The Chicago Bears will soon be on the clock at the NFL Draft, as the team is slated to pick 11th in the first round of the selection process on Thursday night.
With a boatload of needs and aspirations of becoming competitive within the next season or two, the Bears know that this is a critical draft class for their development, and they simply cannot afford to miss on any of their top picks this year.
With that in mind, we have a list of 11 players that the Bears could conceivably choose from when they go on the clock with the 11th pick. Some of these players will likely be gone when the Bears pick, but it all depends on how things shake out in the selections before the team goes on the clock.
DeForest Buckner, Defensive End – Oregon
The run-up to the draft has been really odd for Buckner, as various mock drafts have had him taken anywhere from third to 15th in the opening round. To be honest, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a top five pick, with his excellent pass rush ability and his monstrous frame, and if the Bears are fortunate enough to have him drop to them, they’d be crazy not to select him.
Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle – Michigan State
There are three extremely good offensive tackles available early in the draft, with Ronnie Stanley and Laremy Tunsil also likely to go in the top 10, and Conklin has generated a lot of interest. Some rumors have had the Tennessee Titans moving back into the top 10 to take him, and the New York Giants are also very interested in his services. If the Bears want to lock down their offensive line, he would be a very solid addition.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back – Ohio State
Speaking of players that have generated a lot of interest, Elliott is one of the only playmakers available early on in the draft process. Teams like Dallas could certainly find a use for him, and there have been plenty of mock drafts suggesting that the Miami Dolphins could trade up to grab him, but if he’s on the board, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Ryan Pace take the best player available.
Leonard Floyd, Outside Linebacker - Georgia
A player that has excellent sack totals and tremendous speed, Floyd could be a great fit for a Bears team looking to shore up their linebacking corps with speedy talent. There are knocks on his physique, as he could be a little too small to play linebacker, but Vic Fangio could still potentially find a use for him if that’s the direction Pace goes.
Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback - Florida
Just a bit undersized for a corner, Hargreaves could provide a nice complement to Kyle Fuller if the Bears opt to upgrade at that position. He is really fast and really aggressive, but that can be a bit of a bad thing as he occasionally will overrun routes.
Myles Jack, Linebacker - UCLA
There has been a ton of speculation about how far Jack will fall in the draft, as lingering issues from a torn meniscus continue to drag down his stock. Teams in the upper half of the first round will likely pass on him, as there’s no certainty on his health, but the fact remains that, when healthy, he is likely the most talented player in this draft, and he could be a huge playmaker for any team that takes him.
Darron Lee, Linebacker – Ohio State
The Bears are looking to add an extra dose of aggression and speed to their linebacking corps, and Lee certainly fits that build. An incredible athlete, Lee isn’t the biggest guy on the draft board, but he’ll certainly draw some interest in the middle of the first round and could creep up the board a bit if teams are really nervous about a guy like Jack.
Shaq Lawson, Defensive End - Clemson
Arguably the player most often connected to the Bears, Lawson would add a lot to the Bears’ defensive line if they were to select him. The team is desperately looking for a guy that can make an impact off the edge, and he would be an immediate upgrade at a position that the Bears don’t really have a standout at right now.
Paxton Lynch, Quarterback - Memphis
With Jared Goff and Carson Wentz serving as the undisputed first and second best quarterbacks in this class, the Bears will likely have to look later in the draft to potentially select a Jay Cutler successor, and while Lynch isn’t a very likely pick, Pace could pull a surprise here. He needs work on his timing and his touch, but he is a good decisionmaker and the Bears could look at him as a guy that could develop with proper coaching.
Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle - Louisville
If the Bears are looking for a versatile tackle that can stop both the run and the pass, they may find a winner in Rankins. He is a beefy tackle that has impressive athleticism, and his game film reveals a lot of potential. He played both end and tackle at Louisville, and that versatility could be a big selling point for the Bears.
A’Shawn Robinson, Defensive Tackle – Alabama
If the Bears want to focus on beefing up their run defense, then Robinson would be a really solid pick (although they could potentially trade back in the first round and still have a shot at him). He needs some work as a pass rusher, putting him behind guys like Rankins on most draft boards, but Pace and Fangio still would likely dig his game.