8th Overall – Harold Landry – Edge: Boston College
As I decided to skip the prelude and jump right into it, my first thought as I made this pick was that I know most Bears fans will see this pick and their heads will explode Scanners-style. For those too young to get the reference Scanners was a movie in the 80’s about people with telepathic powers and in the opening scene one challenges the other that leads to a memorable scene that resulted in one of them having their head explode. Go ahead and youtube the trailer if you like.
My guess is most will point to it being a huge reach as most draft experts have him ranked anywhere from the 13th to the 20th best player on their big boards. Well, I don’t see drafting a kid that would have been a possible top 5 and sure top 10 pick if he had come out a year earlier and is arguably the best pure pass rusher in the draft as a reach. Especially when combining his skill with the Bears glaring need at the position he plays.
Yes, his production took a precipitous dip this season but that’s already been explained. In regards to the injury, he dealt with he appears to be over it after having a really good combine and running the fastest 3-cone time tied with Kylie Fitts of Utah among Edge Rushers at the draft combine. In case you don’t already know the 3-cone generally predicts the best Edge Rushers in the draft. Those who time at the 7.0 second time or better have an incredible hit rate. So with the workout metrics, the production when healthy, and the need I don’t see this as a reach for the Bears at all. Just a good sound decision and a likely high percentage hit. Aside from some unforeseen devastating injury, I see no reason to suggest he won’t be a pressure bringing machine.
2nd Rd. – 39th Overall – Isaiah Oliver – Cornerback – Colorado:
I imagine some people will give me crap for this pick too, but although the Bears have all their Cornerbacks back from last season and their two starters from last season locked up to multi-year deals there is no guarantee that the Bears will keep Bryce Callahan past his year or that he’ll be healthy throughout this season. By now we all have learned how important the Nickel Back is. It is essentially a starter. It’s also unlikely Amukamara lasts past the 2 years he’s penciled in at. He has some development to do so playing a limited role in his rookie year should be beneficial. Also, where there’s smoke there’s fire. The Bears have had meetings and scheduled private workouts (Oliver included) with a bunch of defensive backs in particular Cornerbacks. By far the highest number of any other position group so I expect the Bears to pick one at some point.
Oliver fits the profile they like in this defense. He’s a big strong long-limbed corner who was created to play bump and run cornerback in the NFL. He stands at 6′ 0″, weighs 201 pounds, has 33 1/2″ arms and 9 3/4″ hands which should help him re-route Wide Receivers and hauling in errant passes. He has the pedigree too as his father played Corner in Oregon and his Uncle played Wide receiver in both college and the pros. His father was also a track star as was Oliver in high school and he was state champ in several events. His workout numbers reflect that as he ran a 4.5 flat in the 40 at the combine and at his pro day he jumped 35.5″ in the vertical, had an impressive 10′ 6″ broad jump and a 3.94 Short Shuttle (20 yards), as well as, a 6.85 3-cone.
Oliver’s numbers aren’t eye-popping as he has only 3 career interceptions but he did have 13 pass breakups in his last two seasons and 6 in his Freshman season in only 2 starts. According to the media scout community with access to NFL scouts and executives as well as NFL insiders most people in the NFL believe his hands are not going to be an issue. He simply did not get the opportunity as most teams went away from his side of the field. As I said there’s development to be made here.
4th Rd. – 105th Overall – Josey Jewell – Linebacker – Iowa:
This was an easy pick and as a matter of fact, a lot of Bear Mocks in the local blogger scene has Jewell in their mocks at around this spot. I tried to make a case to not do it myself for that very reason as I didn’t want to be someone who piggybacked off anyone else’s inspiration but I just couldn’t do it. It makes all the sense in the world. his value is perfect at this spot and he fits a need and the profile Fangio loves in his Inside Linebackers. He’s tough, instinctive, smart, and a pretty good athlete although not elite like a Patrick Willis. Then again if he were he wouldn’t be available in this spot.
