NFL Draft: Bears get Mac Jones, Christian Darrisaw in Athletic mock

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Alex Shapiro
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Bears draft tackle and quarterback in Athletic mock draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

As we draw closer to the draft, the big question Bears fans are debating is if the Bears should make a move on a new starting quarterback or go for a foundational offensive tackle instead. Well, in a new first-round mock draft with contributions from writers across the country, The Athletic has the Bears making big moves to shore up each position.

Things started off interestingly with a run on quarterbacks with the first four picks of the draft. With scrutiny on the position increasing every year, it’s not unreasonable to think Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields could go back-to-back-to-back-to-back to kick off the draft. But when the Bears came up at No. 20, Adam Jahns, who represented the Bears in this mock, did not make Jones the fifth quarterback off the board. Instead, he chose Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw. For what it’s worth, Teven Jenkins from Oklahoma State went to the Raiders before the Bears at No. 17, and Rashawn Slater was long gone at No. 13 to the Chargers.

“Taking a quarterback was definitely a consideration, but a $10 million investment also was made in Andy Dalton,” Jahns said in the mock draft. “He’s the Bears’ starting quarterback for 2021, or at least that’s what he was told during his recruitment in free agency. Either way, it’s best not to force the pick, though the Bears have a history of doing that. This is a great year for offensive tackles, and the Bears have to be sure to get one. Cornerback is on the table after Kyle Fuller’s departure, but the Bears are clearly shifting resources from defense to offense. Selecting Darrisaw is part of that process. Charles Leno Jr. and Germain Ifedi become placeholders at tackle until Darrisaw is ready.”

RELATED: Report: Bears sign former Super Bowl hero Damien Williams

The Bears haven’t selected an offensive tackle in higher than the fifth round since picking Gabe Carimi 29th-overall in 2011, so a foundational move like this is long overdue. To be fair, Leno Jr. has been a reliable starter as a seventh-round pick in 2014. But getting 94 starts at left tackle from a seventh-rounder is more of an exception to the rule.

Jahns did his best Ryan Pace impersonation a few picks later, however, when he traded back into the first round to draft Mac Jones at No. 30. In this mock draft, Jahns sent the No. 52 pick and the No. 83 pick to get his guy.

“The Bears could be patient and let their QB search in the draft play out into the second round,” Jahns said. “Jones and Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond could be available. Then again, the wait down to pick No. 52 could take a long time. GM Ryan Pace doesn’t like doing that. Ironically, this trade is made with the team that just signed Mitch Trubisky to be its backup. But never mind that. The Bills can have Trubisky. The Bears are on to the 2021 season and beyond. Jones is worth the swing late in the first round. Dalton also said he’d be OK with handling a mentor role. By drafting Jones, Pace and coach Matt Nagy can potentially extend their stays in Chicago, too. Young quarterbacks always change situations and expectations.”

An NFL draft wouldn’t be complete without Pace trading up (or back in) to select a player he’s got his eye on, so this feels on-brand. He made moves to select Mitchell Trubisky, Eddie Jackson, David Montgomery, Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller, Leonard Floyd, Nick Kwiatkoski and Trevis Gipson. That’s eight players in six drafts. If Jones is hanging around the end of the first round, again, it’s not unreasonable to think Pace would make a move to snag him.

The draft begins on April 29.

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