Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace has plucked multiple starters in each of his first three drafts, so a fourth successful round of selections could help put the team’s rebuild back on track.
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay has the Bears selecting Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley with the eighth overall pick and becoming the latest addition to Pace’s stable of young talent.
“Ridley is the clear top wideout in this class, with outstanding foot speed and good acceleration,” McShay explains. “He has averaged 16.2 yards per catch this season, but his stats in Alabama’s run-heavy offense don’t reflect his true talent.”
Perhaps that true talent can sign in Chicago. Ridley seems to be a perfect fit for an offense that has building blocks at quarterback (Mitch Trubisky), running back (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen), and tight end (Adam Shaheen). One thing that is painfully missing here is a top-tier wide receiver. Ridley has been on our radar for a while and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on the big stage of the upcoming College Football Playoff.
Ridley represents the first receiver to come off McShay’s board, with the Jacksonville Jaguars picking SMU’s Courtland Sutton with the 27th pick and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk going to the Baltimore Ravens at pick No. 22.
Three receivers going in the first round is different than some of the early mocks we have discussed. But the Jaguars and Ravens – despite being in the thick of the postseason hunt – are in a similar position to the Bears because among each team’s biggest need is a big-play wide receiver.
Here is what McShay’s top-10 looks like:
The draft is months away, but the Bears will still have needs when draft weekend rolls around. Some positions will be of higher need than others, but picking as high as they are projected means the team will have plenty of targets to choose from when they officially get on the clock.