Need meets availability in the first version of the BearDigest Chicago Bears Mock Draft.
This is the combine version.
The Bears enter the draft with several areas of obvious need, some created by injury, some by salary cap restraints and others from free agency.
They'll try to fill most of them in the draft much, as I did here with the picks available in mock 1.0.
Conspicuous is the absence of a quarterback in this draft.
I had geared up for a late pick, hoping to nab Washington State's Anthony Gordon in Round 6, but he went five picks before the first of two sixth-rounders.
Instead, it's going to be signing an undrafted free agent to come in and join Mitchell Trubisky and another free agent acquisition. The name coming to mind would be James Morgan, the Green Bay native from Florida International.
Without a first-rounder because of the Khalil Mack trade for a second straight year, we start in Round 2 for the Bears. There also is no third-rounder because of the Mack trade.
Pick No. 43
TE Brycen Hopkins
I passed on quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm to take aim at the U-tight end position, which coach Matt Nagy often maintains is the second-most important one in this offense. The Bears can't go another year without someone possessing top athletic talent manning this spot, and Purdue's tight end is an ideal pick. Nothing is guaranteed as far as Trey Burton's return, and this is a player who has speed and skills as well as more experience as a receiver than most college tight ends. Hopkins, the son of a former Illinois and Oilers/Titans offensive lineman, is 6-5, 245 and would need to become a better blocker in this offense because doing some of it is demanded of the U-tight end.
Pick No. 50
WR Jalen Reagor
The Bears badly need more speed at the wide receiver position. The need was so great I considered reaching for Reagor when he was unselected at 43 but was certain Hopkins would be gone and there was one other comparable player available to Reagor in Penn State's K.J. Hamler. The only speed the Bears have on the outside after cutting Taylor Gabriel is Cordarrelle Patterson, who hasn't really fit into the offense at all. Tarik Cohen lines up outside, as well, but is beating linebackers, safeties or nickel cornerbacks for short catches. He's rarely breaking open downfield on double moves and is playing a difficult position. The other receivers -- Allen Robinson, Riley Ridley and Javon Wims -- all ran 4.53 seconds or slower in the 40 and are not deep threats. Reagor provides an instant boost by lifting the lid on defenses. He'll be their version of Tyreek Hill, if he can defeat the habit he has of taking his eyes off the ball to check upfield. The Bears need a Z-receiver and Reagor is a perfect fit at this spot because he not only is extremely fast, but for a 5-10 receiver he goes vertical as well as anyone.
Pick No. 144
CB Stanford Samuels III
In this mock they seemed to be poised to select safety Antoine Brooks Jr. here but he went two spots ahead and there is a cornerback need now after Prince Amukamara was cut for salary cap purposes. This pick would have undoubtedly gone for a lineman until the roster cut. You're not going into the NFL season with an undrafted free agent and CFL player fighting it out for a starting cornerback spot. Florida State's cornerback is the son of Stanford Samuels Jr., a former cornerback for the Seminoles. In the past two seasons Samuels has made six interceptions and 11 pass breakups. At 6-2, he's ideal height and has a good reach. However, he needs to add some strength and be more physical than his current 185 pounds. He's a versatile defender, and although underweight for pro football he is a willing tackler. He played safety earlier in his career. They'll throw him into the mix with Kevin Toliver II, former CFL player Tre Roberson and possibly another free agent acquisition and see if they can come up with a starter from the group.
Pick No. 160
The symmetry is beautiful here as the Bears lost one Oregon guard and bring in another one who has a reputation for dominating along the line of scrimmage. Lemieux has been projected as everything from a late first-rounder to a seventh-rounder. A recent downgrade from Pro Football Focus because he allowed 14 QB pressures last year didn't help his mock stock. He isn't the menacing bully who overpowers but has the ability to do it at times. His technique in zone blocking is outstanding compared to many others, and his speed should be favorable at the combine. A first-team Sports Illustrated All-American, he considers run blocking his greatest strength. At 6-foot-4, 317 pounds, he is ideal size for a guard. He is known for high character and intelligence, qualities the Bears have valued more and more under Pace.
Pick No. 165
Trey Adams produced at Washington and is ideal size for a tackle at 6-8, 317. He's too tall to be shifted inside and will stay at tackle. Despite his great height, he's said to use his strength well as a run blocker and is a natural pass pro tackle with his long reach. The reason the Bears could find a player of this skill and athletic ability this far down is a red flag. He missed too many games with injuries in college, first an ACL tear midway through the 2017 season and then a bulging disc in 2018 that required surgery and led to 10 missed games. He played the last four after the surgery and rehab. Then he played all last season effectively.
Pick No. 197
It's possible in the draft he'll go higher but in this mock he was still there after making 13 sacks and 25 1/2 tackles for loss in his career as a 6-4, 268-pound edge rusher. He is perceived to be athletic enough to drop into coverage if needed, although it wouldn't be a strength. The Bears drafted Kylie Fitts in the same round out of Cal to try to fill this role of being a backup edge rusher, but he didn't work out. They could use more production from backup rushers to give Leonard Floyd and Khalil Mack some rest at times.
Pick No. 201
Pace has found safeties in Rounds 4 or later before, and he'll attempt to do it again as the Bears try to replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Stone is a physical 5-10, 210-pounder from Iowa who has ability to get back in coverage or fit up near the line in run support. Some scouting services insist he should have returned for his final year of college, but in Round 6 here it's worth a shot. So he most likely will require some development.
Pick No. 234
A 6-5, 233-pound inside linebacker who made 135 tackles in two seasons and was cut from the David Montgomery leadership role as a leader by example. He played throughout his college career on special teams.