The 2017 NFL Draft will take place in Philadelphia, Pa. from April 27-29, where 32 NFL teams will continue the tradition of drafting top college prospects around the country in 7 rounds. While the Bears have had poor drafting history, general manager Ryan Pace seemed to turn that tradition around last year, with rookie stars such as as outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, center Cody Whitehair, and Pro-Bowl running back Jordan Howard. However, after a injury-riddled 3-13 season, the pressure is on not only for coach John Fox to make the Bears into a playoff team, but for Ryan Pace to draft another impressive class of players. Analysts have paid far more attentions to who the Bears will draft this year, as they have the No. 3 overall pick, otherwise known as the opportunity to draft a once-in-a-lifetime player. Here are just a few options the Bears have when it comes to filling their many needs.
Football is won in the trenches, and both defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and defensive end Solomon Thomas can create a winning edge for teams needing an impact player.
Until recent news of potential arthritis problems in his shoulders, Allen was considered one of the best overall players in this draft, second only to outside linebacker/defensive end Myles Garrett. Allen is often considered as the complete package, as he’s quick off the line, has all the proper technique NFL teams are looking for, and a constant force in both the run game and quarterback pressure. The only concerns surrounding him are his small size for the position and shoulder arthritis problems, but if the Bears can overlook the two issues, he’s a perfect fit for their 3-4 defense.
Thomas is the more controversial and intriguing pick. A Stanford alumni, he quickly rose up teams’ draft boards with an incredible late-season performance and freaky athleticism. He’s been projected to go as high as No. 2 in some mock drafts. However, it’s unknown how he fits into the Bears’ defensive scheme. It seems unlikely that the Bears will draft him, but if they do, he will either play as a defensive end opposite of Akiem Hicks or an outside linebacker.
Normally, it’s unheard of to take a safety this high in a draft, but we’re presented with a unique case where there are not one, but two game-changing safeties with unique traits. The question isn’t “Who’s better,” it’s “What type of skills do you need.”
First up, we have the LSU safety Jamal Adams, and personally, one of my favorite players in the draft. I didn’t assign him a specific position because he’s just too well-rounded. He can stop the run. He can hit hard. He can cover both short and deep if he needs to. He has solid technique when it comes to tackling. Adams is a player with close to no flaws in his game, along with the added bonus of being considered a team leader by scouts and players.
While Jamal Adams does everything at a solid quality, Malik Hooker does a few things at insane quality. In just one season starting, Hooker notched 7 interceptions, 3 going for touchdowns. When Hooker is mentioned, you’ll often hear the term “range” or “ball-hawk,” both well-deserved descriptors for the Buckeye. I won’t be surprised if the Bears draft Hooker, as general manager Pace has stated how he wants players that are playmakers. While I believe Adams would be the better scheme fit and overall safety, I would be just as happy to welcome Hooker onto the Bears.
While the upcoming draft has been praised for the defensive talent all across the board, it’s also been looked down upon for seemingly having no franchise quarterback worth taking in the first half of Round 1. However, that doesn’t rule out the Bears taking a quarterback (because let’s be honest, Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez aren’t going to cut it), and the two most likely prospects to be taken first are Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson.
Trubisky had a solid season at North Carolina, throwing for 30 touchdowns and 6 interceptions against above-average opposition. Unfortunately, he had some horrific games (such as his performances against Virginia Tech and Stanford in the Sun Bowl), and quarterbacks with only one year of starting experience have bad history when it comes to being successful in the NFL. Despite his red flags, he’s most often considered by analysts the best quarterback in the draft.
Watson is another potential suitor for the Bears. With 2 1/2 seasons of starting experiences, leading Clemson to two straight national championships, and delivering a clutch performance against what might have been the greatest college defense of all time, Watson definitely deserves recognition for showing up in the spotlight and being a consistent starter. His only glaring problem is accuracy and arm strength, but with the right coaching, Watson can become a star franchise quarterback in the NFL.
The Bears have a lot of great options to choose from, and in order for both Fox and Pace to keep their jobs, they must not only hit on their No. 3 pick, but grab a franchise quarterback later on if they don’t choose one in the first round.
Author: Prashant Shankar
Prashant Shankar is an online editor with a borderline unhealthy passion for political and football analysis. He’s been an online writer for Metea since his junior year, and now serves as Chief Online Editor. Prashant’s now a senior, and while he has no clue what he’s going to do when he grows up, he’s most interested in music, computer engineering, and political science.