Now that the combine is over, we have a more realistic look at where each prospect might get drafted, and with the first few waves of free agency behind us, we have a better idea of the Bears needs.
So, with our new found knowledge, I decided to take a crack at another mock draft.
But I wanted to put a fun twist on it.
It is no secret the Bears don’t see Jordan Howard as a great fit in their scheme. They met with at least four (probably more) running backs at the combine. Add the fact that Howard qualified as a proven performer escalator which boosts his salary from $720,000 to over $2 million plus the signing of Mike Davis and it’s pretty clear that the writing is on the wall for the former fifth-round pick.
You just can’t justify that contract for a third running back.
An under the radar team that could make some sense on a trade is the Carolina Panthers. Yes, they have Christian McCaffrey, yet Ron Rivera himself has stated they want to find a running back who can take some pressure off of him.
Here is what he said in his visit with the media at the NFL Combine:
“Understanding what Christian did last year, how many reps he played, that’s something that we do have a concern with,” Rivera said.
McCaffrey had 326 touches last season, so it makes sense for them to acquire a bigger running back who can take a beating with runs up the middle.
In this scenario, the Bears would receive the Panthers fifth round pick (154 overall) to complete the deal. Could the Bears get more? Possibly. However, with how few teams need running backs and the overall value of the position, a fifth-round pick seems reasonable.
For the purposes of my mock, I used The Draft Network’s new mock draft simulator.
Round 3, Pick 87 – OLB Ben Banogu (TCU)
The Bears still have a huge hole at outside linebacker choosing instead to focus their free agency efforts filling their needs at safety, slot corner and running back. It is a very deep edge rusher class this year, which should allow them to get a good player in the third round even if there is a run on the position.
Banogu is a player on the rise after blowing up the combine with a 4.62 40-yard dash, 23 bench reps while dominating the jumping drills with a 40-inch and 134-inch vertical and broad jumps respectively. He was also right around the seven second threshold for elite pass rushers with a 7.02-second three-cone drill.
Banogu proved he has the athleticism for the position, while his tape shows a player who is still somewhat raw as a prospect. He had some success with inside moves and stunts in college. If he wants to succeed at the next level he will need to refine his pass rush arsenal.
A classic example of a player who will get drafted higher than his current play suggests, Banogu has the athleticism that will entice a team to gamble on his potential. The Bears have few holes on the team, and Banogu is a lottery ticket that could turn into a big win for them down the road.
Round 4, Pick 126 – S/CB Ugochukwu Amadi (Oregon)
The Bears did a good job filling some immediate holes in the secondary by signing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Buster Skrine. Although Clinton-Dix is on a one-year deal, and Skrine will be 31 at the start of next season with a nearly $6.5 million dollar cap hit, Amadi is a player who can potentially take over either spot down the road while providing quality depth in year one.
He lined up for the Ducks at safety and was often tasked with covering slot receivers. If you ask me right now what position he is best at, it would be an easy decision: slot corner.
Amadi has quick feet and hips that allow him to turn and run with slot receivers. He also has good awareness in zone, and he has a nose for the football. Over the last two seasons, Amadi had seven interceptions, 16 pass deflections and three forced fumbles. He also brings some utility as a punt returner.
Round 5, Pick 154 – RB Justice Hill (Oklahoma State)
If you skipped past the intro and jumped right into the picks (we all do it from time to time), this is the pick the Bears acquired in our mock Howard trade. With this pick they get their running back to take Howard’s roster spot.
While Hill takes his spot, they are actually very different players. The Bears signed Davis to take Howard’s role. Hill can be another threat in the passing game and a home run hitter in the run game. At only 5-foot-9, 198 pounds he isn’t going to be a true replacement for Howard.
Instead, he adds another explosive element to an offense that wants to pass first in order to set up the run game. He and Cohen can be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses while allowing for a little more utility on the ground.
Hill dominated the combine as he was expected to, so I am not sure how much it inflates his stock. I will say this though, watching him run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash with a 40-inch vertical and 130-inch broad jump was definitely impressive. It mirrors the lower body explosiveness you see on tape and why a lot of Bears fans are excited by him.
Round 5, Pick 162 – TE Foster Moreau (LSU)
After two straight defensive picks to start the draft, we follow it up with back-to-back picks to upgrade the offensive side of the ball.
The Bears have Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker under contract at tight end currently, although none of them should prevent the Bears from trying to upgrade the position. Burton had a nice first season but disappeared for long periods of time, while Shaheen has been a bust so far and will be a serviceable player at best.
Moreau did not produce eye-popping numbers for LSU. This has more to do with their scheme than his talent level. There were benefits, though, of the scheme. Moreau was able to develop and become one of the better run blocking tight ends in this draft.
Still, he proved at the combine that he has the potential to be more than that. He finished as a top-seven performer in every athletic test while looking smooth in positional drills.
Moreau should be able to play both the “Y” and “U” tight end roles in the Bears offense. At worst, he will be a great blocking tight end in the NFL.
Round 7, Pick 222 – OL Ryan Bates (Penn State)
The Bears signed Ted Larson to be the primary backup offensive lineman along the interior. However, with Kyle Long almost assuredly gone after this season, they need to bring some youth and upside to the position group.
Bates is one of my favorite offensive linemen in this draft. He first caught my eyes at the combine, where he performed extraordinarily well. He was a top performer in the agility drills, which shows he has the athleticism and movement skills the Bears covet.
Bates played tackle in college but will need to move inside in the NFL. His skill set should allow him to flourish at either guard or center making him a valuable backup to start his career.
Round 7, Pick 238 –OLB Jamal Davis II (Akron)
Bookending the draft with two athletic, yet raw, pass rushers to round out the position group.
The first time I watched Davis his athleticism was obvious. The combine only confirmed that.
Davis is extremely raw and should not be counted on to contribute in 2019. Instead, he would be an ideal practice squad stache candidate with high upside.
Best case scenario, he will compete with last year’s sixth-round pick Kylie Fitts for the last spot on the roster.