Kiper: New mock draft leaves Bears without first-round QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Mel Kiper released his second mock draft of the year on Thursday, and for the second time he didn’t project Ryan Pace to pick a quarterback in the first round. While Kiper recognizes the Bears’ need at QB, he has them picking a playmaker at No. 20: Kadarius Toney, a wide receiver out of Florida.
“The Bears made the playoffs (at 8-8) with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles under center, but they reportedly were in the Carson Wentz sweepstakes,” Kiper said. “With Trubisky a free agent and not expected to return, are they now going to stick with Foles? Regardless, I don't see a quarterback for them here, but they can add Toney, a playmaker who will help as a receiver, runner and return man. Get the ball in his hands and get out of the way. Chicago could also get in on the tackle class and draft a successor for Charles Leno and Bobbie Massie.”
If you’re wondering why the Bears might select a wide receiver with Darnell Mooney entering Year Two, and plenty of veterans available on the free agent market, take a look at some of this Toney tape:
In his first mock draft of the year, Kiper had the Bears drafting offensive tackle Teven Jenkins from Oklahoma State. But why no quarterback?
In each of his first two mocks, Kiper projected Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones to be gone in the top half of the draft. In fact, in his 2.0 mock, Kiper had all five top-tier QBs gone before the No. 10 overall pick rolled around, let alone No. 20 where the Bears pick.
For what it’s worth, Kiper’s 2.0 mock featured projected draft-day trades for the first time in his long mock-drafting career. However, he’s yet to project Pace as one of the GMs to move up for a quarterback in the first round. Instead, he had the Falcons trading up to No. 2 to select Zach Wilson, the 49ers moving up to No. 7 to select Justin Fields and the Patriots sliding in at No. 9 to grab Trey Lance. Kiper also projected the Panthers to draft Mac Jones while standing pat at No. 8. He didn’t have any surprises, with the Jaguars selecting Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall.
With all five of the most highly touted QBs off the board before the Bears pick, they would do well to pick an offensive lineman, or another playmaker at No. 20— especially if the team decides to part ways with Allen Robinson or Bobby Massie. That could also set the Bears up to select Kyle Trask in the second round.
Without a Combine this year, due to COVID-19, talent evaluators will have to turn to a plethora of Pro Day workouts. Then, the NFL draft kicks off on April 29.