It's All Right to Trade Up for Another Position

One very reliable mock drafter has a unique spin on the situation the Bears face and sees them trading up in the first round
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Mock drafts are a dime a dozen this time of year or even cheaper.

Some carry a little more weight than others, though.

In his latest mock this week, ESPN draft guru Todd McShay has the Bears making a realistic draft move and taking wide receiver Kadarius Toney from Florida.

"Chicago is likely out of reach to trade up for a top-five QB, at least without completely leveraging the organization's future," McShay wrote, before describing the explosive Toney and adding "...he isn't polished."

It's entirely possible the Bears will go for a slot receiver after the way they've shopped around Anthony Miller. McShay's choice falls in lock step with this thinking.

With the way the Bears have been rushing around the country looking at slot receivers or visiting virtually with them, it seems unlikely they'd get beyond Round 3 before they take a slot receiver as they look to bolster offensive speed.

However, this isn't the best pick spotted this week among mocks.

Most of the mocks seem to be pushing the Bears toward the offensive line and some have been more interesting in their approach than others.

Pro Football Focus has the Bears selecting Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC. They cite his PFF grades, which is always a bit dubious as it's more an act of self-perpetuation and self-promotion than explanation. 

However, on the offensive line their numbers are as good as anything else stat-wise for measuring blockers. Until someone produces something better, it must suffice.

No one doubts Vera-Tucker's ability, but PFF refers to him as a left guard and all spring has been listing guard as a Bears need position. Now they have the Bears taking one in the first round. 

They should know if this happens there will be massive rioting in Chicago for taking someone who plays what might be the team's strongest offensive position.

The Bears have guards growing out of their ears: Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Alex Bars and the two rookies they drafted in Round 7 last year. Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson can both be guards or tackles. 

What the Bears lack is an authentic physical tackle, left or right.

PFF describe sVera-Tucker and cite his 32-inch arms as a reason he should be a guard, and they are right. So this is an entirely unrealistic pick for the Bears.

You'll get more realism from mock drafters who do mock drafts successfully, and there are two in particular you should know if you already don't.

Both TheHuddleReport.com and NFLDraftplex.com have mock drafters who could be described as the best at this moment.

Forrest N Long of The Huddle Report has the highest five-year average of accuracy based on the mock draft contest his website runs. It's a competition which usually includes many of the best at this guessing game. Ryan McCrystal of Draft Ace is second in five-year average and Ben Standig of The Atletic-DC is third average-wise over the last five years.

Forest N Long's pick for the Bears is Teven Jenkins of Oklahoma State, another tackle. This pick was made in a mock with Mac Jones as the falling quarterback and not Justin Fields or even Trey Lance. In this mock, Jones went at No. 15 to New England and that makes a ton of sense considering the long-time relationship Bill Belichick has with Alabama coach Nick Saban as well as the lack of a real Patriots future quarterback.

Jenkins is one of the better tackles and the Bears need tackles, although it might be a reach to go for him at No. 20.

The most intriguing mock pick made was by Jason Pruett, the 2020 champion of the mock draft competition who is with NFLDraftplex.com.

Pruett took Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech for the Bears.

What's so unique about this? It is true everyone and their brother has had the Bears drafting Darrisaw, who might be the second-best tackle in this draft. BearDigest.com has had Darrisaw going to the Bears in a mock.

It wasn't just that Pruett selected Darrisaw. He took Darrisaw by trading up four spots with the Arizona Cardinals to do it.

Everyone in Chicago assumes the Bears will trade up and pick a quarterback. If they dealt up to No. 16 but did it to take the second-best tackle in the draft, it would hurt their chances at filling one or two need spots with talent. If the trade up cost picks in the future, it would be fine. However, some teams don't want future picks.

Pruett revealed his thinking when I reached out to him about the selection.

"While the Chicago fan base would probably prefer the Bears be trading up for a QB, being within striking distance of Darrisaw, generally considered the No. 3 tackle and in a tier all his own, might prompt a move — especially with the Colts, also needing a left tackle, lurking right behind them at No. 21 and liable to jump ahead of them with their own trade up into the late-teens. So consider this preemptive.
"The Bears could perhaps stay put at No. 20 and hope that Darrisaw gets there, opt for Alijah Vera-Tucker (likely a better NFL fit at guard) if he doesn't, or wait until Day 2 to address the position, but this move would ensure that the top pure LT still on the board comes to Chicago."

The need for a preemptive move is real and it's also the kind of thing Ryan Pace does. We've seen it with the Mitchell Trubisky trade up.

Considering the Bears haven't successfully drafted a tackle early in quite a while, this is sound draft stategy.

If you're watching mock drafts closely for direction on what might happen with the Bears, you could do much worse than looking for Pruett at NFLDraftplex.com and the mocks at TheHuddleReport.com.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven