The Bears are sitting directly in the middle of the danger zone in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
Not every team in this range of the draft where the Bears reside can be said to actually be in the danger zone. It depends both on location and team need.
Needing a cornerback and a speed wide receiver, and sitting at No. 20 situates the Bears exactly where they might need to make a decision on gambling with a player's health or making the safe play at two different positions.
The safe play would be a tackle, possibly Teven Jenkins of Oklahoma State or Christian Darrisaw if he fell to them.
The gamble at cornerback could be Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley, a smooth, natural defender who was a receiver at one point. He also has past back issues, which could scare some teams.
Depending on how the draft falls, they could have another cornerback option with the 20th pick. Northwestern's Greg Newsome. is a possibility, although NFL Draft Bible classifies him as a second-round pick. Pro Football Focus' latest mock draft had both Newsome and Asante Samuel Jr. as first-round picks going just after the Bears choose.
Farley had a microdisectomy in March on his S1 disc after he first had a herniated L5. At the time, he had the surgery on his L5 .
"It gave me immediate relief back then," Farley said during his pro day Zoom conference call.
The plan was to let the S1 injury go and it would heal fine on its own, but while training for the draft Farley started having pains.
"It's just an annoying sciatica feeling is what I was experiencing," he said.
So they went with the surgery on the other injury.
Last week players with injury issues converged on Indianapolis for the annual combine injury recheck, even though there was no actual combine this year.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus reportedly assured all the check on Farley went well and some team doctors and trainers told him Farley did well enough "regarding his back and is still expected to go in the first round."
The agent is going to say this. Farley had been very positive about it in March.
"The only negative about the situation is not being able to put up the numbers (at pro day) that I'm supposed to put up," he said.
It's been suggested by more than one analyst that Farley was a good enough cornerback to be taken ahead of Alabama's Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina's Jaycee Horn prior to his back issue.
The Bears under Ryan Pace had early injury issues with Kevin White, his first draft pick—although this ultimately didn't cause White's inability to make it in the league. When Jerry Angelo was GM, the Bears had first-round tackle Chris Williams experience back issues after he had them in college, and he never became the player they hoped.
Would Pace be willing to take a chance on a player who could be a special cornerback? They need this position filled due to the loss of Kyle Fuller because of salary cap issues.
Another injury scenario is before them if they feel the need to take a slot receiver at No. 20, although it's not necessarily common for good slot receivers to go this early.
But Purdue's Rondale Moore has sub-4.4 speed in the 40 and in 2018 was being talked about like a Heisman candidate. Then he had two hamstring injuries spoil successive seasons.
The Bears have followed Moore closely, reportedly talking with him at points in this predraft process.
PFF rates him a first-round pick. NFL Draft Bible not only calls Moore a first-round pick but maybe the second best after DeVonta Smith.
After the Bears had to go through one core injury disaster after another with tight end Trey Burton in 2018, are they going to pursue a wide receiver with hamstring issues even if he has special speed?
Kadarius Toney could offer an alternative but NFL Draft Bible has him rated well behind Moore, although still with a first-round grade. Pro Football Focus doesn't see Toney going in Round 1.
The injury issues cast a bit of drama over the entire mid-to-late first round but the whole thing could simply go away if the Bears were fortunate enough to have one of the quarterbacks drop to No. 20.