For this particular mock draft, I utilized the Fanspeak Premium edition so that I could introduce trades into the equation. This one was particularly fun because I really weighed the pros and cons of the trade offers that I received. I ended up trading back three separate times in the draft. This is a very unlikely scenario, but hey, let’s have some fun two weeks before the Draft!
I had Ryan Pace trading the No. 3 overall pick to the Panthers, for the No. 8 overall, No. 40 overall (second-round pick), No. 64 (second-round pick) and No. 98 (third-round pick).
Once I was on the clock at No. 8, the Broncos offered me the No. 20 overall (first-round pick), No. 51 overall (second-round pick), No. 82 overall (third-round pick) and No. 101 overall (third-round compensatory pick) for the No. 8 overall pick. How could I possibly pass that up?
I decided that I was done trading back at this point. But in the fourth round, the Patriots came calling and offered No. 131 (fourth-round pick) and No. 183 (fifth-round compensatory pick) for the No. 117 (fourth-round pick). There were still a lot of good players on the board, so I felt that this was good value.
In summary, I started the day with seven picks and came away with 14! Given how deep this draft class is, it really would be a dream scenario if this actually plays out. Since I have covered several of these players already in previous mocks, and the fact that there are 14 of them, I am going to give a shorter breakdown of each pick.
Disclaimer: I am not a draft expert. By no means do I claim to know everything about all of these prospects. Every year as the NFL Draft approaches, I like to familiarize myself with as many prospects as I can with a focus on the Bears’ needs. For this exercise, I used the Fanspeak Premium mock draft tool with Matt Miller’s “Big Board.” The point being to run a mock where I had to do some research on players that I was not wholly familiar with.
Round 1 – Pick No. 20 – 20th Overall: Derek Barnett – EDGE – Tennessee
Derek Barnett has all the tools to be a premier pass-rusher at the NFL level. For the Bears, he will be an outside linebacker and instantly enter the rotation with Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young and, if he is still on the team, Lamarr Houston.
Barnett has active hands, good athleticism and more than enough strength to set the edge in the run game. Barnett and Floyd would make a fantastic pair of young pass-rushers for years to come.
Round 2 – Pick No. 4 – 36th Overall: Budda Baker – Safety – Washington
I really like Budda Baker. I think he has all the tools to be a great safety, but he gets knocked out of the first round due to his size. He reminds me a lot of Mike Brown and Bob Sanders. Those were both safeties that were limited by size, but succeeded nonetheless. However, injuries derailed both of their great careers. Injuries are a possibility with Baker, but it is worth the risk to get a player of his caliber in the second round.
Round 2 – Pick No. 8 – 40th Overall: Tre’Davious White – Cornerback – LSU
White is excellent in coverage. His smooth hips and mirroring skills make him a perfect fit for Vic Fangio’s defense. Ed Donatell is a well-regarded defensive backs coach, and he rarely has had a player with White’s coverage ability to work with. White has the ceiling of a true No. 1 lock-down cornerback and the floor of a solid No. 2 on a good defense.
Round 2 – Pick No. 19 – 51st Overall: Evan Engram – Tight End/H-Back/Wide Receiver – Ole Miss
What Engram brings to the table is an intriguing skill-set that, if harnessed, could turn him into a really good football player. I have seen his NFL comparison as Jordan Reed, which is not a poor comparison. I see him as more of a big wide receiver that can block, though. If Evan Engram is fully committed to football, he will become a player that every defensive coordinator will dread facing. He is a matchup nightmare!
Round 2 – Pick No. 32 – 64th Overall: Tim Williams – EDGE – Alabama
Tim Williams is right up there with the most talented players on Alabama’s defense. He consistently shows up on film. He is a tad raw, but the natural ability he has is through the roof. Williams is similar to a more compactly built Leonard Floyd. Same type of burst and athleticism. Add him to Floyd and Barnett, and the Bears’ trio of pass rushers would be one of the best in the NFL.
