Davis Webb of Cal, and Brad Kaaya of Miami. Seeing Allen and Lattimore on this list is a bit jarring, but injury concerns could develop into reasons to stay away from a particular prospect. As for Webb and Kaaya, both are talented (but raw) players who will likely be taken by teams reaching to fill needs at the position with a developmental prospect. However, these are the kinds of players teams reach for in drafts that don’t have certainty at the quarterback position. As much as the Bears have a long-term need at the position, they aren’t in a spot to reach for a quarterback with a high pick.
- Not listed is Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who showed off his arm for ESPN on Tuesday:
— Ron Jaworski (@jawsespn) April 11, 2017
Back to Roling’s list for a moment …
- There are other players on the list who fit certain Bears’ needs, but not necessarily the team’s draft plans. For example, running back Dalvin Cook is one of the most talented players at his position, but the Bears don’t have a need as long as Jordan Howard is projected to be the load-carrying back. Wide receiver Mike Williams will be one of the first wide receivers selected in the draft, but his stock hasn’t risen enough to be included among the three best prospects. The Bears need to hit a home run this draft, much like they did in GM Ryan Pace’s two previous drafts. So using best judgment (and taking the best player available) would be ideal.
- Over at Cleveland.com, Nathaniel Cline looks at how the Bears’ needs could impact the Browns. Cline presents offensive line and kicker as two new needs for the Bears. The Bears aren’t almost certainly not going to draft either position early, but the needs are evident. Even if the Bears don’t draft at either position, they could bring an undrafted free agent to provide some camp competition.
- According to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears recently met with Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram. While the Bears seem set at the position, it’s worth noting – as Cline did in his piece on the Bears’ potential impact on the Browns – that Chicago didn’t get much production out of the position in 2016 and could still stand to add talent. Engram isn’t worthy of consideration of being used with the No. 3 pick, but could grade out to be one of the draft’s better tight ends and could be a value pick early in the second round.
- One of the most intriguing college talents isn’t even draft eligible. Mo Alie-Cox was a standout on the hardwood for Virginia Commonwealth University – or simply, VCU for those of you familiar with March Madness bracketology. Alie-Cox is actually a free agent after going undrafted in 2016 when he was draft eligible. The Bears, apparently, were one of the teams in the mix at Alie-Cox’s workout.
- Ian Rapoport reports at least 20 teams are interested in this 6-foot-6-inch forward-turned-tight end:
NFL teams thus far @ Mo Alie-Cox's workout:
— Lane Casadonte (@LaneCtvsports) April 11, 2017