It was announced on Tuesday that the Chicago Bears’ coaching staff will be coaching the North team in the 2017 Senior Bowl. John Fox and Co. will be able to have a firsthand look at some of the best seniors to enter this year’s draft. This in turn makes scouting a lot easier for the team. This year’s Senior Bowl could turn out to be one of the deepest in recent memory, so the Bears got lucky that the Senior Bowl committee chose them this year. Here are some players that the Bears should keep an eye on to fill some of their biggest needs.
NOTE: All of these players have accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl, but aren’t guaranteed to play.
Desmond King, CB, Iowa
In my first seven-round Bears mock draft, I had Desmond King going to Chicago in the second round. He has been one of my favorite cornerbacks in this draft class since early August. He’s a physical, smart corner who can make plays – he has 14 interceptions in the last three years. This comparison may be a bit of a stretch, I see a bit of Darrelle Revis in him. He is a ballhawk of a corner who plays way bigger than he is (5’11”, 203 lbs). That’s certainly the type of player that the Bears would love to have on their roster.
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Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
In my aforementioned mock draft, I had the Bears selecting safety Justin Evans in the third round, and rightfully so. He is a physical, hard-hitting tackler who also shows finesse in coverage. He has four interceptions this year, so he would help improve a Bears defense that had the second-worst turnover ratio in the league. He also fills a huge need – the secondary is far from being a solid unit. By adding Evans, Chicago would have a solid safety tandem for years to come while still being able to improve in other areas.
Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
Although I’d prefer that the Bears wait until next year to draft an offensive tackle (the 2018 class is much better), I still expect them to look at one this year. Why not start with arguably the best tackle in the Senior Bowl, Julie’n Davenport? Although he doesn’t face top-end talent, he has all of the traits necessary to succeed in the NFL. He is long, athletic and has great technique in his blocking. He is one of a select few in this class that could play left tackle at the next level. Davenport dominates as both a run blocker and a pass blocker – he rarely allows defenders to blow past him. He would definitely be a solid option on Day 2 of the draft.
Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Zach Miller doesn’t have a whole lot of time left as the Bears’ starting tight end. Although he was impressive this year, his age and injury history show that the team needs to find a replacement. Evan Engram is a tight end that plays like a wide receiver. He is a great athlete who has great route running abilities and hands. He isn’t a great blocker by any means, but he has been bulking up and gaining muscle in recent months. That should help him to grow as a two-dimensional threat in the future. My TE5 in this class, Engram would be a great get in Round 3.
Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
If the Bears pick Mitch Trubisky (or even if they don’t), they should definitely give Ryan Switzer a look. He has undoubtedly helped Trubisky become the top-tier prospect that he is today.
Switzer is a bit on the smaller side (5’10”, 175 lbs), but he makes up for it with his great athleticism and determination. He is dangerous in the slot – his speed, route running prowess and hands are all great assets to his game. Given that Eddie Royal has yet to consistently stay healthy as a Chicago Bear, Switzer could be a good replacement.