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With the 2021 NFL draft less than a week away, we’ll soon see how Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace intends to address roster needs with some young talent.
Chicago has several needs, ranging from offensive tackle to cornerback to wide receiver to quarterback, which certainly should keep Bears fans on their toes.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter released his seven-round mock draft, which featured the Bears trading up to select their quarterback of the future, along with addressing some other needs in the later rounds.
Round 1, Pick 8: QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State) - via trade with Panthers
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The Bears' search for a franchise quarterback continues, and barring a trade up, Chicago isn't going to find him in this year's NFL draft. But in Reuter's new mock draft, he has the Bears trading up with the Carolina Panthers to No. 8 to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. Here's what Reuter had to say:
Chicago can't stand pat if it wants to become a Super Bowl contender. Andy Dalton was a nice pickup for the 2021 season, but finding a true playmaker at the position is the only way the Bears can climb the NFL power rankings. They'll trade their first- and third-round picks this year (Nos. 20 and 83) and next year's first-rounder to move up -- much like Kansas City did for Patrick Mahomes and Houston did for Deshaun Watson four years ago.
Round 2, Pick 52: S Jevon Holland (Oregon)
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While safety remains a need for Chicago, the Bears did re-sign Tashaun Gipson to a one-year deal to keep consistency at safety with him and Eddie Jackson. So it's a tad surprising to see Reuter select a safety for Chicago in the second round -- Oregon safety Jevon Holland -- with other glaring needs like cornerback and wide receiver still on the board. But given Gipson's deal is up after next season, it makes sense to think of the future. Here's what Reuter had to say about Holland:
Despite starting just two of 13 contests as a true freshman, Holland tied for 10th in the FBS with five interceptions. He also recorded 44 tackles and six pass breakups for the Ducks. He continued to play well as a sophomore, garnering honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors by posting 66 tackles, four interceptions (one returned for a score) and four pass breakups on the year. Holland opted out of the 2020 season. The four-star recruit and 2017 San Francisco Chronicle East Bay Player of the Year (five interceptions, 1,012 receiving yards, five punt return touchdowns) was coached by former NFL back Napoleon Kaufman at Bishop O'Dowd High School. Holland's father, Robert, played football at Sacramento State and then had a long career in the Canadian Football League.
Round 5, Pick 164: DT Marquiss Spencer, Mississippi State
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While defensive tackle doesn't present itself as an immediate concern, it's important to note that Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is entering the final year of his deal, and it's expected that he'll walk in free agency. That's where Chicago targeting Mississippi State defensive tackle Marquiss Spencer comes in, as it would serve the Bears well to develop him behind Hicks for a year. Here's what Reuter has to say about Spencer:
Spencer was a top-300 overall recruit nationally in 2016, racking up 21 sacks as a senior at Greenwood High School in Mississippi. He played in 12 games at linebacker as a true freshman (17 tackles, three for loss, with one sack) and then in 13 games as a reserve defensive end the following year (19 tackles, 4.5 for loss, with one sack). After four games (three tackles) in 2018, Spencer wound up redshirting due to an upper-body injury. He came back strong as a junior, starting all 13 games and racking up 37 tackles, 6.5 for loss, with two sacks and two forced fumbles. Spencer started nine games in 2020 (30 tackles, eight for loss, with three sacks, one interception) before suffering a season-ending injury against Auburn on Dec. 12.
Round 6, Pick 204: EDGE Patrick Johnson, Tulane
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The Bears have struggled in pass rush over the last couple of seasons, and it would be smart for them to target some help off the edge. Reuter has Chicago selecting Tulane edge rusher Patrick Johnson with their first sixth-round pick, where he'd have an opportunity to develop behind the likes of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. But if Quinn has another disappointing season, the Bears could looking to unload him. Here's what Reuter had to say about Johnson:
Despite being rated a two-star prospect out of Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Johnson became a three-time All-American Athletic Conference selection for the Green Wave. After playing in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2017 (12 tackles, one for loss, one start), he earned his first of two straight second-team All-AAC nods by leading his squad with 16 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks (among 49 tackles) and tied for ninth in the FBS with four forced fumbles, starting 12 of 13 appearances in 2018. Johnson struggled through injuries as a junior, but still started all 13 games (35 tackles, 8.5 for loss with four sacks, four pass breakups). He moved up to first-team all-conference accolades as a senior, tying for second in the FBS with 10 sacks (setting a school record with 24.5 in his career) and tying for eighth with 14.5 tackles for loss among his 39 total stops -- also breaking up two passes and forcing two fumbles in 11 starts. Johnson missed the team's bowl, however, following the unexpected death of his father, Kevin, after he arrived in New Orleans for the game.
