Bears mock draft: Ryan Poles trades down for more picks

We’re one day away from the NFL Draft, so it’s our last chance to play around with mock drafts before the picks start coming off the board for real. The Bears have several needsー like wide receiver, cornerback, and interior offensive lineー and currently have six picks to fill those needs. Ryan Poles could stand pat and fill several holes, or trade down to create more draft capital. While it seems unlikely, we can’t rule out the possibility of Poles trading up to land a serious impact player, either. In this mock, we’re going to see what could happen if the Bears stay put with all their picks. I tried to select as many different players as possible among the three mocks, too, so if you want to familiarize yourself with more names before the draft begins for real, be sure to click on the links above for the other scenarios.

TRADE: BEARS RECEIVE NOS. 44, 99 FROM BROWNS FOR NO. 38

After a big run on wide receivers, the Bears trade down knowing they can still scoop an impact player on defense, despite moving back. They get another Top-100 pick in the process.

NO. 44: ROGER MCCREARY – CORNERBACK

Kaiir Elam and Kyler Gordon come off before the Bears pick, but they still get a new starting corner in McCreary. In Cover 2 defenses, like Matt Eberflus’, cornerbacks are often asked to play press coverage, and this is where McCreary excels. He’s physical near the line and does a good job staying tight with wide receivers. In scenarios where he does play off the line a bit, he’s also shown good speed to close the gap and can leave his feet to break up passes. Named All-SEC First Team in 2021.

NO. 48: QUAY WALKER – LINEBACKER

One of the best tacklers in the draft continues to slide, and the Bears can’t resist. Walker boasts the speed required to play inside linebacker in Matt Eberflus’ defense. He’s comfortable in zone coverage, which is a must as well. Against the run, Walker can move laterally to avoid blocks and is often around the play, even if he doesn’t make the tackle. He provides great depth inside, behind Roquan Smith and Nick Morrow, with the ability to develop into a starter down the road.

NO. 71: ALEC PIERCE – WIDE RECEIVER

Poles finds another starter in the third round. Pierce will slide into the “X” position right off the bat, giving Justin Fields the big bodied target he needs. Pierce is tall, coming in at 6’3”, and he put up the highest vertical jump at the Combine at 40.5”, too. In addition, he’s got 4.41 speed. At the line, Pierce can beat press coverage with his hands and sudden breaks. Put all that together and you’ve got a serious deep threat.

TRADE: BEARS RECEIVE NOS. 102, 224, 247 FROM DOLPHINS FOR NO. 99

With several intriguing OL options available the Bears flip the pick they got on Friday to add two seventh-rounders.

NO. 102: KELLEN DIESCH – OFFENSIVE TACKLE

The gamble to move down again pays off. Diesch is still there three picks later and gives the Bears another option at left tackle. The competition is on to decide who will protect Fields’ blind side. If Diesch wins, the Bears can try moving Larry Borom or Teven Jenkins to right guard to further bolster the line, too. According to PFF, Diesch only surrendered three sacks and eight pressures total in 568 pass rushing snaps in college. At 6’7”, 301 pounds, he has the long, lean size Poles wants in O-linemen, too.

NO. 148: JOSH JOBE – CORNERBACK

At the NFL owners meetings, Matt Eberflus talked about wanting “M&M” players, meaning guys who play “mean” and with a “motor.” Jobe definitely fits that bill. He’s aggressive, hits hard and fights through the completion of the play. However that aggressive nature can get Jobe in trouble sometimes, as he was often flagged for pass interference or holding penalties. Jobe is no Patrick Surtain, but he should join the long list of impact defensive backs in the NFL.

NO. 150: TYQUAN THORNTON – WIDE RECEIVER

The Bears get another wide receiver who could earn playing time on the outside. Thornton played four years at Baylor, including a great senior season when he caught 62 balls for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns. But he really blew people away by running a 4.28 40-yard dash at the Combine. Thornton can use that speed to blow a top off the defense, or score from the middle of the field if he finds space. When well-covered, Thornton has also shown he can catch contested balls with good leaping ability, and length. At only 181 pounds, however, the Bears will likely want Thornton to bulk up as a rookie.

TRADE: BEARS RECEIVE NOS. 189, 230 FROM COMMANDERS FOR NO. 186

Poles slides back three spots again, to add a third seventh-round pick after entering the draft with none.

NO. 189: ERIC JOHNSON – DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

Johnson possesses the size and explosiveness Eberflus looks for in a defensive tackle, and has experience playing three-technique too. He can push the pocket from the interior to pressure the QB even if he doesn’t get the sack, and does well getting his hand up to bat passes down at the line. Johnson also shows great motor and pursuit, sometimes coming back into plays to tackle the ball carrier from behind. However, Johnson will likely need extra adjustment to the NFL game, as he comes from the FCS. With Justin Jones under contract for two seasons, the Bears have time to let Johnson develop, however.

NO. 224: DARON BLAND – CORNERBACK

After three seasons at Sacramento State, Bland transferred to Fresno State for 2021. He has several physical traits that can help him succeed in the NFL, namely a 76 ¾” wingspan and 4.46 speed. Last year he limited opponents to a 42% completion rate and 63.2 pass rating when targeted, according to PFF.

NO. 230: BRAD HAWKINS – SAFETY

Hawkins is an excellent tackler, and plays physically with receivers in pass coverage. He’s played deep, in the box, as a slot corner, and up on the line too, so the Bears can move him around the field if they like. With 42 games played at Michigan, Hawkins has plenty of experience, as well. But in all those games, Hawkins has never come up with an interception.

NO. 247: WILLIAM DUNKLE – RIGHT GUARD

Dunkle thrives in run blocking, and often wins his first block, then crushes another defender on the second level. He plays with the physical edge Poles desires, too. But in pass protection, Dunkle can be put on his heels, and sometimes whiffs picking up stunters.

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