Welcome to our final mock draft of 2018. Here we have compiled picks from everyone on our staff (minus DeVante Tidwell) for every single Bears’ pick Thursday through Saturday.
Here goes nothing.
With the 8th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select …
DeWitt: Roquan Smith
You can’t rely on Danny Trevathan nor Nick Kwiatkoski to last an entire season as the two have missed 18 combined games over their time in Chicago. Roquan Smith is the most NFL-ready linebacker in this draft and the Bears would be foolish to pass on him. Smith has the size and instincts to make him a sideline-to-sideline playmaker for the next decade.
Don’t worry about his lack of size. In today’s NFL linebackers are asked to play coverage more and to attack downhill inside the box less. Smith would take away the middle of the field for opposing quarterbacks, and everytime you make life more difficult for opposing quarterbacks, your chances of winning increases.
Hazlett: Tremaine Edmunds
There’s quite the debate over Edmunds or Roquan Smith if the Bears were to take a linebacker with the No. 8 pick. When ESPN’s Matt Bowen was on the podcast, he said Smith is the better linebacker today. However, being the patient one that I am, Edmunds fits the long-term plan better as he’s only 19 and already a freak athlete with his size (6-foot-5 and 253 pounds). Give him some time under Vic Fangio and he will only grow. In the short term, he adds depth, and in the long term, he will become a memorable Monster of the Midway.
Moreano: Marcus Davenport
The Bears are in desperate need of a pass rusher, and many analysts have determined that N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb is the only one qualified to be drafted in the top 10. But selecting UTSA’s Marcus Davenport with the No. 8 overall pick would not be a desperation move. The 6-foot-6, 264-pound pass rusher has the physical gifts that general manager Ryan Pace covets in a first-round prospect. The former basketball, football and track and field athlete at San Antonio’s Stevens High School showed his athletic ability at the NFL Combine when he posted a 4.58 40-yard dash and had a 124-inch broad jump.
Davenport dominated the competition in Conference USA with just his raw talent, but with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in place to guide Davenport that talent can be molded into a destructive force off the edge in the Bears’ defense.
Ortman: Tremaine Edmunds
While the Quenton Nelson hype is gaining steam and I would love to be on board that train, I don’t see a how a player that dominant and NFL ready is on the board when the Bears are on the clock. Edmunds, however, is one heck of a consolation prize. His combination of size and athleticism draws comparisons to Hall of Famer (love saying that) Brian Urlacher. The potential for Edmunds to be a dominant force in the middle of the Bears’ defense for years to come should be enticing to Ryan Pace, and the possibilities that Vic Fangio would have with such an athlete on defense could make this already good unit take the next step.
The thought of playing Jimmy Graham twice per season would be less daunting with Edmunds on board. While he hasn’t shown it yet, Edmunds has the athleticism to potentially become a plus pass rusher in certain situations, while being a dominant coverage linebacker in others. Fangio would undoubtedly have fun moving around an athlete of this caliber on his defense.
Bocker: Harold Landry
Full disclosure I think one way or another the Bears will not be picking in the eighth spot on the night of the draft. I believe Pace will be his usual aggressive self and trade up to get a player he values or see a number of players with similar grades and take the opportunity to add draft picks. With that said, since we aren’t predicting trades I’ll go with the best player at a position of need. Landry might not come in and play all three downs immediately but he can contribute on passing downs. If he comes in and gets eight or more sacks that would be huge for a defense that badly needs pass rush help.
Ingalls: Marcus Davenport
In a perfect world, the Bears will be able to trade down and still select Marcus Davenport, but as any diehard fan can attest by now, the world is far from perfect when it comes to Chicago and drafting. However, I still support taking Davenport here.
Davenport fits the role of a power rusher which is exactly what the Bears need following the departure of Willie Young, Pernell McPhee and Lamarr Houston. While Davenport still needs to develop some moves in his pass rush, his punch at the point of attack bodes well for him being a great run defender out of the gate. That’s exactly what Vic Fangio needs for the time being, a good run defender whose size, strength and motor out the gate will make an impact in a 3-4’s most important position.
Talarico: Tremaine Edmunds
Recent mock drafts have been calling for Quenton Nelson to the Bears at No. 8, but I simply don’t think he falls to the Bears. If Nelson is off the board, the 19-year-old linebacker out of Virginia Tech should be the easy decision.
Edmunds has ideal size for a linebacker and will immediately make an impact in Chicago. His productivity has continued to improve throughout his career as he amassed 213 tackles, 33 of which for a loss, over his three-year career with the majority of his production occurring the last two. He would be an upgrade at a position of need and would be a safe pick.
Letizia: Derwin James
Surprise! James hasn’t been mocked to the Bears often but he could be the best player out of this draft when it’s all said and done. In fact, did you know that James averaged more tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, fumbles forced, fumbles recovered, and pass breakups per game than Minkah Fitzpatrick? What James brings to the table is his versatility. He lined up all over the field for the Seminoles playing single-high safety, box safety, linebacker, slot corner and occasionally rushed the passer.
