Predicting the NFL draft is about as an exact science as predicting a career path or your 5-year-old child. Equal to it and possibly even more impossible is getting inside the head of an NFL General Manager, and of an entire organizations thought process on putting together a draft board and how they set up in the draft war room come draft day weekend. However, there are some tools an outsider even a small time blogger and scout wanna be like me can use to make a somewhat educated guess that can kind of make sense.
I’m going to stick to a 5 player per round blob to cut down on time although a real draft board will likely have at least one player per position in every round. The reason for this is because the possibility of a trade either up or down so teams will have value established by position in case of a trade. This makes my job harder as I can’t predict trades so I’ll just stick to the current format of how many picks and where they’re at per round that the Bears currently have. With the exception of the third round of course, which I’ll just have to go with the best possible five players I think will fall in that round as the Bears do not currently have a third.
The number one tool that a guy like me can use is to stick to the integrity of your evaluation and trust that you are worthy enough to grade players the same way an NFL scout can. Watch the tape and grade them preferably the same way scouts do with a number system to determine value. Also using coloring as a way to identify and separate top talent from the mid-tier all the way down the rung to the mediocre. Establishing value gives you a way to identify a group of players that you feel will fall to a certain team by round, and order in each round.
I’m going to use the numerical grading system that Dan Shonka uses who is an ex NFL Scout and runs Ourlads Guide to the NFL Draft. It is as such:
|Grade||Round||Ourlads Description||PowerHouse Grade|
|9.99-9.00||1||First-year starter (except QBs); talent to contribute early; impact player||R1+/R1, R1-/R2+|
|8.99-8.00||2||Eventual starter; probable first-year starter; minimal development time||R1-/R2+, R2/R2-|
|7.99-7.00||3||Good backup; upgrades marginal starter; eventual starter with development time||R3|
|6.99-6.00||4||Solid backup; ascending skills & production; good upside based on measurables; needs development time||R4|
|5.99-5.00||5||Upgrades marginal backup; moderate deficiency in skill; developmental size/speed prospect; consistent producer||R5|
|4.99-4.00||6||Upgrades roster depth; deficient measurables or size/speed prospect with inconsistent skills/production||R6|
|3.99-3.50||7||Upgrades size/speed at position of need; borderline pro skills; has a chance to develop||R7|
|3.49-3.00||PFA||Developmental prospect with draftable qualities||PFA|
|2.99-2.50||FA||Free agent with height, weight, speed, or another special asset||FA|
|2.49-2.00||Camp||Emergency player for camp||NR|
Another tool is to look at team needs. Sure, you want to go with the best player available and not pigeonhole yourself to one particular need or position, but need sometimes does dictate how you draft. Especially if you have several drafts under your belt and your depth is good. Even with a stacked roster you still want to stick to a BPA philosophy (Best Player Available) because it pushes starters down the depth chart which increases the depth and possibly even establishes trade value to acquire even more picks to increase your cost control depth. However, positional need many times establishes a tiebreaker with equally rated players. So no matter the circumstance situational need always plays a part in it. Unless of course, the talent level of an unexpected player falling to you is so vastly far apart from the rest of your players on the board, you would be a fool to pass said player up.
Another indicator to use is a teams draft tendency. How an organization values players. Some organizations draft players to fit rigid schemes for their coaches, some draft ceiling guys early and floor guys later, and others the opposite. Some go for more projection picks they feel they can develop into stars others go with players who are more developed. Some draft guys that play in big-time programs while others go with the small school guys maybe in later rounds for value sake to increase more high ceiling talent on their rosters. Some draft more defensive superstars and stock up on offense in free agency because one coach likes established players to start in a complex scheme while the other is better at developing and using younger players. There are many ways to go in this and thus why it is not an exact science. Many variables exist from team to team and from year to year. Some teams like the Patriots are as unpredictable as the weather and some as predictable as the tides. So using this very unexact format I will try to predict how I view the Bears draft board looking like in every round of the 2018 draft.
