After the Jordan Howard trade it’s nearly a certainty that the Bears will be selecting a Running Back with their first or second pick in the draft. Likely their first. As a matter of fact, I would not discount the Bears packaging some of next year’s picks they’ve accumulated through trades to move up the board to get their guy. After that it’s probably going to be best available regardless of position or perceived need.
Expect it to be heavily traits based and expect it to be loaded with offensive players as the offense needs to take the next step in its evolution if the Bears are to be considered true contenders. Especially after the last game they played losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in round one of the playoffs last year.Sure, they should have won if they had a reliable kicker but it shouldn’t have come down to that. The defense did their part while it took the offense nearly three quarters to get it going. They did not really do anything until like the middle of the third quarter.
The Bears already have a nice stable of weapons and you are almost guaranteed to get better production out of Allen Robinson (who will be over 2 years removed from his knee surgery) and Anthony Miller. You saw Robinson at full speed in his last few games and especially in the Eagles game. With Miller, you have him playing with a repaired shoulder that he played through with a separation for most of last season. You also have him in year two of the offense.
Another guy you hope to see development from is Adam Shaheen, who had kind of a Mulligan type of year with the injury. You can’t really judge his catch production because he was never really targeted when he returned. You figure this season with Matt Nagy knowing what his strengths are will scheme him to success this season. He’s also developed into a real good blocker as well.
In general, you figure the familiarity with his personnel will help Nagy better game plan for his opponents by exploiting the matchups more efficiently by knowing what his guys can do against that weeks defensive personnel. You also figure those players being in year two along with the evolution of Mitch Trubisky‘s game to better use his personnel creates a significant uptick in this offense’s production. That being the case you can never have enough options or depth. With that said, here’s how I see this version’s Mock kind of going.
3rd Round – 87th overall: Justice Hill – Oklahoma St. – RB:
Some people may look at this as a reach as most of the draftnick community has him ranked around the 4th-5th round, but I disagree. Hill, will be a steal here as I see first round talent in him. He has all the qualities Nagy referenced at the combined when asked about what he envisioned in his running backs.
He is one of the most elusive backs in all of the draft if not the most elusive. He even yawns explosively. His cutting ability in my opinion is the best of his class. He can catch it out of the backfield, out wide and in the slot as well as any Running Back in the draft. He needs to be a better blocker in pass pro but that’s true of most Backs coming out of college.
He also runs with a ferocious style for a smaller back and can surprise a defensive back by powering through a tackle by lowering a shoulder. Along with his amazing short area quickness he has the speed to take it home once he gains the sidelines.
Athletic Traits: 5′ 10″ 198 lb. – 4.4 40/40″vert./10′ 8″ BJ
Here’s a little sample of what Hill gives you as an outlet in the passing game. Something Trubisky can use at his disposal to minimize risk when his guys in his progressions are covered.
On this play, Hill shows off what he brings in the inside zone scheme the Bears employ showing good vision and feet to navigate through the hole and than accelerating into the open field and turning on the Jets to nearly take it to the house. Explosive plays are what you’ll get from Hill.
Finally, on this clip, you see both his elusiveness making a defender completely whiff as he has him squared up in the backfield, and his toughness to lower a shoulder, absorb contact and use his legs to drive through for the extra yardage needed on this goaline run to get the score.
4th Round – 126th overall: Jalen Hurd – Baylor – WR
In Hurd, Nagy would be getting yet another versatile do it all weapon similar to recently acquired free agent Cordarrell Patterson but more refined as a wide receiver. Hurd, a converted Running Back, (who was one of the most heralded recruits coming out of High School as a running back), left Tennessee to go to Baylor and play Wide Receiver to take advantage of his size to better increase his chances of playing on Sundays.
Hurd gives you YAC ability after the catch and can even be used as a Running Back. As a matter of fact, he kinda reminds me of Brandon Marshall in both size and his YAC ability and style. At the combine he said he prefers to play Wide Receiver but is more than willing to do whatever is asked of him to exploit his versatility. Sounds like it’s right up Nagy’s alley.
Athletic Traits: 6′ 5″ 226 lb. 32 1/4″ arms 10 1/4″ hands – 4.66 40/ 35.5″ vert./ 10′ 4″ BJ/4.18 SS/23 reps BP
In this GIF, Hurd shows off his Running Back like quickness to get off the line, his speed gaining a yard of separation and his catch radius, body control, tracking ability and hands to catch this back shoulder throw for six. Should have a lot to offer as a red zone weapon as well as a downfield target.
You can see Hurd’s value as an outlet receiver with his surprising quickness for a big 6’5″ target as well as his big frame being used to shield the ball from the defender for a possible PBU or even a deflection for a pick. Hurd takes a dump off 3-yard pass and turns it into a first down.
Here, you see him being used in the backfield as a Running Back. The things that can be done with this guy lined up back there as both a runner and a decoy in play action and the RPO game should drive Defensive Coordinators crazy.