The other skill set he brings is coverage. He has a whopping 24 pass breakups in the last 3 seasons and 6 interceptions. He’s not just a Nickel Backer, however. He is a tackling machine. Had at least 124 tackles his last 3 seasons and 433 overall including 28 for loss. He also is a good (A) gap blitzer which Fangio loves to use as his go-to blitz when he does blitz. Has 10 sacks including 4.5 this past season.
4th Rd. – 115th Overall – Joe Ostman – Edge – Central Michigan:
The Bears double up on edge defenders and pick a small school prospect brimming with potential. At 6’3″ 255 pounds he has the ideal size you look for from today’s Edge players. He’s also put together quite well with an NFL body already. As I mentioned he’s got a nice athletic profile too killing his pro day. He ran a 4.75 40, had a 7.06 3-cone, a 4.32 short shuttle, benched 31 reps, had a 36.5″ vertical, and broad jumped 10’2″. Those are eye-popping scores.
He was very productive too. He was a team co-defensive player of the year and 2nd team all MAC in 2016 and 1st team all-MAC in 2017 where he had 69 tackles, 14 sacks, and 20.5 tackles for loss which was good for a top 5 ranking in that department in all of division 1 college football. Career wise he piled up 26 sacks, forced 8 fumbles, recovered 4, had 3 passes defensed, compiled 220 tackles with 45.5 going for losses in 48 games. If you’re concerned over his dominance against his competition level he did star at the Shrine game practices all week against top school prospects.
5th Rd. – 145th Overall – Tre’Quan Smith- Wide Receiver – Central Florida:
Smith had a very good career over at UCF compiling 2,748 yards 168 receptions, 22 TD’s, and had a 16.4 yards per reception average in 37 games over 3 seasons. Last season Smith had a breakout season with 59 catches, 1,171 yards, 19.8 YPR, and 13 TD’s in 13 games.
He has a nice blend of size, speed, and athleticism that I think attracts him to this regime and eventually gets him picked by the Bears. He stands 6’2″ with very long 33 3/8″ arms and 9 1/2″ hands. He ran a 4.49 40, had a 37.5″ vertical, and a 10.8″ broad jump. He is also a good route runner and very good at high pointing balls which comes in handy on back shoulder throws and 50/50 balls.
6th Rd. – 181st Overall – Offensive Lineman – Geron Christian – Louisville:
Christian is a big kid with long arms that has the arm length teams want in a Tackle prospect. His athletic profile fits what the Bears look for in their linemen. He’s 6’5″ 300 pounds with 35″ arms and 10 3/4″ hands. He ran a 5.33 40 and only benched 19 reps so he does need to improve his strength.
His strength is his mobility and agility but he does have a nice punch and will play with physicality. fit’s in well into the stretch zone scheme the Bears employ. He also seems like he has positional versatility as he looks like he can kick inside too so this makes him a nice swing lineman who you can leave active most games to cover a variety of positions should he need to be inserted until he can compete for a starter position which may be sooner rather than later.
7th Rd. 224th Overall – Chase Edmonds – Running Back – Fordham:
Edmonds fits in perfectly to the Bears offensive scheme as a change of pace 3rd down type of back who can also carry the load as a feature back if called upon to do so. I see him possibly doing so for a series or two right off the bat just to save Jordan Howard‘s legs and Tarik Cohen‘s body from punishment.
He was productive at Fordham, to say the least. in his career, he had 938 carries, 5,862 yards, 6.2 YPC, 67 TD’s, 86 Rec. for 905 yards and an additional 7 TD’s. The production is a reason to be intrigued enough to pick him, but also is the main reason why teams will drop him this far on their boards as overuse is a concern. He did struggle with injury this past season playing in only 7 games and limiting his production to 136 carries, 577 yards, 402 YPC, and 5 TD’s. However, he is well worth the risk in round 7.
The Bears did attend his pro day. He has the profile Bears like in their backs starting with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He ran a 4.55 40, had a 6.79 3-cone time, 4.07 short shuttle and an 11.63 long shuttle. Bears keep their streak alive drafting a running back for 4 straight years with this pick.