1.) Bradley Chubb – Edge 8.99
2.) Harold Landry – Edge 8.89
3.) Lorenzo Carter – Edge 8.82
4.) Joshua Jackson – Cornerback 8.75
5.) Roquan Smith – Inside Linebacker 8.75
1st Round synopsis: What no Quenton Nelson? No Saquon Barkley? Where the hell is Minkah Fitzpatrick? Surely they must be on the Bears draft board in case they fall? Yes, it is possible one of them fall, however, I don’t think the Bears would pick them over the five I have on the board even if they were on the board. At least I wouldn’t if I were running the Bears draft. As I mentioned earlier the number one thing I will be relying on is my eyes and my evaluation. I also took need into account as well and then the type of athletic profile the Bears will be looking at in their players given the coaches and Ryan Pace’s past draft history.
I feel Chubb is the highest rated on the board because of his floor. I know the first round isn’t about floor, but he does have upside too. Almost a sure-fire legitimate impact starter. The only thing that gives me even the slightest pause is that I’m not sure Chubb can be a player who can win on the Edge as a dominant pass rusher. That is the Bears biggest need and there is no debate. Not only are they in need of bodies at the position but they are in need of a bigtime playmaker.
That’s why I have both Landry and Carter on the board. I know most people look at them as a colossal reach at 8 but clearly I’m seeing something different. Think both have blue-chip potential. Landry a little more refined as a pass rusher with nice bend and very good with his hands at shedding would be pass protectors. He’s also underrated in the running game and holding the edge. Clearly, he was affected by the ankle injury and it worsened as the season went along and he wanted to play through it. He began well and was on pace for a monster season before that.
Carter is an absolute monster. All you need do is put on the Notre Dame video and see what this kid is all about. When he was sent after the Quarterback he is a load combining speed, power and amazing agility and quickness to make him almost an unblockable opponent. He sure was against Notre Dame this past season and Notre Dame had one of the most talented and well-coached blocking units in the 2017 college football season. Just ask the Bears as they hired the architect of that blocking unit Mr. Harry Heistand. His athleticism on tape was confirmed at the combine as he scored a perfect 10.0 RAS (relative athletic score). To put it in perspective Myles Garret known as the freak show scored a 9.98 RAS score.
Jackson is probably the cornerback that fits the Bears the most. He’s a big strong aggressive ball-hawking press corner out of the Big Ten. Yes, they paid both their Free Agent starters from a year ago to return on multi-year deals and they tendered Bryce Callahan. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t look to the future while pushing the incumbents and maybe even allowing him to steal some snaps in the slot and maybe even the outside should someone get injured or be ineffective and get benched.
Smith may be the best non Quarterback leader in the entire draft. He’s been drawing a lot of comparisons to Ray Lewis due in large part to that leadership ability and the quarterback of anyone’s defense. Not just that but he is an outstanding Linebacker with versatility and speed and athleticism to roam sideline to sideline. He also boasts insane instincts and diagnostic skills making it nearly impossible to get him out of position on play action and misdirection. He can also cover and blitz the Quarterback making him a 3 down Linebacker. Smith completes my board making it an all defensive board after addressing the bulk of their free Agent money to give Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky some playmakers on offense.
Round two is another round where you go more ceiling than floor, but also gets harder to find blues the further you get into the draft as the pool thins out. Obviously. However, in this draft, there isn’t a big difference from round one to the second. Not because it’s so deep in top talent like last seasons draft was but more even across the board. This is a round the Bears may trade into in a trade down in round one or even out of their 2nd round pick for more picks later. Perhaps trying to recoup that lost 3rd rounder from last seasons Trubisky trade with San Francisco.
1.) Michael Gallup – Wide Receiver 8.62
2.) Isaiah Oliver – Cornerback 8.59
3.) J’Won Moore – Wide Receiver 8.52
4.) James Washington – Wide Receiver 8.46
5.) Arden Key – Edge 8.39
2nd Round Synopsis: Day two of the draft and in this round, in particular, is where I see the biggest run on Wide Receivers happening. The wheelhouse round if you will. You’ll probably find the best value match right here. Wide Receiver is still a need for the Bears who just lost Cameron Meredith to the Saints. As a matter of fact, I still see it as the second biggest need on the Bears roster.
Gallup is a tough, physical, smart player who should fit in well with the Spread Coast blend the Bears will run because of the option routes and the timing based anticipation routes. he’ll make big-time catches and explosive big-time runs after the catch for you at the next level. One of my very favorite prospect regardless of position in this draft.
