This late in the draft process, a team’s targets won’t change all that much. This appears likely for the Chicago Bears, too. Jamal Adams, Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen and Marshon Lattimore appear to be the four most popular picks at No. 3. However, these targets could change if the Bears choose to trade down.
They did a good job improving at their weak positions in free agency, but they haven’t really solved any of them in the long run.
Quintin Demps is only a short-term solution at safety, and the Bears could draft a rookie to play over Adrian Amos. The team still lacks a bonafide No. 1 cornerback, and they could use another young edge rusher.
Offensively, quarterback is still a question mark. Chicago will need a catch-first tight end to compliment Dion Sims when Zach Miller leaves. They could use improvement at wide receiver and offensive tackle, as well.
With all of these positions still in question, it’s clear that they need to ace this year’s draft. Trading back could fill more needs. While I’m not saying they will trade back, it’s definitely an intriguing option. If the Bears were to do so, here are five targets that they would likely go after.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Regular readers of cover32 Bears know just how much I like Patrick Mahomes. He’s not the type of the player that can start right away. However, the Bears don’t need that type of player.
Mahomes’ physical attributes are among the best in this quarterback class. He has solid size at 6’2″ and 225 pounds. His arm strength is phenomenal; some have even compared it to that of Brett Favre. Also like prime Favre, Mahomes can extend the play with his feet. His mechanics aren’t all that good, but he gets the job done.
He seems to be a lock to be a first-round pick at this point. If the Bears want him, they’ll either have to trade down from No. 3 or trade up into the back end of the first round.
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Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Admittedly, I wasn’t a big Deshaun Watson fan for most of the draft process. While I still have my doubts, I’ve come to warm up to him as a first-round talent.
Watson has something that a lot of rookie quarterbacks lack: he’s a leader. He has the leadership abilities, championship pedigree and intangibles of an All-Pro. He puts good touch on the ball and is accurate on deep passes. His ability to scramble outside of the pocket is impressive, too.
He needs to work on his decision making, so he might not be ready to start from Week 1. Despite that, he could end up being a very good starter down the road.
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
O.J. Howard may just be the best tight end prospect since Vernon Davis in 2006.
He is the epitome of a well-rounded tight end. He’s a freak athlete: he was a top performer in the 40-yard dash, bench press, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. This athleticism is apparent on tape, too. He looks like a wide receiver trapped in a tight end’s body when running routes and catching balls. He’s also a fantastic blocker, to boot.
While the Bears would be best suited picking someone later to sit for a while under Miller and Sims, Howard would be a slam-dunk pick. He would undoubtedly start right away and make an impact.
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
If the Bears end up trading out of the top 10, then Quincy Wilson should be a intriguing option for them.
Wilson is an all-around solid corner. He can cover well in man and zone coverage, and has enough athleticism to keep up with speedy receivers. At 6’1″ and 211 pounds, he has impressive size for his position. That length helps him disrupt passes: less than 40 percent of passes thrown his way were completed in 2016.
The Bears did a lot to upgrade the cornerback position, but they still lack a true No. 1 cornerback. If they were to trade back, then Wilson could be that guy for them.
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
This pick doesn’t seem likely at first, as recent free agent acquisition Quintin Demps is a free safety. However, he’s not going to be around forever.
Malik Hooker arguably has better ball skills than any safety in this draft class. His instincts are fantastic when it comes to tracking down the ball, as shown by his seven interceptions in 2016. In a game which sees cornerbacks as the primary ball hawks, Hooker will stand out as a safety with ball skills comparable to those of the late Sean Taylor.
He is still very raw, as he only started one season at Ohio State. Going to the Bears would give him some time to sit under Demps. If Chicago wants to trade back, say, four picks, then Hooker would be a great selection.