Since I released my first Mock Draft on April 3, the Bears have been relatively quiet. The only “major” transactions that have occurred were former AAF kicker Elliot Fry signing a three-year deal and the Bears re-signing Roy Robertson-Harris and Isaiah Irving.
It’s safe to say there hasn’t been too much excitement for the Bears in the past couple of weeks. But it’s exciting that the new season of Game of Thrones has started, am I right?
Well, the draft is only eight days away. So, until then, take a look at my second attempt at the Bears’ seven-round mock draft.
Round 3, Pick 87: Amani Hooker, S (Iowa)
Heading into the 2019 season, the Bears will have two legitimate ballhawks at safety: Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix<. For the 2020 season, though, there is no guarantee that Clinton-Dix will still be in Chicago. Jackson, on the other hand, will be a free agent in 2021 and will undoubtedly earn himself a big contract. So, to save the Bears some money while also adding a potential future starter, the Bears should be looking to draft a safety. Iowa’s Amani Hooker would be an ideal pickup for the Bears’ defense.
Hooker is an instinctive player that understands route combinations and his positioning on the field at all times. His ability to dissect offensive plays is what helped him to win the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year award in 2018, where he accumulated 65 tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups as a junior.
In 2018, Hooker played a linebacker/safety role and this allowed him, at times, to play closer to the line of scrimmage. When he was asked to provide run support, he excelled at setting the edge and avoiding blockers to make secure tackles.
Hooker was also tasked to play in the slot. Against tight ends he didn’t have any issue playing physical and mirroring their routes. However, speedy slot receivers did give Hooker some issues, mainly due to his tightness when flipping his hips, which was primarily seen on out breaking routes.
Even though Hooker isn’t the most athletic or the fastest safety in this draft class, he makes up for that with his attention to detail to play the position. If the Bears decide to draft him, Chicago wouldn’t have to worry about the safety position for some time.
Round 4, Pick 126: Rodney Anderson, RB (Oklahoma)
Everybody knows the Bears are going to draft a running back. And contrary to many people believing the Bears’ first pick in 2019 will be to draft Jordan Howard’s successor, I have the Bears taking a risk on Rodney Anderson with their sole pick in the fourth round.
The move is risky because of Anderson’s injury-plagued history: knee injury (2018), fractured vertebra (2016) and broken leg (2015), and each required season-ending surgery.
Although the injuries are concerning, this doesn’t mean Ryan Pace will rule out Anderson. Two years ago in the fourth round with the 122nd pick the Bears drafted Jackson, whose senior season ended after he broke his leg. So, Anderson could very well be an option to add alongside Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis in the backfield.
At 6-foot, 224 pounds, Anderson has the size to not only pick up first downs on short-yardage situations but also to be an effective blocker in the NFL.
Anderson isn’t someone who is going to outrun a lot of defenders, but he still showed some decent speed for a bigger back, and he is tough to bring down. He also displays good vision when running between the tackles and when reading blocks.
What stands out though about Anderson is his ability to be a weapon in the passing game.
As a sophomore, he had 17 receptions for 281 and five touchdowns, and if you watch the tape, some of these receptions occurred deep down the field on vertical routes.
Anderson is the complete package at running back and would be a great asset to the Bears’ roster.
Round 5, Pick 162: Isaiah Johnson, CB (Houston)
After Kyler Fuller and Prince Amukamara, the Bears don’t have much quality depth at the cornerback position. In the fifth round, the Bears could add another corner in Houston’s Isaiah Johnson.
He is an interesting prospect because he started his career at Houston as a receiver. But after two seasons at receiver, Johnson made the switch to cornerback. During his senior year, Johnson made 66 tackles, intercepted two passes and had seven pass breakups, the most on the team.
At Houston, Johnson played press and off man. With being a taller corner at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, he played better when he disrupted the receivers by jamming them at the line of scrimmage. He also used his long arms to his advantage, especially when he had to recover on routes. Additionally, Johnson also possesses great speed, registering a 4.4 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
That speed is a big reason why Johnson was in position to make plays on the ball.
Although Johnson did have a good senior season, there is still plenty he can work on with his new position.
First, he simply needs to refine his technique when trying to mirror receivers. There were plenty of times where Johnson wasn’t close to the receiver after they broke to the outside on a route.
Also, he still needs to learn how to tackle properly. He had issues with putting his head down and completely missing the ball carrier.
Johnson is nowhere near making an impact on defense, but he can provide value as a gunner on special teams early on. Plus, if Chuck Pagano can get an opportunity to work with Johnson, he can help him reach his full potential.
Round 7, Pick 222: Kaden Smith, TE (Stanford)
The Bears moved down in the draft just two years ago to select Adam Shaheen. Still, Chicago could very well be in the market for another tight end, especially considering the former Ashland Eagle has yet to stay healthy in his first two years in the NFL.
Someone that could add some depth to the position group and fill that “Y” tight end is Stanford’s Kaden Smith. During his junior year, Smith caught 47 passes for 635 yards and two touchdowns, and that earned him to be a Mackey Award finalist, which is presented to the best tight end in college football.
Smith’s size, 6-foot-5, 252 pounds, helps him to not just be an effective blocker but also a reliable pass catcher.
When blocking, he relies on his sound technique, mechanics and effort to wall off defenders. As a pass catcher, Smith positions his body well to box out smaller defenders on curl routes, and he displays soft hands when catching the football at its highest point.
What hurts Smith is his lack of ability to separate from defenders, and that is largely due to his speed. He ran a 4.92 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which was the second slowest out of the 19 tight end prospects that participated.
Round 7, Pick 238: Tyler Jones, OL (North Carolina State)
Kyle Long may be entering his first offseason healthy in the last three years, but that doesn’t mean his body will hold up for the entire season. With the Bears’ last pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the organization could look to add some depth on the offensive line.
North Carolina State’s Tyler Jones could be an option. He started all 39 games at left tackle from his sophomore to senior season.
Given Jones’ size ( 6-foot-3, 306 pounds) and his lack of strength, he will have to transition to guard to potentially make an NFL roster.
He doesn’t provide enough pop when engaged with defenders and needs to learn to finish blocks. Jones did show some good foot speed and the ability to get to the second level.