Washington had some doubt amongst the draft media community with his ability to run routes and the understanding of route concepts and sight reads but he disproved a lot of that doubt at the senior bowl week practices routinely beating the top senior Defensive Backs in the nation. He already came with the reputation of being a big play guy downfield.
J’Won Moore is another big play receiver and a great athlete with good size who can win 50/50 balls downfield and is a big-time red zone threat. Moore has WR1 traits and will assuredly profile to at least a WR2 at the next level.
Oliver like Jackson is a perfect fit in Fangio’s scheme as he is a big, long, physical Cornerback who can play in your shirt press/man and is very willing in run support. has a very high football IQ to diagnose offensive formations, personnel groupings, and route concepts as well as intent. Oliver looks like an easy evaluation and a clean prospect with a clear value match at this spot.
As for Key, if he’s there, whether or not they pick an Edge round one they have to consider him strongly. Why not go Edge back to back? The need is as such and position important enough to warrant it. A lot like Landry he gets bum-rapped for his effort and willingness to set the Edge in the run game but I see no such thing in his tape. If he came out last year he could have been a top 10 pick and possibly the second top Edge player next to Garrett. He’s one of the few athletes that play with easy bend that fits perfectly for an Edge Defender.
There is the leave of absence issue and his being overweight but it appears he checked into a rehab clinic for Marajuana addiction due to his trying to deal with depression that explains that.
There’s also the unauthorized shoulder surgery he had against LSU’s medical staff’s diagnosis that said the surgery wasn’t needed. That appeared to be a case where he didn’t trust the staff, thinking LSU just wanted his production and he felt it was best for his future to get it cleaned up before the season so more damage didn’t get done. That is an issue that needs to be considered but in round two not as big of a risk as round one. Other than that he is seen as a good kid and a hard worker.
Yes, I am aware the Bears do not have a 3rd round pick, however, you still set the board just in case you acquire one. There is a better than good chance the Bears do in fact acquire a 3rd at some point in this draft. You can still get a lot of red graded players in this round that can eventually turn into blue chippers. Of course, any player taken from anywhere can ultimately become any color grade. Hell, Kurt Warner went from grocery bagger to Hall Of Fame Quarterback. This draft is no different.
1.) Orlando Brown – Guard 7.99
2.) Dante Pettis – Wide Receiver 7.85
3.) Ian Thomas – Tight End 7.81
4.) Tyrell Crosby – Guard 7.81
5.) Dorance Armstrong – Edge 7.69
3rd Round Synopsis: This round is still loaded with starter quality players and it was extremely hard to narrow down to just five as there were much more worthy of this slot. However, I did separate the pack with need as being the qualifier here. On board are two Offensive linemen, one Tight End, one Wide Receiver, and one Edge.
The two linemen I included are both tackles who project more to guard due to their athletic profile. At the pro level, their athleticism matches up with the Bears scheme inside, but not so much outside against the Edge players they’ll be going against. This is blatantly true of Brown who had one of the worse athletic performances in combine history. So much so it knocked him out of being a sure-fire first round pick to being on the Bears Board in the 3rd.
His work ethic was brought into serious focus, but he’s worth the risk here. A very large man who takes up a lot of space and will likely improve his habits once he gets into a pro locker room and an Alpha takes him under his wing. Brown does not appear to be a bad egg as much as just lazy and being able to the away with it at the college level. He may not be the best fit in the Bears blocking scheme, but he is a first-round talent in the 3rd round should the Bears acquire one.
The other tackle turned Guard is someone Bears Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich should be familiar with and that’s Oregon’s Crosby. This may not be the most talented Offensive Line drafts in memory but it is one of the nastiest. I don’t believe I’ve seen a group this nasty before. Especially in the interior. It is a very talented interior group of linemen just not so good on the outside and some of the outside guys will be Guards at the next level which just adds to the talent at Guard and Center. Crosby is very much a part of this nasty group. Not just content in executing the block but practically executing the defender to death by driving him to the ground in very rude fashion.
In Thomas, you have perhaps the best specialty Tight End in the draft. basically a hybrid between Split-End playing that U Tight End spot Matt Nagy refers to when describing the Move tight End in his offense. It’s a very important role in this offense and Thomas may be the best prospect at that spot in this draft. He definitely profiles as being one of these players that project to being better at the next level because of coaching and a better Quarterback not to mention scheme.
