Chicago Bears Draft Forecast
After a 6-10 season in John Fox’s first year as head coach, the Chicago Bears own nine picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Chicago will gain an added boost when last year’s first round pick, wide receiver Kevin White, should be ready to go when organized team activities begin.
Here’s the entire forecast for the Bears, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2010:
First Round (11): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
As much as the Bears need help along the defensive front still in a transition phase to a 3-4 scheme, the offensive line can return to normalcy. Drafting Conklin hopefully solidifies a future position of need, Pro Bowl offensive guard Kyle Long moves back to right guard, newly signed offensive tackle Bobby Massie to right tackle.
Conklin will slide if Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley is on the board at 11.
-Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
-Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
-Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Second Round (41): Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The time is near to find a replacement for the end of the Jay Cutler. It would be ideal if Connor Cook would be available, but it seems he’ll be off the board if a team trades into the last picks of the first round or early second round.
A lot of pro comparisons have been made between Hackenberg and Cutler, but the situation works because the former Penn State quarterback could need a year off to recover two long years behind the Nittany Lion offensive line.
Another round goes by without adding more talent and depth to the defensive front, but it’s too much to resist if Hackenberg or Cook is on the board.
-Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
-Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Third Round (72): Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
The one-year wonder at Penn State arrives to the Bears to provide depth for Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton at the defensive ends. At 6’6” and over 270 pounds, Nassib led the nation in sacks in 2015, but the sudden surge of stats will be a serious question mark as draft day moves forward.
-Yannick Ngakoue, DE/OLB, Maryland
-Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
-Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
Fourth Round (106): Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU
Alexander’s strength comes in run-blocking and at 6’5” and over 320 pounds, he is able to plug a lot of gaps for a young running back core. Manny Ramirez is coming for help in free agency, but Matt Slauson and Ramirez are getting up in age as well.
-Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
-Tyvis Powell, S, Ohio State
Fourth Round (127): Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
Martellus Bennett is in New England and Zach Miller has a new deal. A second tight end is needed and Vannett is a guy that wasn’t targeted as much in the passing game because of so many weapons in Columbus last season.
He’s shown enough flashes with his hands to be a serviceable second tight end option as a rookie.
-Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
Fifth Round (150): John Theus, OT, Georgia
Theus is a guy that serves as a more than reliable option as another project for an offensive tackle. Adding Theus would serve as a viable backup because he started for three years at Georgia. One scout said Theus, “Isn’t weak. He’s just not strong,” so there is definitely work to be done.
Sixth Round (185): Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Northern Iowa
The league is going in two directions in terms of secondary players: short and quick or big and physical. Hall fits the bill as big and physical standing at 6’2” and weighing in at just under 200 pounds at the combine.
Chicago got lucky with the sudden emergence of Adrian Amos last year to play right away. Hall has played numerous positions as Amos did during his college tenure. There isn’t any doubt Hall can serve on special teams and work his way up through the depth.
Sixth Round (206): Jack Allen, OC, Michigan State
Hroniss Grasu seems to be the next in line to take over at center. As it has been repeated about the offensive line age multiple times, Will Montgomery isn’t getting any younger. Allen is another experienced lineman that can serve as a spot-starter at the center position.
Seventh Round (230): Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida
Morrison checks out in terms of on-the-field production, but the off-the-field issues are more than evident. His athleticism and tough attitude heading toward ball carriers make him a steal if he’s still available in the seventh round.
Ryan Stevens is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.