The Chicago Bears are in an interesting position going into the NFL Draft this week at Roosevelt University. With new G.M. Ryan Pace at the helm, the team has addressed plenty of needs this offseason, but there is still plenty of work to do as the new leadership of the organization makes decisions about their collective future.
With that in mind, we are taking a look at some of the positions that the team has got to address in the draft, whether it be with the number seven overall pick or later in the selection process. These picks have the potential to either get Pace and company off on the right foot, or to potentially derail this rebuilding process before it begins.
Today, we look at a position the Bears saw themselves get weaker at in the offseason, and which wide receivers could be on the team’s radar during the draft.
At the top of the draft, there are two wide receivers that have tongues wagging throughout the league. Alabama receiver Amari Cooper is the more polished option, with incredible statistics from a three-year career at the university and the type of skillset that makes scouts drool. The other is West Virginia wideout Kevin White, who only has one big year on his resume but had a ridiculous NFL Combine performance to his credit.
The problem for the Bears is that there is no guarantee that either receiver will be available to them with the seventh pick. The Oakland Raiders could definitely be in the market for one, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the New York Jets grabbed one as well if Marcus Mariota is off the board when they pick sixth. It’s possible that a player like Todd Gurley or Vic Beasley could go ahead of the Bears, meaning that one of the receivers could slip to them.
If that doesn’t happen, there are still other options for the Bears to consider. Two wide receivers have been shooting up draft boards in the lead-up to the selection show, with Louisville’s DeVante Parker and UCF’s Breshad Perriman both now projected to be taken in the first half of the first round. Both would be a bit of a reach for the Bears at seven, but if they were to move down in the order via trade, then either would be a sparkling option.
If the Bears want to wait until the second round to take a wideout, there are a few options worth considering. A good one is Jaelen Strong out of Arizona State, who has the mix of strength and height that the Bears lost when Brandon Marshall was traded to the Jets. Phillip Dorsett would also be a great option as a field spacer having run one of the fastest times at the Combine, but it doesn’t feel like he’ll make it back to the Bears at their second round pick.
One other player to keep an eye on later in the draft is East Carolina wideout Justin Hardy. He had 121 catches and 1494 yards receiving in his final season at the university, and he could be an excellent selection in the third or fourth round.
How Badly Do the Bears Need One?
The Bears’ offense right now is still pretty set with pass catchers, but with Alshon Jeffery looking to cash in and Matt Forte likely out of the picture sooner rather than later, the Bears need another weapon to utilize on offense. Getting younger at the receiver position would be a really smart idea, and adding a player that has speed to burn would help space the field out more for Jeffery as a vertical threat. We’ll give this one an eight out of 10 on the need scale.