The ebbs and flows of mock draft season have led us to a new consensus No. 8 pick for the Bears in the upcoming NFL Draft.
So move over, Calvin Ridley. Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward is now that dude.
ESPN’s Todd McShay shared his latest mock draft, which has the Chicago Bears using the eighth pick to take Ward and bolster the team’s secondary. McShay’s reasoning behind the pick mentions Ridley’s “mixed combine workout” and a belief that there are better players on the board as why he goes away from the team choosing Alabama’s stud receiver prospect.
By drafting Ward, the Bears would be picking a player believed to be the best cornerback prospect in the draft. Even though he is viewed as undersized at 5-10 and 191 pounds, he has high-end athleticism and elite speed that helped him earn All-American honors in 2017 that makes up for a lack of size and strength. Ohio State has been Cornerback U in recent years, so it’s fair to say Chicago could do worse than picking a prospect from that particular tree.
With Kyle Fuller expected to be back in the fold by way of a long-term contract or by playing under the one-year transition tag offer, locking in a cornerback on the other side of the field would be a smart play.
The wave of mock drafts sending Ward to the Bears is the latest in what seems to be a growing consensus since the beginning of March, which suggests the team will pick a defensive playmaker with its first pick. ChicagoBears.com Senior Writer Larry Mayer rounds up the latest round of mock drafts, in which nine of the 17 mocks culled by Mayer for this exercise have the Bears choosing a defensive player when they’re on the clock with the eighth overall pick.
Four insiders have the Bears nabbing Ward, two have the team taking another cornerback (either Iowa’s Josh Jackson or Central Florida’s Mike Hughes), and three send Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to Chicago.
Because there isn’t an offensive skill position player other than Penn State running back Saquon Barkley garnering much attention as a top-1 pick, it would make sense for the Bears to take advantage of what looks like a draft that is top-heavy with defensive talent.
To be clear, the Bears need help on offense. Rebuilding the wide receivers room is a must. Adding a two-way tight end who can properly compliment second-year tight end Adam Shaheen would be nice. Finding a multi-dimensional running back who could spell Jordan Howard and allow Tarik Cohen available to be that much more versatile would be dreamy. But this doesn’t mean GM Ryan Pace should ignore defense in the draft. And if these mock drafts are an indication of anything, the Bears certainly won’t let the defense lag behind.