Pettis is the son of Former centerfielder with the Angels Gary and he plays Wide Receiver with the same tracking skills as his father did in the outfield. He comes from a very athletic family so his athleticism is in his genes. He did not test at the combine or his pro day, but his athleticism is evident on tape. If that isn’t enough he was a star basketball player and track athlete in high school. Pettis is one of the better go route Wide Receiver in this draft due to that tracking skill and should serve Trubisky well with his excellent touch passing and accuracy downfield. Pettis also is one of the best punt returners in the draft and could even oust Cohen from those duties and have him concentrate more on being a Running Back and sometimes slot option as a receiver in nickel package. So there’s added value there. He’s also very tough and will be an asset in the run game as a downfield blocker. has a nose for the end one as he had a whopping 15 Touchdowns as a receiver this past season with two more on punts.
Armstrong was a kid on the fast track to the first round but regressed a little. His athleticism is a question at the position, but he does move well and has that bendability you look for from an Edge Defender. He is a value match here and a need fit in case the Bears pass on an edge in the first or second or even both which I don’t see. Perhaps some top-notch coaching from Fangio can get this kid back on track to being one of the best Edge prospects and realizing that potential.
Again, for time’s sake I have limited myself to five prospects per round, however, since the Bears have two picks in this round I have included ten prospects. Five for each pick. This draft is not top heavy with elite talent but is very deep at certain positions with good solid starter like talent in every round. On day 3 the Bears could be lucky enough to find not only the depth they seek as well as special teams contributors but even maybe a few future starters.
1.) Jeff Holland – Edge 6.99
2.) Holton Hill – Cornerback 6.99
3.) Austin Corbett – Guard/Center 6.87
4.) Josey Jewell – Inside Linebacker 6.86
5.) Anthony Miller – Wide Receiver 6.86
6.) Keke Coutee – Wide Receiver 6.81
7.) Duke Dawson – Nickel Cornerback 6.81
8.) Parry Nickerson – Cornerback 6.79
9.) Kalen Ballage – Running Back 6.66
10.) P.J. Hall – Defensive Lineman 6.61
4th Round Synopsis: My number one player on the board is a player that I am truly dumbfounded about in regards to how little Holland is talked about. Especially in a very weak Edge group. I actually have him as my 5th best option here. Perhaps it’s because of his athleticism which isn’t elite although certainly not bad. Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t have the body of an Adonis. However, his tape is an absolute delight. He’s very physical and plays snap to snap with his hair on fire. He never gives up on a play until the whistle blows. Doesn’t matter how far away he is from the ball and in a lot of circumstances it pays off as the ball sometimes finds its way back to him to make the play.
The next player, Hill, is someone who would be graded much higher if not for some of the concerns about him being a knucklehead in the locker room and off the field. He was off to a good start this past year before being suspended from the team for violating team rules. Before that, he had already garnered some character concern. On the hoof, he’s everything you want from a press corner. Aggressive with great size (6’3″ 200) and length. He ran under 4.5 at the combine at that size too. Also has a high IQ on and off the field. Showed off his agility with an impressive 3 cone time of 6.83 and looked fluid in drills. The Bears could get a 2nd round talent on day 3 if they pulled the trigger ignoring some of the character concerns that come with him.
Corbett is a player that will convert from Left tackle to Guard. He has enough athleticism to play tackle in college but perhaps not so much at the next level. His shorter levers also probably kick him inside. He is a solid technician and a very heady player. Many project him to Center because of it so he has value with positional versatility where he can play all 5 spots in a pinch. A poor man’s Cody Whitehair if you will. So if the Bears aren’t happy with Jordan Morgan‘s progression and feel Corbett would be better at center and Whitehair at left guard they could move those chess pieces around. It is more likely they have Corbett as depth and a developmental piece possibly taking over for Kyle Long down the road more so than being a starter this season. He does have some strength questions that he could work on in sort of a redshirt type scenario while also pushing Morgan to be a better player as camp competition.
