Bears load up on impact players in ESPN’s new 7-round mock draft
The Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to the Carolina Panthers for a haul, and they’re still in a prime position at ninth overall.
ESPN’s Jordan Reid unveiled a seven-round mock draft featuring all 259 picks, which includes 10 selections for the Bears.
While there are a number of needs to address, the biggest no doubt along the defensive line — at tackle and edge rusher — as well as offensive line and cornerback which are addressed in this mock.
When all is said and done, the Bears make 10 picks in the NFL draft Here’s a look at each pick:
Round 1, Pick 9: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With their first pick in the draft, Reid has the Bears targeting a top offensive tackle in Georgia’s Broderick Jones at No. 9. He’s the first tackle off the board over guys like Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr.
Here’s what Reid said about Jones:
Don’t be surprised if Jones is the top offensive tackle off the board. I continue to hear his name in this range. General manager Ryan Poles covets length and physical traits, and Jones might have the most upside of the tackles in this class. The interesting dynamic about this is that Braxton Jones, a fifth-round pick last year, showed promise as the starter at left tackle. Would Jones slot into the right or left tackle spot here? It’s a great problem to have for a Chicago team that continues to remodel its offense around quarterback Justin Fields.
The Bears have a need at offensive tackle, where Braxton Jones is currently penciled in at left tackle while Larry Borom is a placeholder at right tackle for an incoming draft pick. Jones can play either left or right tackle, so it’s a matter of where Chicago deems him fit.
Round 2, Pick 53 (from BAL): EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
Chicago doesn’t pick again until No. 53, and they use that selection to address defensive end with Notre Dame edge rusher Isaiah Foskey.
Here’s what Reid said about Foskey:
General manager Ryan Poles should use assets toward a defensive line that struggled last season. To put into context how bad the Bears’ pass rush was a year ago, safety Jaquan Brisker led them in sacks — with four. Foskey put up 11 in back-to-back seasons for the Fighting Irish.
The Bears had the worst pass rush in the NFL last season, managing just 20 sacks in 17 games. And, to make matters worse, they didn’t significantly upgrade at the position in free agency. Chicago needs a rookie who can step in immediately as a starter and be an impact contributor. That could be Foskey.
Round 2, Pick 61 (from CAR via SF): CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
With their second pick in the second round, the Bears address an underrated need with Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents at No. 61.
Here’s what Reid said about Brents:
Kyler Gordon bounced back and forth between the nickel and outside spots as a rookie, and it will be interesting to watch which position he plays during his second year. Drafting Brents to play alongside Jaylon Johnson would give the Bears another young option in a secondary that needs a second option to emerge. At 6-3, 198 pounds, Brents is a perfect fit outside in coach Matt Eberflus’ scheme.
While the offseason discussion has focused around the needs at defensive and offensive lines — and rightfully so — cornerback is also a position that needs to be addressed. Jaylon Johnson is the only proven commodity while Kyler Gordon, who played both outside and nickel, ended his rookie season on a high note. Brents is someone who could be paired with Johnson on the outside and allow Gordon to play exclusively in the slot.
Round 3, Pick 64: DT Zacch Pickens, South Carolina
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Reid has the Bears addressing defense with three consecutive picks with the selection of South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens at No. 64.
Here’s what Reid said about Pickens:
After going offensive tackle for the Bears at pick No. 9, I’ve projected them to address their defense in three straight picks. They need help along the interior of the D-line, and 6-4, 291-pound Pickens would provide an immediate boost to a unit that lacked talent a season ago.
The Bears only have two defensive tackles on the roster in Justin Jones and Andrew Billings, so they need to add a couple in the draft. Matt Eberflus is still in search of a disruptive 3-technique to power his defense, and Pickens could be the guy.
Round 4, Pick 103: IOL Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
Chris Gardner/Getty Images
The Bears address the offensive line for the second time in the draft with the addition of Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg at No. 103 overall.
There are plenty of questions surrounding Chicago’s offensive line, the most pressing issue being tackle, but center is a position that also bears monitoring. Cody Whitehair is currently slotted at center, making the switch from left guard following the addition of Nate Davis.
But Whitehair is an aging veteran who could be on his way out, making the way for a developmental prospect in Stromberg, who could hopefully be Justin Fields’ long-term center. He’s also the kind of mauler this offensive line needs.
Round 4, Pick 133 (from PHI): DT Karl Brooks, Bowling Green
AP Photo/Kyusung Gong
The Bears address defensive tackle for the second time in three draft picks with the selection of Bowling Green’s Karl Brooks, who has the versatility to play either tackle or end in a 4-3 defense.
As previously mentioned, Chicago only has two players on the roster at defensive tackle, which means it’s a position that could be addressed a couple of times in the draft. Eberflus employs a defensive line rotation, which means they need to get bodies in that room.
In this draft scenario, we could both Pickens and Brooks get looks at both 3-technique or 1-technique, given their versatility.
Round 5, Pick 136: WR Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
USA Today Sports
The Bears finally take a skill position player in the fifth round with the addition of Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson with pick No. 136, giving Fields another offensive weapon to play with.
While wide receiver isn’t a pressing need after the addition of DJ Moore — who joins Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool — it’s never a bad thing to add more weapons for your young quarterback.
Hutchinson was a standout player during the Senior Bowl, where offensive coordinator Luke Getsy got an up-close look. He’s got good size, is a solid route runner and can play outside or in the slot.
Round 5, Pick 148 (from NE): S Rashad Torrence, Florida
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago makes its second move in the secondary with the addition of Florida safety Rashad Torrence with the No. 148 pick.
The Bears are set at safety with starters Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker, but it’s never a bad idea to add depth, especially given the injuries to the secondary last season.
Long-time Bear DeAndre Houston-Carson remains unsigned, so Torrence would join former seventh-round pick Elijah Hicks as key depth at safety and as a special teams contributor.
Round 7, Pick 218: NO PICK
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Reid’s mock draft indicates that the Chiefs possess the Bears’ top selection in the seventh round, which is inaccurate.
Reid has Kansas City selecting Miami tight end Will Mallory with that No. 218 selection.
Round 7, Pick 258 (compensatory): WR C.J. Johnson, East Carolina
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
With their final selection in the NFL draft — a compensatory selection — the Bears add another wide receiver in East Carolina’s C.J. Johnson at No. 258, one pick ahead of Mr. Irrelevant.
Johnson presents as a sleeper in this wide receiver draft class. He makes things difficult on defensive backs and is good at picking up yards after the catch, and he’s a willing blocker in the run game. But Johnson does struggle with separation and isn’t the fastest guy. Still, he’s someone worth taking a flier on in the seventh round.
[lawrence-auto-related count=3 category=417188052]