Bears: WARR Media’s 2021 Draft Guide

By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)

Prelude

Three days after the Chicago Bears’ 21-9 loss to New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card Round:

Welcome to the ultimate 2021 Chicago Bears draft guide, brought to you by WARR Media. In this guide will be a breakdown of the Bears biggest needs heading into the draft as well as a full mock draft of what to potentially expect all draft week and weekend.

As fun as mock drafts are they tend to be pretty wrong all the time, especially in the part of the draft where the Bears are selecting from, therefore this guide will break down what the Bears need to accomplish in this draft to make it a great one.

So let’s get into it, the Bears have themselves eight selections currently in this draft which starts this Thursday at 7 p.m. CT for Round 1 with Rounds 2 and 3 taking place the following day at 6 p.m. CT. The draft then concludes Saturday starting at 11 a.m. CT.

The last bit of time remains for planning and prepping by all 32 NFL teams, that being said let us take a look at the Bears’ biggest needs heading into the draft.

Positions Of Need

1. Quarterback

2. Offensive tackle

3. Wide Receiver

4. Cornerback

A lot of offense is on the board when it comes to the Bears biggest needs on their football team. Cornerback made a close fourth and it came down almost to a coin flip with Wide Receiver. But ultimately it came down to the fact that the Bears don’t really know what they have at the receiver spot besides Allen Robinson. As good of a player as Robinson is, he is not the type of game breaker the Bears are desperately missing on offense.

Corner is a position that can’t be ignored especially losing Pro Bowl corner Kyle Fuller. The Bears are fortunate that this draft is deep at corner and because of the financial investment they have made on defense, Wide Receiver ultimately won out for the Bears top three needs. No doubt the Bears are in big time need for a solution both in the short and long term at quarterback. It’s been a rough off-season resulting as of now with Andy Dalton as the starting QB.

Being 20th in the first round puts the Bears at a huge disadvantage being able to drop one of the top guys. One of those top guys might fall down enough to entertain a possible trade up but at this point that looks very very unlikely. There are some somewhat intriguing options after the first round if all the top guys go and the Bears unable to select one, but those options would be day two of the draft guys. Where the Bears may be a little lucky in this year’s draft is at offensive line specially tackle.

Many options are projected to be available at 20 that could start immediately and may fix the issues at offensive line. No doubt the Bears need to stockpile some offensive players in this draft. A year ago tight end Cole Kmet was selected to fix tight end and he showed some intriguing flashes. Ditto can be said about wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

Adding a cornerstone offensive tackle, a developmental prospect at quarterback, and a dangerous weapon in the slot of outside at wide receiver with the first three picks makes a lot of sense. If this offense, even with Dalton, can score some points consistently then possibly this bleak future for the Bears currently can start to look more bright.

The Draft

Now to the fun part of guessing who the Bears may select Thursday through Saturday in the draft. For this specific mock draft no trades were made. Some of the reasoning as to why is because the Bears tend to be more likely to trade up than trade down. Per usual, it is in this piece’s opinion that the Bears should consider any type of trade down in order to stockpile more picks, especially if it were to result in more picks in the top three rounds of the draft.

Trading up would make a lot of sense if one of the top quarterbacks were to fall out of the top 10. If one were to drop down it would make a lot of sense for the Bears to trade up and select that player when it wouldn’t be as much of a king’s ransom like it would be to get into the top 10 let alone the top five. But in this draft scenario none of the top quarterbacks fall out of the top 10 which forces the Bears to look elsewhere on the football field to improve. Since this draft is strong positional where the Bears biggest areas of need are, it doesn’t make sense for the Bears to trade up and give away assets that could help you now or in the future. 

That being said, the Bears have to be prepared for a couple key scenarios that could potentially happen. If the “quarterback dropping out of the top ten” scenario doesn’t happen then there is a silver lining, it means some really talented players have been pushed down and could fall to the Bears at 20. Perhaps the Bears will get a chance to select a player that did not seem possible before. If said player is a legitimate top five or top 10 player that you can select at 20, selecting said player is the best route to go…unless. Once again in this scenario that means a top five or top 10 player could be available at 20, this may be a position for the Bears to trade down and stockpile some picks.

More than likely teams aren’t going to be interested in trading up to the Bears selection unless a really unexpected player is available at that slot. This is a very unlikely possibility but how the Bears handle themselves if the “quarterback dropping out of the top ten” scenario doesn’t happen. Here are the selections this author would make being in general manager Ryan Pace’s shoes. 

Pick No. 20 – Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech)

Strengths: 

  • Atheletically gifted to play either side 
  • Fantastic lateral quickness off the snap
  • Has potential to be an elite tackle

Weaknesses:

  • Needs to master his craft
  • Can overly rely on his athleticism
  • Has to develop a consistency    

Fit with the Bears:

This one is pretty simple and easy. Darrisaw may not be available at 20 but there is a chance. He is one of the top tackle prospects in the draft and the Bears have a hole at right tackle. Darrisaw comes in solidifies the offensive line and the Bears improve both in run block and pass block. Great first step to rebuilding a bad offense. The transition from Charles Leno Jr. to a new left tackle should be seamless for Darrisaw to slide over to the left side when needed. 