Jewell I think gets a lot of grief for his lack of athleticism but he isn’t exactly a slug. No, he isn’t a size/speed freak like Brian Urlacher or a burner like Patrick Willis but he may very well have the best instincts at any position group in the entire draft. Certainly at Inside Linebacker where I feel that is probably the most crucial element needed to succeed as an inside linebacker. He can play every down in any situation at the next level at a high level. I feel he could be an incredible bargain here if the Bears don’t feel Nick Kwiatkoski is the guy moving forward as the Bears starting Sam side Inside Backer.
Many people have my next guy on the board as an easy day 2 pick and most have Miller in the second but I don’t see it. I do like him. He’s competitive, tough and smart, but he drops too many balls to warrant a day 2 grade and he also appears to lack the size to compete outside on a regular. I feel you can move him outside dependant on the right matchup but he isn’t going to beat the #1’s and 2’s at the next level with consistency and that puts him as a Wide Receiver 3 or 4 and mainly as a slot at the next level which projects him to a day 3 pick on my board.
The next guy on the list may be even more of a limited player than Miller because Coutee seems to be a bit less developed and less able to hold up against the physicality of the game due to his size. However, what he does offer is incredible speed and quick twitch and the ability to blow the top off as well as take a quick In route on your own 20 and take it 80 yards for a score. He also adds some value as a returner on special teams.
I absolutely love Dawson. He reminds me a lot of the higher rated Jaire Alexander but with even more thump as he is thickly built. So much so that some have him as a candidate to convert to Safety. I disagree with that notion because he is a very good cover guy in press and has great length so he’d fit well in Nickel and Dime packages especially in Fangio’s scheme.
I have yet another Cornerback on the list that probably best projects inside but Nickerson does have the size to play outside. Well, height and lengthwise anyway. He does need more meat on his bones. At 180 he could get pushed around by some of the monsters that call themselves Wide Receivers in the NFL. He is feisty and holds up well in press in spite of being a little slight. He also has excellent ball skills. Nickerson is a ballhawk and will get his share of pass breakups and interceptions. He could play outside given the matchup but probably best projects in the Slot against Slot Receivers. He’s been Comped to Patrick Robinson and I feel that’s probably pretty accurate.
Ballage on the hoof has the size one likes from their bell cow backs and he has the skill set to play in all three downs. His size and skill set kind of remind me of ex-Bears Running Back Matt Forte. His production doesn’t scream 4th round pick, but he split carries with his teammate Demario Richard. When on the field he produced. Even in a limited role he still had 44 receptions or 469 yards and a TD. He also scored 8 touchdowns in one game. However, it’s not what he did in college that gets him selected here. It’s his abilities that project to the next level. At 6’1″ 230 and a 4.46 40 with great hands out for the backfield you can just imagine what minds like Nagy’s and Helfrich’s can devise for this kid.
Hall is an athletic anomaly Built more like a globe than a finely sculpted athlete, however, he performs like the finely tuned athlete more than the globe-shaped guy. Kind of reminds me of Former Tampa Bay Buc Hall Of Fame Defensive Tackle Warren Sapp in that way. His pro day workout was outer worldly. At 6 foot 308 pounds he jumped a 38″ vertical, a 9’8″ Broad Jump, benched 36 reps and ran an eye-popping 4.68 40. He played at small school Sam Houston State but absolutely dominated at that level. In four seasons he compiled a total of 284 tackles, 86.5 for loss, with 42 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovered and even 4 interceptions just for shits and giggles.
There were a lot of names that were hard for me to keep off but these are the best 5 names I believe will be on the Bears board based on the criteria I set for myself. At this point, there is a lot of projection going on but I feel pretty good about these choices as being guys that can compete right off the bat and push guys for jobs on the Bears roster at the top and the bottom.
1.) Tre’Quan Smith – Wide Receiver 5.99
2.) Alex Cappa – Guard 5.99
3.) Royce Freeman – Running Back 5.81
4.) Joe Ostman – Edge 5.79
5.) Da’Shawn Hand – Defensive Lineman 5.66
5th Round Synopsis: This is a very interesting group of players. Some of these guys may not make it to this spot, but hey that’s why we have five names right? I would absolutely love it if Smith was on my board at this point if I were Pace. Not often do you find an athlete at the Wide Receiver position with his size, length, Athleticism and college production albeit at a lower level school (Central Florida) staring you straight in the face. When it happens you gladly pull the trigger. Smith has the profile to become a WR1 in the NFL. It probably won’t happen right off the bat if it happens at all but with his physical ability and accomplishment, there is nothing stopping him if he truly wants it.
