The Chicago Bears have bought into the total rebuild phase of their franchise. Justin Fields is the franchise guy and the team has committed to building a team around him. Last year, Fields showed he can do it all but Chicago has to get weapons around him.
The Bears also need to bolster their calling card: their defense.
With the NFL draft around the corner, they can do both with ease. Though they are lacking a day one pick, the depth of the draft is in their favor. Here is how they could make the most of their draft weekend:
No Day One Picks
This isn’t as bad as it looks. The Bears have multiple second and fifth round picks that they could package in order to move up into the back end of the first. If they love a guy that much, they could make a move but staying out doesn’t hurt, either.
Round 2, Pick 7: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Round 2, Pick 16: Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota
Round 3, Pick 7: Nick Ford, OL, Utah
The Bears day two will be their day one. With the way the roster is constructed currently, they would do well to lean to Justin Fields’ strengths.
Running the ball will be very important and one of the best backs in the draft could fall into their laps. Kenneth Walker III is the most well-rounded back in the draft. He has elite balance and power with break away speed after contact. His soft hands on check downs and the flats will aid in Fields’ development as well.
The Bears no longer have Khalil Mack and so a replacement is needed. Boye Mafe is one the premier athletes in the draft this year. His speed to power transition is as fluid as any, and he brings a pop when tackling. It won’t be a one-to-one replacement for Mack, but Mafe is a good start.
Following the trend of building around Fields, the Bears should look at the offensive line. Nick Ford would be a solid pick in the third round. He can play either interior line or tackle, which shows his versatility. He may slot better as an interior lineman at the next level. His agility bending on traps and pulls is borderline elite. Getting him as a young building block would pay dividends as the team matures over time.
Round 5, Pick 5: John Ridgeway, DL, Arkansas
Round 5, Pick 7: Tre Turner, WR, Virginia Tech
Round 6, Pick 7: Greg Eisworth, Safety, Iowa State
Day three will be the Bears’ chance to put some pieces in the puzzle to complete their picture. As of right now they don’t have any concrete starters outside of Fields, Eddie Jackson, Darnell Mooney and Equanimeous St. Brown. So their late picks have a chance to make the roster and start.
Ridgeway and Eisworth both have a chance to round out the defense.
John Ridgeway is a large interior force that has some good qualities to his game. He is a bull rusher and shortens gaps to stuff runs. His presence in the middle of the defensive line in Chicago would allow him to make an immediate impact as a rookie.
Greg Eisworth has been lauded for his leadership qualities. That coupled with his ability to be an asset in run support makes him a prime candidate for Chicago’s backend. Eddie Jackson would be allowed to play centerfield while Eisworth patrols the second level.
The Bears should also look to procure a weapon for Fields to throw to.
Tre Turner is a solid pass catcher and intermediate route runner. His ability to get open and get open often will be a godsend for Fields and he could build a chemistry with him early. As of right now, the slot position is wide open and Turner could step into it with a good camp and preseason.
The Bears may not be a playoff team this season but with a draft like this they could be in a couple of years. We have seen the youth movement work for other teams and it could work for Chicago as well.