Playoff football tends to provide perspective for non-playoff teams. And since the NFL is a copycat league, fans often take mental notes of what Super Bowl contenders have on their roster and start to pine for players like that joining their team and leading it to postseason glory.
As Bears fans, we saw what guys like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Stefon Diggs did during the divisional round and wondered how the Bears could get a player like that into the fold. If the worst-kept secret is the Bears’ need at receiver, a close second is the team’s positioning to fix the position in the draft. However, one pundit believes Chicago could fulfill a different need in Round 1, albeit one that isn’t as big as the one at wide receiver.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s latest mock draft sends Texas left tackle Connor Williams to the Bears with the eighth overall pick. Miller believes the team’s biggest need is at wide receiver, but doesn’t feel as if there is a receiver talented enough to take with the eighth pick. So while finding passable targets for Mitch Trubisky to target is a priority, putting together an offensive line that can protect him is also important.
Miller sees Williams as the draft’s best tackle, someone with good athleticism, a good football mind, and the ability to be a Day 1 starter. Those are the kinds of things teams should probably be looking for when choosing a player in the top-10. Williams is a natural left tackle, but Charles Leno Jr. seems entrenched at the position after signing an extension, and then playing his best season with the Bears. That doesn’t mean the Bears couldn’t use help on the right side of the line, though. Drafting an offensive lineman early might be a best-case scenario for a unit that struggled to stay healthy.
It would be a major surprise (and frankly, a huge disappointment) if GM Ryan Pace ignored the receiver position in back-to-back drafts. So it makes sense the Bears address this particular need in the second round of Miller’s mock with Maryland wideout DJ Moore. The Terrapins’ top pass catcher hauled in 80 passes (from four different quarterbacks!), gained 1,033 yards, and scored eight touchdowns. Moore was on Chris Trapasso’s midseason “All-Underrated Prospect Team” as he displayed his ball skills and a knack for making big plays with big runs after catches.
For what it’s worth, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley is the first receiver off the board going 15th to the Cardinals. Ridley is one of four receivers mocked by Miller to go in the first round. SMU’s Courtland Sutton (16th, Baltimore) and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk (19th, Cowboys) are the others expected to go in the first round with Ridley.