With the 105th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select …
DeWitt: Braden Smith
Smith isn’t the most athletic prospect, but he may end up being the most powerful. In fact, there’s a video of him benching 515 pounds … in high school. He has the build (6-foot-6, 303-pounds) to line up at guard next to Whitehair. With his tremendous power, Smith has the ability to take on the most powerful of bull-rushers.
The guy is a straight-up mauler at the point of attack. With the proper coaching, Smith can develop into a long-term starter in the league.
Hazlett: James Washington
Despite signing Bennie Fowler to add depth at wideout, the Bears are still forced to take a wide receiver in the draft after failing to re-sign Cameron Meredith. Washington is a 5-foot-11 speedster that accelerates with the best of them. He lacks a quick first step, and as a result, is going to struggle to gain separation when he’s jammed at the line of scrimmage. However, Washington could be yet another “Zebra” in Nagy’s offense because he can play either outside or in the slot.
Moreano: Uchenna Nwosu
Uchenna Nwosu was recruited to be a safety at USC, but ended up as an outside linebacker. Despite the position change, he was still able to accumulate 13 passes defended in his senior season with the Trojans. Also in Nwosu’s senior season, he had 47 solo tackles (11.5 for loss) and had 9.5 sacks. He excelled when using his quick hands and speed to get on the inside shoulder of offensive tackles, which gave him a quicker path to the quarterback. But there were multiple times where Nwosu just lacked effort and gave up on plays. If the Bears do draft Nwosu, his ability to finish on each snap will have to be addressed to contribute on Fangio’s defense.
Ortman: Kemoko Turay
The Bears still have a need for an edge rusher, and outside of Bradley Chubb, there isn’t a sure thing in this draft. Turay has the explosiveness to become a very nice rotational piece and situational pass rusher for the Bears. Aaron Lynch was signed in free agency to compete for playing time opposite Leonard Floyd, and Turay provides depth at a position where you can never have enough productive players.
Bocker: Duke Ejiofor
Ejiofor is very similar to Eddie Jackson last year in that he is a very talented player that could fall due to an injury leading into the draft. This is probably optimistic to expect him to fall just because the NFL always needs pass rushers but alas this is the pick. Carl Lawson had similar injury issues going into the draft and he lasted until the fourth round and put together a phenomenal rookie year. Ejiofor is more of a three-down defender that could replace Aaron Lynch if he leaves after his one-year deal expires.
Ingalls: Leon Jacobs
Ryan Pace typically likes to add raw talent on Day 3 in the draft. Look no further than Leon Jacobs. He tested extremely well at the combine, finishing within the top six of all EDGE prospects for each and every drill (including the fastest 40 time at 4.48).
Despite being a phenomenal athlete, Jacobs doesn’t have a lot of experience as a pass rusher and it shows (he spent time as an ILB and fullback while at Wisconsin). He is slow to diagnose plays which often times gets him reached or out of position. Even with being behind the eight ball on multiple plays, Jacobs’ athleticism allowed him to make up the ground on many occasions. Jacobs is a project as an EDGE rusher, but he will provide instant value as a special teamer.
Talarico: Duke Dawson
Dawson played in six games as a freshman and five as a sophomore before becoming a full-time starter his junior year. Over his career, he has three pick-sixes, 17 passes defended and six interceptions with 16 passes defended. Standing at 5-foot-10, 208-pounds, Dawson has an athletic build, which is to be expected when half of his interceptions were taken back for touchdowns. Don’t expect him to start immediately, but he does have the experience covering SEC receivers and could provide great depth and be plugged into certain situations before taking on a bigger role.
Letizia: Daesean Hamilton
With the bears allowing Meredith to move onto New Orleans, the wide receiver position is again a position of need even after the Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel signing.
While it’s been common to see the Bears picking a wide receiver in the first two rounds, I believe they are generally excited about Kevin White (even if that is misguided). So they might wait til the third day to target the position.
Hamilton is one of the best route runners in the draft and that is a skill that directly translates to NFL success. While he lacks athleticism (he ran a 4.52 at his pro day), history has proven that speed is not the most important factor for wide receivers. His best bet to succeed is in the slot where his clean routes and good hands will allow him to flourish in Matt Nagy’s offense.
With the 115th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select …
DeWitt: Tre’Quan Smith
Smith does two things well. He moves the sticks and puts up points. Sign me up. He had 13 touchdowns last season, and 78 percent of his catches went for first downs. Smith finished the year with nearly 1,200 yards on 59 catches. He had a strong Senior Bowl week, and his 803/8 wingspan is in the 96th percentile via MockDraftable.
He needs to improve his route running, but most prospects do. His ability to track, go up, and get deep balls at their highest point should be enticing to both Nagy and Trubisky.
Hazlett: Marcus Allen
Wow, we all thought that Adrian Amos was a hard hitter. Wait until you see Marcus Allen! He plays downhill and plays it aggressively. Allen makes all the plays in space against the ball carrier and doesn’t miss too many tackles. His physicality makes him a good match-up against tight ends. Allen also found himself to be one of Penn State’s team captains and embraces that he is a great character to have in the locker room.
Moreano: Nathan Shepherd
Nathan Shepherd went from working 12-hour shifts at a packaging company to becoming an NFL prospect. The Division II MIAA Defensive Player of the Year had 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks in his senior season. Shepherd was able to drive opposing offensive lineman back with his brute strength and as a result, generated some good hits on quarterbacks. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound lineman also showed great instinctiveness when dissecting screen plays, being able to find the ball carrier despite taking on multiple blocks at a time. With Shepherd’s determination, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get into some defensive line rotations early in his NFL career.
Ortman: Equanimeous St. Brown
We all know about the hole created due to Meredith’s departure. (See Above) St. Brown has the size and speed to become a part of Matt Nagy’s offense. With Robinson and White both coming off injuries, the Bears need all the insurance they can get when it comes to pass catchers for Mitchell Trubisky.
Bocker: Alex Cappa
Cappa is a Division II prospect which Pace has shown he is not afraid to draft. After not picking up the option on Josh Sitton the Bears need for an interior offensive lineman became pretty obvious. With this pick, the Bears can let Cappa, 2017 fifth-round pick Jordan Morgan, and Eric Kush fight it out for the starting spot. I trust Harry Hiestand, who some call the best offensive line coach in the game, to get the most out of all his players.
Ingalls: Royce Freeman
I love Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham, but I have little faith in them carrying the ball 10-15 times a game should Howard miss time this season. The Bears need a back who can reliably carry the load for a few games as the lead back. That person in this draft is Royce Freeman, who has proven he can be productive with over four seasons with the Ducks (over 5,500 yards in his career to go along with 60 touchdowns). The mileage from almost 250 carries a season visibly wore Freeman down to an extent, but his experience combined with his vision and size make him a great candidate to back up Howard.
Talarico: Geron Christian
Christian is a three-year starter at Louisville and did a great job protecting Lamar Jackson for the last two seasons. He has ideal size for an offensive lineman as he stands 6-foot-6, 318-pounds and can allow for necessary adjustments to be made for the line in Chicago. He won’t blow you away like Quenton Nelson, but he is a reliable tackle that would be an excellent pickup in the fourth round.
Letizia: Parry Nickerson
What jumps out about Nickerson is his tremendous ball skills. In four years as a starter for the Green Wave, Nickerson amassed 16 interceptions and 31 passes broken up. His small stature has most thinking he is best suited as a slot corner, but I believe he can play on the outside as well. He proved he has the athleticism to do it when he ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the combine. His length might not be what Vic Fangio likes in his corners, but his footwork and ability to mirror receivers make him a potential sleeper.