Another 2021 NFL mock draft sends Bears help at wide receiver in 1st round

Bryan Perez
·2 min read

The Chicago Bears’ team needs through six games of the 2020 season rank something like this: (1) offensive line, (2) not much else.

While that may seem a bit silly, it’s true. The offensive line is the only glaring weakness on the Bears’ roster, which puts them in a strong position for the 2021 NFL draft, assuming players remain healthy and not much changes between now and then.

Sure, Chicago will target a quarterback at some point in next year’s draft, and they could use a young player who can challenge Danny Trevathan as a starter alongside Roquan Smith, but that’s about it when it comes to a clear list of draft needs.

And remember: free agency will impact what the Bears need between now and April, too.

The problem for the Bears, assuming offensive line remains their biggest need, is that premier first-round offensive linemen are usually off the board by the time Chicago’s current draft selection — No. 25 overall — is on the clock. As a result, GM Ryan Pace will have no choice but to go “best player available.”

Several mock drafts have the Bears using that selection on a wide receiver, including the latest from the Sporting News, which has Chicago scooping Alabama wideout, Jaylen Waddle.

It’s getting clear Allen Robinson won’t be re-signing with the team in 2021. The Bears then need more pop in their offense and it would be hard to pass on up Waddle as they likely try push their offense forward with a new QB.

Let’s pump the brakes a little on A-Rob not returning in 2021. That’s far from a “clear” reality. But even though this analysis is way off, the pick still makes sense.

Waddle is the ideal complement to the Bears’ current pass-catchers, which by the time next year’s draft rolls around will likely primarily be Robinson, Darnell Mooney, and Javon Wims.

Mooney has quickly established himself as a player who can win on all three levels in the NFL with his top-shelf route-running and 4.38 speed while Robinson is the consummate professional who does everything well. Adding a real, true field-flipper like Waddle in Round 1 would give the Bears one of the most diverse and talented wider receiver corps in the NFL, which isn’t something Chicago is used to fielding.

Even though wide receiver doesn’t feel like a first-round need just yet, it could quickly become that if Robinson leaves in free agency and Anthony Miller continues to fall short of expectations.

At this point, drafting a player like Waddle in Round 1 feels more like a first-round luxury, which is usually what happens for good teams.