5th round – 162nd overall: Trevon Wesco – West Virginia – TE:
Wesco isn’t really a traits guy. His athleticism is pretty common for a Y in line Tight End type. He is a bit shorter than a typical modern Tight End but has long arms which help compensate for that. He isn’t someone you draft to be a move Tight End or in Nagy vernacular a U. However, he has lined up as one and can certainly play the H-Back role.
His best quality is as a blocker. He uses his long arms to keep defenders off of his frame and uses them to redirect his blocking assignments. He’s also very thick and stout weighing nearly 270 lbs. He’s also a straight dawg. Very aggressive and blocks with bad intentions. He would help that running game create creases at the line of scrimmage for dynamic runners like Tarik Cohen and the newly drafted Hill to run through. I’m sure Mike Davis will prosper as well.
He does have some serviceable receiving skills to contribute as well. He has good hands and tracking skills. He won’t run many deep seam or go routes but when he is called upon to do it he can reel em in. Most of his routes will be of the short variety as a checkdown option. His ceiling is probably as a number 2 Tight End perhaps elevating to a number 1 further down the road if he maxes out his ability. If he wants to be more involved as a pass catcher he’ll have to expand his route tree.
Athletic Traits: 6′ 3″ 267 lbs. 34 3/4″ arms – 4.89 40/31″ vert./9′ 9″ BJ/7.18 3-cone/ 24 rep BP
On this play, you see exactly what Wesco offers as a receiving threat at current. This is a route they ran for Wesco routinely at West Virginia. He runs a simple short seam and the QB just quick tosses it and Wesco does the rest dragging tacklers 10-14 yards downfield after contact.
On this next play, Wesco runs a simple quick out along the line of scrimmage and shows some athleticism reaching back for a ball behind him spinning to a 180° turn and turning it upfield for a big gain.
Here, Wesco shows his ability as both a run blocker and in pass pro.
Here, Wesco shows his nasty side in the H-Back role burying a defender downfield with a pancake block. The Bears running game would get a big boost with Wesco’s blocking added.
7th Round – 222nd overall: Venzell Boulware – Miami FL. – OG:
Bears get themselves a nice interior lineman project and instant depth at the Guard position. Bouleware showed some nice versatility being able to play both sides of the line at either Left or Right Guard. Although the Bears are set at both Guard spots at current Kyle Long may be approaching the backend of his career being on the wrong side of 30 and a mounting history of injuries. His price tag makes him almost a sure bet to be an ex-Bear once his current deal ends.
In comes Boulware who offers athleticism to execute the Bears zone blocking scheme and a nice play demeanor for Offensive Line Coach Harry Heistand to develop into a possible future starter at one of the Guard spots.
Athletic Traits: 6′ 310 lb. (Athletic test scores not available).
Here, Boulware passing Left Guard fires off the line and quickly finds his assignment helping to seal off one of the defensive linemen to help open a hole for the back to run through for the first down on short yardage. He even gives his blocking assignment a right hook in the back shoulder afterwards showing that mean streak of his.
On this play, Boulware shows his ability to absorb contact and re-anchor after initially being driven back on the Defensive Tackles bull rush and haults his momentum cold giving the QB plenty of space to step up in the pocket and deliver the throw. He’s number 50 at Left Guard.
Again, playing Left Guard Boulware does a nice job delaying his run downfield to not pick up the penalty as well as to prevent tipping off the screen pass. This is where you see his athleticism out in space as he picks up the defender and gets a hat on him for the block on the move downfield.
7th Round – 238th overall: Tim Harris – Virginia – CB:
Harris put himself on the radar as a draftable player with an excellent pro day. Harris would certainly be considered as a day 2 prospect if not for his injury concerns. His senior campaign and pro day eased that concern enough to likely get him drafted in the late rounds.
Harris has the size to profile as a boundry corner. At 6’2″ 205 he can take on the big guys. With his speed and quickness he can also stay with the jitterbug types. Playing primarily as an off coverage corner Harris also shows the ability and willingness to press making him versatile.
He’s also a very aggressive tackler and plays with enough physicality to where a move at Safety would not be a reach. Along with ball skills and tackling ability he would make an excellent replacement for the recently departed Adrian Amos and the newly acquired Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who will likely be a one year add. Harris would profile well playing the versatile strong safety role along side Eddie Jackson or replacing Prince Amukamara at Corner. Perhaps even as a super-sub who can fill in anywhere in the secondary along with contributing on special teams.
Athletic Traits: 6’2″ 205 – 4.37-4.42 40/39″ vert./11′ 7″ BJ
Here, Harris shows his physicality and willingness to play the run taking on the blocker running through him and ultimately dropping the Running Back for a big loss.
On this next play, Harris shows his tackling ability coming downhill on the short pass and physically taking down the Wide Receiver to ground instantly on contact.
On this pay you see Harris jump a route picking it off for a pick-6 showing both his ball skills and his play recognition evidence of someone who studies game film intently.
As you can see offense is the primary focus here with the Bears getting a DB with their last pick. Of course, this could be subject to change if an elite payer gets pushed down the board right in the Bears lap and he just so happens to be a defensive player. You take your blue chippers where you can find them regardless of need. However, other than that I am fairly confident offense will rule draft weekend for the Chicago Bears.