Pick No. 52 – Kyle Trask (QB, Florida)

Strengths: 

  • Talented downfield passer with touch and accuracy
  • Can make all the throws no issue with arm strength
  • Feels pressure and climbs the pocket

Weaknesses:

  • Has to improve his decision making
  • Needs to improve his recognition of blitzes
  • Footwork in the pocket can break down and get sloppy

Fit with the Bears:

Another pretty simple one here. By far the biggest need for the Bears is quarterback. There has to be some kind of plan because right now there is nothing. Draft one every year until you find one and of course it doesn’t have to always be a high round pick.

But given the circumstance, take a talented player like Trask and let him develop this season. So that even if the Bears draft another quarterback even next year then there is a player in Trask that worst case can be a bridge quarterback with upside.

Pick No. 83 – Amari Rodgers (WR, Clemson)

Strengths: 

  • Fast 
  • Competitor that battles
  • Shows an ability to play the 50-50 balls

Weaknesses:

  • May struggle against NFL press
  • Average speed going in and out of breaks
  • Will have to improve route running   

Fit with the Bears:

Having Robinson and Mooney are interesting pieces to starting an explosive offense. Next would be to add an explosive slot receiver that can really press defenses. Mooney can play inside or outside and Rodgers shows the same capabilities. Rodgers has lots of speed and is very strong in the lower body. He looks like the type of playmaker the Bears need to add to go along with the mix of offensive weapons.

Pick No. 164 – Ambry Thomas (CB, Michigan)

Strengths: 

  • Good press man corner 
  • Physical corner in run support
  • Will compete for gunner right away

Weaknesses:

  • Can be muscled on 50-50 balls
  • Shows some tight hipness
  • Doesn’t show playmaking explosion breaking on the ball   

Fit with the Bears:

In the fifth round the Bears do address the defensive side of the ball. In Thomas the Bears get a player very similar to ex Bear Kyle Fuller and current cornerback in his second season Jaylon Johnson. The fit is perfect and if he is available at 164 the Bears may find themselves a player that could develop into a future starter. 

Pick No. 204 – Quinton Bohanna (DT, Kentucky)

Strengths: 

  • Pure nose tackle 
  • Shows good hand fighting and quickness
  • Power to swallow ball carriers while engaged with blockers

Weaknesses:

  • Shows no promise as a pass rusher
  • Not much production
  • Overweight could be a factor   

Fit with the Bears:

For the last couple seasons the Bears haven’t been the same group when it comes to its run defense. Getting a big nose tackle like Bohanna could be apart of the remedy. Assuming defensive tackle Eddie Goldman does come back, combined with a rotational nose tackle like Bohanna might make huge improvements to the run defense.

Pick No. 208 – James Wiggins (S, Cincinnati) 

Strengths: 

  • Very explosive 
  • Physically gifted at the position 
  • Comes to hit and jar the ball loose from receivers

Weaknesses:

  • Didn’t return to form following an ACL injury
  • Not a ballhawk
  • May struggle covering tight ends and big receivers   

Fit with the Bears:

This is a value pick for the Bears and an example of taking best player available. Wiggins may not be a future answer to play next to safety Eddie Jackson but he does show the physical gifts that could make him a starting safety in the NFL. Will have to improve and refine his game both on the field and off to be more than a backup. But Wiggins may still be on the way back up from his ACL injury and be much more than a sixth round pick.

Pick No. 221 –  Jack Anderson (G, Texas Tech)

Strengths: 

  • Good foot quickness 
  • Shows a real mean streak
  • Does a good job in the second level

Weaknesses:

  • Oversteps his blocks too consistently
  • Will lunge too much in his punch
  • Tends to rush and play too quick   

Fit with the Bears:

Anderson has the type of brawler mentality that should bring an edge and a toughness to an offensive line room that needs it. Getting Darrisaw earlier helped in that regard and a perfect final touch is adding Anderson here at 221. May be able to develop into a starter but projects as a good backup interior offensive lineman.

Pick No. 228 – Brandon Stephens (CB, Southern Methodist University)

Strengths: 

  • Has all the physical gifts to play the position 
  • Limber in his hips
  • Shows impressive turn to sprint skill

Weaknesses:

  • Raw player former running back
  • Only has a couple season of experience
  • Route recognition is way below average    

Fit with the Bears:

It is never a bad idea to develop as many good corners as possible in the pass happy league that is the NFL. Stephens is a raw player being a former running back but he is show a natural feel at corner and is improving steadily. This is a boom or bust type pick with the Bears trying to hit big on a player with real potential.

Bottom Line

The time to mock draft is over and now its time to look forward to the real thing. These eight picks the Bears have will give themselves a real chance to improve the football team. Ideally one of the top quarterbacks falls to a point that the Bears can select them, but even without that player other quarterbacks will be available that are intriguing during day two of the draft.

This draft’s depth at offensive tackle, wide receiver, and cornerback fit perfectly for the Bears needs. At the conclusion of the draft, the Bears better have found themselves a starting caliber right tackle, an explosive weapon to play outside and/or inside, more quality depth to the defensive backfield, and some kind of prospect for head coach Matt Nagy to develop at quarterback. All of this is available and a realistic draft outcome for the Bears to achieve.

Both Pace and Nagy are in desperate need for a season with serious optimism and positivity, the draft is a great place to generate excitement within your fanbase which will greatly appease Bears ownership. Now it is time for the Bears to execute and have a great three days starting this Thursday night.

Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR

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