Mock 1.0: What will the Bears do at Pick #20?
The Chicago Bears find themselves in quite an interesting predicament heading into the 2020-2021 offseason. The annual end-of-season press conference left Chicago twitter nothing but in ashes, and as many have heard at this point, Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace will be coming back. Whether you like the decision or not, it is smart from a business standpoint of the NFL. Potential head coaches look for job security when deciding if they will take a position or not. It’s one of the reasons the Eagles are going to have a tough time coaxing guys like Lincoln Riley, who they supposedly want, out of college football because they have a track record of firing their head coaches after one bad year. George McCaskey is auditioning for next winter should the Bears move on from Pace/Nagy that he is willing to give his front office and coaches time to fix things before simply replacing them. I’m okay with Nagy and Pace getting ONE more season to get it right.
Now that we have addressed the elephant in the room, let’s finally put the once hopeful turned dumpster fire 2020 season to rest. With that being said, we are officially in NFL Draft mode. When observing this Chicago Bears squad, there are quite a few holes that could be created for this team once the season is finally over. Is Chicago going to franchise tag Pro Bowl receiver, Allen Robinson? Will the Bears address Trubisky’s departure in free agency, the trade market, or the draft? How do we feel about the offensive line moving into the next season? Do you catch my drift here? This draft needs to be focused on fixing the offense. Whether or not Chicago can put points on the board will determine the future of Pace and Nagy, and I believe they are going to be all-in on fixing this issue; mainly because they have to if they want to stay employed.
Prediction: Round 1- Pick #20: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The obvious choice here will be to go QB immediately. Take a step back and think about this though. By the time Chicago selects, the top 3 QB’s in this draft (Lawrence, Fields, Wilson) are all likely to be gone, and it does not seem plausible that Pace will put all his chips on Trey Lance to determine his future with the organization.
I believe that the Bears go offensive tackle here mainly due to how poor the unit has been and Chicago’s inability to have an effective run game as a result. Liam Eichenberg of Notre Dame, will be available at pick #20, and I believe he is the best option for Chicago at this spot. Eichenberg was a finalist for the Outland Trophy this season and of course is coming out of an offensive line factory university in Notre Dame. His natural position is left tackle, which should please many fans who have been extremely disappointed in current blindside tackle, Charles Leno Jr.’s play. Obviously the play of fellow former Notre Dame OT, Ronnie Stanley of the Baltimore Ravens and his immense success in the NFL has to be tempting for Chicago, especially after Eichenberg, who was not spectacular during the Fighting Irish’s blowout loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff, was able to contain a resilient Alabama pass rush and did not allow a single sack. Eichenberg actually has not allowed a sack since September 29, 2018 according to Sports Illustrated, a span of 32 straight games without allowing Notre Dame’s QB to be taken down. The Bears have seen too many drives killed over the past two seasons at crucial moments in the game for sloppy offensive line play to continue. It does not matter who the next quarterback in Chicago is if the Bears cannot provide them with enough time to throw. PFN writes of their own prediction, “Although Eichenberg has played well this season, it feels like his draft stock remains a 2nd round tackle. He could push into the late first-round territory, but an early Day 2 selection feels like a safe bet.” Chicago does not have an early second-round pick, but they do have a late first-rounder. I’m okay with Chicago bringing Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs back on cheap deals to hold down right tackle, and the return of James Daniels from injury should bolster the interior of the offensive line. Leno was called for one too many penalties last season, and his contract no longer appears to warrant the level of play Chicago is getting from him. I expect the Bears to draft his replacement in round one in the hopes of protecting Chicago’s QB1 better and opening the running lanes more for David Montgomery to exploit in the 2021 season.
Prediction: Chicago’s Remaining Picks (With NO Trades)
- Round 2, Pick #52: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- Round 3, Pick #83: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
- Round 5, Pick #148: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
- Round 6, Pick #179: Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon
- Round 7, Pick #195: Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
*Check back for my next mock draft for the Chicago Bears coming February, 2021