A 5-11 record last year marked the third straight losing season for John Fox's Chicago Bears, spelling the end of the coach's four-year stint in the Windy City. He's been replaced with former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, who has named former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich his own new offensive coordinator.
Last season, the Bears were willing to give Mike Glennon a shot, but after a 1-3 start they benched him in favor of rookie second-overall pick Mitch Trubisky. Even with the switch, the Bears finished dead last in the league in passing yards and receiving yards per game, but those woes could be offset by the additions of wideouts Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft this year? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Bears hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 8 (No. 8 overall): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Andy Benoit's grade: A-
Vic Fangio is one of the game’s smartest, most nuanced schemers, and two things define a Fangio defense: Blurry zone coverages and nickel packages (almost never dime). A team needs great inside linebackers to do this. Zone disguises start at safety—Fangio likes to keep two back deep—but they’re perfected at linebacker, a position where many defenses don’t think to employ subtle disguises. By playing nickel every snap, even if there are four wide receivers on the field, Fangio places tall orders on his linebackers in coverage. When you have the right ones, it can be great (Remember what Fangio did in San Francisco with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman?), and Smith, one of the most dynamic all-around stack linebackers in this draft, should fill this role successfully.
Scouting Report: He’s undersized, but Smith is also fast and instinctive (which allows him to play even faster). He’ll need to be covered up by a big defensive line, but brings star potential as a 4–3 WILL or 3–4 ILB.
Round 2, Pick 7 (No. 39 overall): James Daniels, C, Iowa
Andy Benoit's grade: A-
Quietly, the Bears have built their offensive line over the years. Daniels, like incumbent Bears center Cody Whitehair, can play any of the interior three positions, and the hope is that he’ll start ahead of free-agent pickup Earl Watford, who would be a so-so starter but comforting backup. Mitchell Trubisky has escapability, but his success will ultimately come from timing and rhythm passing, as well as zone play-action. A nimble interior O-line is crucial for that.
Round 2, Pick 19 (No. 51 overall, via Patriots): Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
This is the tacit declaration that Kevin White is done. He’ll get a chance to compete in 2018, but it’s likely that 2015 first-rounder doesn’t have anything left after three injury-plagued seasons. The Bears, who had no quality wide receivers healthy for much of last season, needed to get a third newcomer after signing Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson and Atlanta’s Taylor Gabriel in free agency. Stylistically, these three wideouts complement each other well.
Round 4, Pick 15 (No. 115 overall): Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
Round 5, Pick 8 (No. 145 overall): Billy Nichols, DT, Delaware
Round 6, Pick 6 (No. 181 overall): Kylie Fits, LB, Utah
Round 7, Pick 6 (No. 224 overall): Javon Wims, WR, Georgia