So while the pick might seem like a luxury with Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos, James can do things the other two can’t. His elite athleticism would give the Bears a defensive identity that they have been lacking the last few seasons. Vic Fangio can move him all around the defense to be a matchup nightmare. James can cover tight ends, running backs, and slot receivers. He can be disruptive in the run game and can rush the passer. Like I said, at first glance he doesn’t fill a position of need because he actually fills three.
With the 39th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select …
DeWitt: Lorenzo Carter
Back-to-back Bulldogs for me. Carter is a long-lean pass rusher who can be utilized within sub-packages from the get-go with the potential to grow into a much larger role. I’m extremely enticed by his versatility as he can rush the passer from both a standing position and his hand in the dirt.
Only had 15 career sacks, but is a tremendous athlete with length that Pace would covet. And with proper coaching, which the Bears have, Carter can continue to improve and produce more in the NFL than he ever did at Georgia.
Hazlett: Billy Price
The Bears need to solidify the offensive line. Price is one of the smartest offensive linemen in the draft, and as a result will be able to play either center or guard. That sounds like a relief for Cody Whitehair. Harry Hiestand will be able to get the best out of both players where they are most comfortable. Price is technically sound and more times than not will get his punch in before his opponent across the line can even start his move.
Moreano: Will Hernandez
Watching film on an offensive lineman for most can be tedious, but that’s not true when you watch UTEP’s Will Hernandez. The first All-American offensive lineman in school history plays the position with a nasty mentality, trying to drive his opponents into the ground on each run play. The four-year starter played all 37 games at left guard and should be a plug-and-play guy in the league. NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks had some high praise for Hernandez in episode 290 of the NFL: Move the Sticks podcast.
“When I look at Will Hernandez, I think Will Hernandez’s game may be better suited for the pros than Quenton Nelson,” said Brooks. “I think Will Hernandez, his game is a little more refined, a little more polished in terms of how he is going to play with his hands.”
Ortman: Josh Jackson
The Bears continue to go heavy on defense in the draft, with Iowa’s standout corner Josh Jackson. The converted receiver has ideal size and instincts and could compete with Prince Amukamara for a Day 1 starting role. Although some would label Jackson a one year wonder, eight interceptions and 26 passes defended speak volumes to his ability to produce and he should only get better with more experience. With Kyle Fuller now locked up, he and Jackson would be a formidable duo for years.
Bocker: Ronald Jones
Jones is a first-round talent who will fall to the second-round simply because of the position he plays. Running backs are the opposite of EDGE defenders and quarterbacks in terms of how they are valued in the draft as valuable players always seem to fall (see: Jordan Howard). Jones would be a great complementary piece to Howard, as his arrival would lighten the load on both and hopefully keep them healthy.
I see Jones playing a role similar to Alvin Kamara in New Orleans while having an impact in both the run and pass game. Keep in mind Pace is coming from New Orleans where they have consistently employed a running back by committee approach over the past decade. Jones also gives new head coach Matt Nagy an explosive playmaker at the running back position.
Ingalls: Christian Kirk
Anyone else’s blood pressure spike when they realized Kevin White is now the third wide receiver on the depth chart? That’s a problem. The Bears need another dependable receiver, and they can snag one in round two with Christian Kirk. While he won’t be winning any jump balls at the goal line, Kirk is a freak athlete who can create explosive plays in many ways. He punishes defenses for yielding him even the smallest amount of space and separation.
Considering how Matt Nagy’s offense utilizes speed and space, Kirk appears to be a perfect fit. I like to imagine the Bears going four wide and having Taylor Gabriel and Kirk lined up in the slot on opposite sides of the field with Jordan Howard as the single back. Imagine defenses having to spread out to cover two players who regularly convert bubble screens for six points while also having a bruising running back licking his chops at a six-man box. Kirk provides nightmares for defenses, and his reliable hands could make him a great friend of Mitchell Trubisky for many years.
Talarico: D.J. Moore
Moore burst onto the scene this past season as he had more receptions (80) and yards (1033) in 2017 than in his first two seasons combined (66 receptions, 994 yards).
Coming in at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Moore wouldn’t physically replace Cam Meredith’s 6-foot-3 frame, but he could surely help compliment Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Kevin White is an enormous question mark and the expectations for him are at an all-time low, so there is still a need for depth at receiver. Moore provides that.
Letizia: Josh Sweat
Sweat is an interesting player because his talent far outweighs his production. But if you look closer you can see that he just wasn’t used properly at Florida State. He lined up on the inside shoulder of the tackle most of the time which did not allow his tremendous athleticism to shine. If used as an outside rusher, he has double-digit sack potential in a few years. Right away, he should provide valuable pass rush reps and the ability to set the edge against the run.
The only thing keeping him out of the first round is he has had multiple knee injuries to the same knee and there might be some concerns about how it will hold up. But his most serious injury was all the way back when he was a high school senior. As mentioned above, he has off the charts athleticism. James (my first pick) and Sweat would bring some much-needed speed and athleticism to the Bears’ defense.