Chicago Bears Draft Forecast

Story posted April 20, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio, NFL Draft by Ryan Stevens

After a 6-10 season in John Fox’s first year as head coach, the Chicago Bears own nine picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Chicago will gain an added boost when last year’s first round pick, wide receiver Kevin White, should be ready to go when organized team activities begin.

Here’s the entire forecast for the Bears, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2010:

First Round (11): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

As much as the Bears need help along the defensive front still in a transition phase to a 3-4 scheme, the offensive line can return to normalcy. Drafting Conklin hopefully solidifies a future position of need, Pro Bowl offensive guard Kyle Long moves back to right guard, newly signed offensive tackle Bobby Massie to right tackle.

Conklin will slide if Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley is on the board at 11. 

Other candidates:
-Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
-Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
-Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Second Round (41): Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

The time is near to find a replacement for the end of the Jay Cutler. It would be ideal if Connor Cook would be available, but it seems he’ll be off the board if a team trades into the last picks of the first round or early second round.

A lot of pro comparisons have been made between Hackenberg and Cutler, but the situation works because the former Penn State quarterback could need a year off to recover two long years behind the Nittany Lion offensive line.

Another round goes by without adding more talent and depth to the defensive front, but it’s too much to resist if Hackenberg or Cook is on the board.

Other candidates:

-Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
-Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

Third Round (72): Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State

The one-year wonder at Penn State arrives to the Bears to provide depth for Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton at the defensive ends. At 6’6” and over 270 pounds, Nassib led the nation in sacks in 2015, but the sudden surge of stats will be a serious question mark as draft day moves forward. 

Other candidates:

-Yannick Ngakoue, DE/OLB, Maryland
-Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
-Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

Fourth Round (106): Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU

Alexander’s strength comes in run-blocking and at 6’5” and over 320 pounds, he is able to plug a lot of gaps for a young running back core. Manny Ramirez is coming for help in free agency, but Matt Slauson and Ramirez are getting up in age as well.

Other candidates:

-Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
-Tyvis Powell, S, Ohio State

Fourth Round (127): Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State

Martellus Bennett is in New England and Zach Miller has a new deal. A second tight end is needed and Vannett is a guy that wasn’t targeted as much in the passing game because of so many weapons in Columbus last season.

He’s shown enough flashes with his hands to be a serviceable second tight end option as a rookie.

Other candidates:

-Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota

Fifth Round (150): John Theus, OT, Georgia

Theus is a guy that serves as a more than reliable option as another project for an offensive tackle. Adding Theus would serve as a viable backup because he started for three years at Georgia. One scout said Theus, “Isn’t weak. He’s just not strong,” so there is definitely work to be done.

Sixth Round (185): Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Northern Iowa

The league is going in two directions in terms of secondary players: short and quick or big and physical. Hall fits the bill as big and physical standing at 6’2” and weighing in at just under 200 pounds at the combine.

Chicago got lucky with the sudden emergence of Adrian Amos last year to play right away. Hall has played numerous positions as Amos did during his college tenure. There isn’t any doubt Hall can serve on special teams and work his way up through the depth. 

Sixth Round (206): Jack Allen, OC, Michigan State

Hroniss Grasu seems to be the next in line to take over at center. As it has been repeated about the offensive line age multiple times, Will Montgomery isn’t getting any younger. Allen is another experienced lineman that can serve as a spot-starter at the center position.

Seventh Round (230): Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida

Morrison checks out in terms of on-the-field production, but the off-the-field issues are more than evident. His athleticism and tough attitude heading toward ball carriers make him a steal if he’s still available in the seventh round.

 

Ryan Stevens is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at ryanandrewstevens@gmail.com.

About the Contributors

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Ryan Stevens

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english.  He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.

During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.

Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.

Ryan is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He can be reached via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and following him on twitter @RyanAStevens.