Cappa is another player that would excite me if he reached this far down the draft. He is one of the many college Tackle converted to Guard at the next level prospects. In this case mostly due to athleticism than size. He’s plenty big enough at 6’7′ and 305 pounds. He does move well and can thrive in a zone scheme. He just might struggle with some of the better Edge players speed rush at Tackle. He’s also in the nasty category of this draft I mentioned earlier. He will have no problem planting you into the ground. At this point, he’s probably pro-ready as a run blocker but will need a little work on his technique in pass pro.
Freeman is yet another player the Bears will have first-hand insight on as he played under Helfrich. He’s a big back who produced at an amazing pace early on, but seemed to slow down as his career progressed. He looked like he lost a bit of his explosion. That is why he is where he is at in this spot. The concern is the high volume of work he got at Oregon may have taken it’s toll. He did, however, run a 4.54 40 at over 230 pounds which is very good at that size so perhaps his knee bounced back from an injury he sustained in his junior season. He offers power and speed and has a pretty good pair of hands out of the backfield.
Joe Ostman is an intriguing small school prospect. He has the athleticism to compete and produce at the Edge at the next level. He also has the production albeit against lower level competition. What you look for with guys against lower level players is dominance and he checked that box in spades. He was a holy terror in the MAC. He uses relentless effort and some athletic moves including a nasty spin move to win with. Also, a former state wrestling Champion in high school which scouts like as it points to someone who knows how to win the leverage battle, and also to be able to string moves together to win the snap.
Hand is on this list completely based off nothing more than his athletic scores. Sure, he did produce and play well in the SEC but did nothing special to be drafted this high other than do what he did at the combine at his weight. His size is NFL level elite at 6’4″ 300 lbs 34 3/4″ arms, and 9 3/4″ hands. He killed the combine too with a 4.83 40, 28 reps on the bench, jumped a 31′.5″ vertical and ran a 3-cone of 7.98 which are all impressive numbers at 300 pounds. He could easily play 3/4 End as well as inside when the Bears go with their under tackle look.
As the draft thins out at this point you start to focus in on guys that can give you special teams value while developing into quality depth players and maybe who knows you find the next Tom Brady or Antonio Brown while you’re at it. I feel this is the part of the draft most teams are more comfortable taking fliers on lesser known guys who maybe didn’t get the chance in big programs, or guys who just weren’t in the right place at the right time but exhibit the traits you look for to fit your scheme. Ideally, you find guys who will come in with a huge chip on their shoulders and either play so far out of their minds they exceed expectations or push the hell out of the players above them on the depth chart to perform better.
1.) Simmie Cobbs – Wide receiver 4.99
2.) Javon Wims – Wide Receiver 4.91
3.) Colby Gossett – Guard 4.85
4.) Tyler Conklin – Tight End 4.69
5.) Kylie Fitts – Edge 4.55
6th Round Synopsis: Cobbs has some character questions but has stayed relatively clean off the field in his time at Indiana. In my opinion, this is an absolute steal this far in the draft. I feel Cobbs has a very good shot at being a WR2 in fairly quick order. He isn’t fast but he is athletic and plays with an edge and loves the physicality of the game.
Wims is another kid I see tremendous value this far down and feel he has the profile to eventually be a WR2 in the NFL. Great size and 4.53 speed to win downfield. Wims makes highlight reel catches on a regular basis. He’s not as polished as Cobbs but is a similar type of player. He won at the highest level of competition below the NFL in the SEC.
Gossett is another tackle convert who will move to guard at the pro level. He has the feet and movement skills to play in a zone scheme and at 315 pounds ran an excellent 3-cone time of 7.6 flat. Needs some work on technique but has the physical profile to get it done in the NFL and has a very solid floor with starter potential in time.
Conklin is another small school prospect that offers dual value as a special teams guy and a multi-use Tight End who can line up at traditional Y or play the Nagy U Tight End spot. He will need to add a little more weight as he’s only 240, but has the frame to put it on without losing a whole lot athletically. He has impressive hands and can be a godsend as a bailout possession receiver for Trubisky. An ex-basketball player who exhibits the athletic traits to win 50/50 balls ala rebound style.
