It’s a great day to be a Bears fan.
After staying put last night at eight overall, Ryan Pace and the Bears selected Roquan Smith from Georgia. Once Quenten Nelson was off the board at six, it became really clear what the Bears would do, trade down or draft Smith. The best linebacker in this class is now a Chicago Bear.
The Bears got their “plug and play” starter and at a position of need. Smith should make a big impact right away and with Vic Fangio at the helm, the sky is the limit. Danny Trevathan and Smith holding down the middle in the 3-4 scheme is a scary sight. Pace got a winner here and the fans base is super excited for this pick.
Where do you even start to describe Smith? First, his speed is legit. Smith ran a 4.51 at the combine. He comes downhill with purpose and delivers a blow. His coverage is solid and he’s going to be all over the field on gameday.
We can firmly say that Pace did not draft a project with his first round selection this year. Kevin White was super athletic but his route tree needed to be developed at the next level. Leonard Floyd needed to put on more muscle and work on his technique. Mitchell Trubisky only had 13 college starts and playing quarterback in the league is not an easy transition. While Smith will have to make adjustments as well, he may not need as much developmental work as previous player did.
Smith was a consensus All-American, Butkus award winner, First-team All-SEC and the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. The Bears got a leader with the eighth pick and he has the potential to great.
As we look to Friday night, the Bears own the 39th selection, the 7th pick of Round 2. They currently do not have a third round pick but that could change. There are a lot of solid prospects left on the board and as Pace has done in the past, trade down to grab some more picks while still being able to get an impact player. The Bears took Cody Whitehair two years ago and he was their starting center come week one. Last year, the Bears traded down again in the second round and drafted Adam Shaheen. A questionable pick but he showed some signs of amounting to a top target for Trubisky.
Some of the top remaining player are: OLB Lorenzo Carter, OLB Harold Landry, OL Connor Williams, Will Hernandez, James Daniels, CB Isaiah Oliver and Josh Jackson, WR Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk, Anthony Miller and plenty of other notable names. I would expect a lot of movement in the second round, especially at the top. Lot of first round talent still sitting at home and Bears are in a good spot to trade down if the right deal emerges. With that being said, the Bears should not fall too far from 39. They can still get a pick or two falling only a few spots. Bears have to capitalize on the talent remaining and I would not be surprised if the Bears stay put.
If they were to stay at 39, grabbing an offensive lineman makes a lot of sense. If Will Hernandez is still available, it would be a great selection. He is another possible plug and play guy and fills the hole at guard. The Bears could also go the wide receiver route and Sutton, Kirk, and Miller are all solid options. Also, if Landry or Carter would happen to fall to 39th, unlikely in my opinion, the Bears would be racing to the podium. Lastly, Jackson or Oliver could be a reality as well. The Bears have a lot of money invested at cornerback but grabbing another one would not hurt but only help. You can never have enough cornerbacks just like you can never have enough pass rushers.
From a fan perspective, it would be nice to meet more than one player tonight. And I think Pace may have that same mindset. As the Bears still have many holes to fill, getting a third round pick back makes a lot of sense. It would be tough to go an entire round without a selection. The Bears do have two fourth rounds picks, and maybe those could get them into the third round. A lot of possibilities on the table for Pace tonight.
Mike Singletary will announce the Bears second round selection and Charles Tillman will announce the Bears third round pick if they manage to get one. Otherwise, Tillman will be honored for being a Walter Payton Man of the Year winner.