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Round 3 – Pick No. 3 – 67th Overall: Dan Feeney – Guard – Indiana
Feeney is a perfect fit for the Bears’ offense. He is good in pass protection and has the athleticism to excel in a zone-blocking scheme, which the Bears currently use. I chose a guard here because Josh Sitton is getting older and Kyle Long has some injury issues. This also would allow Long to potentially move out to right tackle again at some point. At worst, Feeney will be a very good backup at a position that generally sees injuries every season.
Round 3 – Pick No. 18 – 82nd Overall: Carlos Henderson – Wide Receiver – Louisiana Tech
Henderson isn’t the biggest or fastest, but he just gets the job done. He runs routes well and gains separation consistently. His hands are generally quite good. He likely isn’t a starter on Day 1, but should be a shoe-in for the starting lineup in 2018, along with Cameron Meredith and (hopefully) Kevin White.
Round 3 – Pick No. 34 – 98th Overall: Marcus Williams – Safety – Utah
If this were to work out in the real world, it would allow Budda Baker to play strong safety, while the ball-hawking Williams could roam free as the deep safety. Williams can occasionally give up extra yardage with a lack of physicality, but should more than make up for it with his tremendous ball skills. This would give the Bears a young, standout safety tandem for the foreseeable future.
Round 3 – Pick No. 37 – 101st Overall: Brad Kaaya – Quarterback – Miami
This time last season, Brad Kaaya was thought of as the No. 1 quarterback coming out in the 2017 draft. He didn’t have a great year in 2016 and his stock has fallen quite a bit.
He is the Jay Cutler of college football. I mean that as he has had three different coordinators in three seasons and a poor team around him for most of his time in Miami. He needs some work, but the Bears’ signing of Mike Glennon would give him a few years to sit, learn and work on his mechanics. He has all of the tools to succeed, but needs the right coaching to live up to his massive potential.
Round 4 – Pick No. 4 – 111st Overall: Chris Wormley – Defensive End/5-Technique – Michigan
Wormley is a perfect fit in Vic Fangio’s defense…if he can be more consistent. His motor runs hot and cold, but he has the size at 6’5” and 298 pounds to be a disruptive force on a line with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman. He is a little lighter than those two, but he is more explosive and could turn into a nice pass-rusher from the defensive end spot.
Round 4 – Pick No. 24 – 131st Overall: Ethan Pocic – Offensive Lineman – LSU
I am not listing Pocic’s position because he currently plays center, which the Bears don’t have a need at. He has played all over the line for LSU and, in my opinion, he is simply too tall (6’6”) to play inside in the NFL. I am projecting him as a developmental offensive tackle for the future. At worst though, he can be a serviceable backup who can fill in at any position on the offensive line.
Round 5 – Pick No. 3 – 147th Overall: Kendell Beckwith – Inside Linebacker – LSU
Beckwith is more similar to Jerrell Freeman than he is to Danny Trevathan: he is a tackle machine with somewhat limited athletic abilities. This isn’t the greatest need position for the Bears, but the value in the fifth round was too good to pass up. He is coming off of a torn ACL, so he would likely redshirt his rookie season.
Round 5 – Pick No. 39 – 183rd Overall: Ejuan Price – EDGE – Pittsburgh
Yes, another EDGE player. You can never have enough pass-rushers, and Price is another guy who fits that bill. Price is a little different than the other EDGE players in the mock in that he is more of a power rusher and has an excellent motor. I view Price as more of a replacement for Pernell McPhee when the time comes to part ways with the veteran. Additionally, age and health is a major concern for the current roster at outside linebacker. This is a good draft to restock the cupboard with pass-rushers.
Round 7 – Pick No. 3 – 221st Overall: Donnel Pumphrey – Running Back – San Diego State
How can you pass up the guy who broke Ron Dayne’s NCAA Division I rushing record and Marshall Faulk’s San Diego State rushing records? Pumphrey is small, but lighting quick, and has breakaway speed. He is a try-hard type of kid and often plays bigger than his 5’8”, 176-pound frame would indicate. He can carve out a niche with the Bears as the change-of-pace complement to Jordan Howard. Pumphrey would greatly benefit from being put in against a defense worn down by the bruising Howard. The key will be his receiving skills.
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