When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the Chicago Bears have the No. 8 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Guard: Not only did the Bears part ways with Josh Sitton, but Kyle Long’s return to full strength isn’t guaranteed. The Earl Watford signing was a move for a swing tackle/guard, not a starter. A possible solution is moving center Cody Whitehair to guard, and playing Hroniss Grasu at center. But Grasu has been a colossal disappointment his first three years and Whitehair has proven better at center than guard.
- Pass rusher: The Bears had 42 sacks last year, but Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch are their only viable outside rushers, with Sam Acho merely a fourth or fifth outside ‘backer type. Floyd’s career has been one injury for every two or three sacks, so numbers and quality are drastically needed here.
- Inside linebacker: Starters Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski have been injury prone. With backup Christian Jones now in Detroit, and troubled Jerrell Freeman released, all depth has vanished on the inside.
- Wide receiver: Losing restricted free agent Cameron Meredith deprived the Bears of a player with potential to be the third or fourth receiver, although his recovery from ACL and MCL tears wasn’t guaranteed. Considering Kevin White and Allen Robinson are coming off injuries, drafting a new, healthy receiver at some point has to be a priority.
- Tackle: Outside pass blockers are less important in this offense, but tackles Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie rate mediocre at best. It’s good that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is mobile considering his tackles’ pass-blocking limitations.
–BEST FIT: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. A real hole at starting guard exists and they have Nelson’s position coach with the Irish, Harry Hiestand, on staff. General manager Ryan Pace faces a potential problem because post-combine talk makes Nelson the first guard to go in the top seven since 2013. This could merely be a floated rumor attempting to entice a young general manager, who last year proved too willing to bite at the bait and deal picks to move up for Mitchell Trubisky. However, if true, then pass rushers like North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb or Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds can satisfy another Bears need.
–Rob Rang: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. It is perhaps appropriate that Bears legendary middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was voted into Canton this year as Chicago could find itself in position to add a similar physical specimen in the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Edmunds, a freakish athlete, who at just 19-years-old is still just scratching the surface of his potential.
–Dane Brugler: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. Reuniting Nelson with his college offensive line coach Harry Hiestand would be a great story, but more important, the Bears are drafting a future Pro Bowler and protecting the team’s young quarterback.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.