Fitts is on here as a pure projection pick. He had a hard time staying healthy enough to build up enough tape to see him compete against power 5 competition. Either in all-star games or on the field in the regular season. He did, however, score big at the combine showing desired size, length, movement skills in drill work and top athleticism in his workout numbers including tying Harold Landry for the top 3-cone time (6.88), which usually translates to success as an edge rusher at the next level. Fitts should help on special teams in coverage and as a blocker in the return game.
While this isn’t officially the last chance to acquire college talent as the college Free Agency market offers some viable options it is, however, the last chance to get a player without having to compete with other teams in a bidding war for their services. It also doesn’t come with having to rely on their decision to choose you. This round could yield instant help for your special team’s coach who is probably going to be banging the table really hard for the guy he likes as his next star gunner or return specialist.
1.) Jonah Trinnaman – Wide Receiver 3.99
2.) Daurice Fountain – Wide receiver 3.97
3.) Tavarius Moore – Cornerback 3.75
4.) Jordan Akins – Tight Ends 3.74
5.) Mike Boone – Running back 3.65
7th Round Synopsis: Trinnaman is a player the Bears met with twice. Once at his pro day and then with a scheduled private visit. This could be a where there’s smoke there’s fire scenario. Trinnaman ran a 4.3 flat 40 and had a 12-foot broad jump just 4″ away from the world record at the standing broad jump. He also had a 40′.5″ vertical and looked good in drills. He has decent size at 6′ 190 pounds and should be a good fit as a flanker/slot option who can give you some value on special teams as a gunner and returner.
Fountain starred at the Shrine week practices dispelling some of the questions about whether he can win against top-notch competition. The small school prospect had an excellent pro day measuring in at 6′ 1″ 204 lbs so he has the desired size. He also ran a 4.46 40 with an impressive 42.5″ vertical and an 11 ‘2″ broad jump.
Moore is another excellent athlete with speed to burn. He had a private visit with the Bears so it’s very possible he could be the pick here. His pro day numbers were 4.32 40, 39.5″ vertical, and an 11′ 2″ broad jump. At 6’2″ 190, he has the size preferred by the Bears to play some press using his length at the line of scrimmage.
Akins was a big play waiting to happen. 43.7 % of his catches went for 20-yards or more. He had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl too accounting for himself very well against top-level competition as both a pass catcher and a blocker. His blocking has been in question but he showed he could at least be a factor in the run game from the H-back position. He showed good strength at his pro day with 29 reps on the bench press. Another knock on him is he’ll be a 26-year-old rookie after trying his hand at pro baseball in the minor leagues.
Boone is a player the Bears met with early in the process. He has the athleticism the Bears like in their players. Boone put up eye-popping numbers at his pro day. Some have compared him to Chiefs Running back Kareem Hunt so the fit gets even more interesting. He was very productive in his Freshman and Sophomore seasons but his production has fallen off a bit since due to injury issues. He ran a 4.44 40, jumped 42″ on his vertical and had an incredible 11’ 7″ broad jump and also put up 25 reps on his bench press at 5’10” and 205 lbs.
Wrap up: Like most people involved in the process of setting their draft boards, I feel pretty good about where these prospects will fall and what their value is. All 5 players (10 in round 4) in each round are players I feel can make the team and contribute in a positive fashion. Of course, so does everyone else with their picks. I was not trying to be the smartest guy in the room but sometimes you just can’t help having certain biases towards and against certain players that you may lose on because of those biases. Either by passing on them or by picking them. You try to be as objective and process oriented as you can but try as you may you sometimes just can’t ignore gut feeling. I believe a lot of drafts are that way. It’s a people business as your product is a bunch of physically talented humans from a variety of backgrounds. This makes prognosticating them as hits or misses extremely difficult. I do feel cross-checking weeds out most of the bias, but there is always a tiebreaker and that’s the decision of the person running the war room. Let’s hope Ryan Pace the one running the war room for the Bears is as open-minded and unbiased in his decisions as one needs to be to succeed in the talent acquisition business that is the NFL draft.