The Chicago Bears traded up for the second time in the NFL Draft, this time sliding up to the 112th overall pick to select a defensive back.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 29, 2017
Alabama’s Eddie Jackson was Pro Football Focus’ eighth best safety and 79th best draft prospect overall. So in that sense, getting him with the 112th selection makes him a value pick. He is an athletic free safety who made a successful conversion from the cornerback position. According to Pro Football Focus’ research, he allowed quarterbacks to complete just 49.6 percent of passes from 2014 to 2016 and limited them to a quarterback rating of 49.9 when they targeted him.
Jackson comes with the added benefit of being an experienced punt returner. He returned 11 punts for 253 yards (23 yards per return!) and two touchdowns in 2016. Bears returners struggled to make big plays in that phase of the game, so having a potential asset there who can also play in the secondary makes him the kind of dual threat the team needed to target in this draft.
It was a deep safety class, and it was only a matter of time before the Bears took advantage of it.
In order to move up to take Jackson, the Bears sent the 117th and 197th overall selections to the Los Angeles Rams.