Round 6, Pick 208: OT Landon Young, Kentucky
While it hasn't been getting mentions like cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback, offensive tackle remains a blatant need for the Bears in this draft. Tackles Charles Leno Jr. and Germain Ifedi are set to hit the open market next offseason, and there's not a lot of stability at tackle with them anyway. It took Chicago until the seventh round to take an offensive lineman in the draft last year. At least in this mock draft they're taking one sooner, although need indicates one will be taken way before the sixth round. Here's what Reuter had to say about Young:
A five-star prospect and top 15 overall recruit nationally, Young decided to sign with his hometown Wildcats. He was a two-time first-team all-state pick at Lexington's Lafayette High School, as well as the state's Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for his efforts in the discus and shot put. Young also won the state wrestling title at 285 pounds as a senior. He started three of 10 games played at left tackle as a true freshman in 2016, then six of 13 games at that spot his sophomore season. A meniscus injury sidelined him for 2018 but he came back to start all 13 contests in 2019. Young was named the captain of the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his work in the community. The accolades continued to roll in during the 2020 season, as he garnered a first-team All-SEC nod as an 11-game starter at left tackle.
Round 6, Pick 221: WR Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State
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There's a lot of uncertainty at the wide receiver position entering this season -- and especially next season. Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney are Chicago's top-two receivers, but there are a lot of questions behind them. Anthony Miller is on the trade block and despite the Bears signing Marquise Goodwin, they don't know exactly what they're going to get in him this season. Then there's the lack of depth in Javon Wims and Riley Ridley, which is why Chicago needs to target a wide receiver, as Reuter has them doing with Arkansas State's Jonathan Adams. Here's what Reuter had to say about Adams:
Adams followed his father's footsteps in playing for the Red Wolves. The Arkansas 2016 Class 6A Player of the Year stayed at home in Jonesboro, earning playing time in 11 games as a true freshman (8-77-9.6, one TD receiving; 11-226-20.5 kick returns). Adams started one of 13 games played in 2018 (17-267-15.7, three TDs) before joining his father in garnering All-Sun Belt Conference accolades (third team) after his junior season (62-851-13.7, five TDs). Adams tied for third in the FBS in 2020 with 12 receiving touchdowns and ranked ninth with both 7.9 receptions and 111.1 receiving yards per game (79-1,111-14.1 total in 10 starts). He was named a second-team Associated Press All-American and the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year for his exploits. He missed the team's final game with a hairline fracture in his hip.
Round 6, Pick 228: S Tyler Coyle, Purdue
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It's a little surprising to see Reuter have the Bears drafting two safeties rather than at least one cornerback, which remains a glaring need for the team. But Reuter has Chicago drafted Purdue safety Tyler Coyle with their final pick in the draft. The Bears have reliable depth at safety with Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson, so depth shouldn't be a major concern. Here's what Reuter had to say about Coyle:
Coyle was one of UConn's top defenders for three seasons, but transferred to Purdue in the spring of 2020 to play for his former head coach with the Huskies, Boilermakers defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. He only played in four games with one start (13 tackles) in West Lafayette, however, missing time due to a foot injury and the birth of his first child. At UConn, he led his team with 86 tackles (3.5 for loss) and 10 pass breakups in 2019. He returned his only interception of the year for a touchdown and forced two fumbles in 11 starts. Coyle had also led the Huskies with 107 tackles in 12 game (10 starts) in 2018, coming off a freshman season where he started nine of 12 contests played (67 tackles, three for loss, two interceptions, one defensive TD and five pass breakups). Coyle was a three-sport star at Windsor High School in Connecticut. He helped the football team win a state title as a junior, suited up with the hoops squad, won a state championship in the high jump in track and also won a national championship as part of the 4x200 relay in June 2016.