G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

This year the Bears find themselves in an awkward yet envious position for the 2019 draft. For the most part, this is a team that has depth and talent throughout their roster. That’s a good thing considering the Bears’ first pick isn’t until the third round with the 87th overall selection. The positions the Bears will most likely be looking at will be running back, edge rusher and secondary talent.

After going over where players are projected to be drafted, I’ve compiled a list of players that could and/or should be available for the Bears when they are on the clock.

Third Round, Pick 87:

Running Back:
This is a position that is difficult to gauge because in some years, running backs are getting selected in the first two rounds, but in others, running backs don’t start coming off of draft boards until the third.

For all things considered I’m hoping David Montgomery out of Iowa State is still available. Has the size, and skill set that would make him a perfect fit for Nagy’s offense.

Miles Sanders out of Penn State might be the running back who is a bit of a stretch to expect him to be around in the third round, mostly because he stood out at the combine. At Penn State, he tended to try to “do to much” at times, but he has explosiveness and can stop on a dime.

Source: Getty Images North America

Pass Rusher:
A lot of the studs at this position will be taken in the first round. And there are quite a bit of them to go around. There’s a good chance that the best six will be gone in the first twenty picks.

If Chicago decides to keep adding onto the defense with their first pick, a player like TCU’s Ben Banogu might be a steal in the third round. A good combine performance is the only thing that would lead me to believe he gets taken before the Bears have a chance to make a decision on him.

Jalen Jelks out of Oregon will definitely be available, but that’s because he isn’t that good. Relies strictly on athleticism and will get man-handled by tackles in the NFL. He’s looked at as a “sleeper” but don’t believe that hype. . .

Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion kind of fits the Ryan Pace mold of going with a kid with a talented skill set, who plays for a college most would look over. Ximines is the type of player who would need some time to develop into a system and with this pick the Bears need a guy who out-of-the-gate looks like a potential starter.

Secondary:

The Bears are set at the safety position, for this season. But with Ha-Ha Clinton Dix on a one-year deal – who knows if the Bears are willing to spend money to keep him around with a long term deal. The loss of Bryce Callahan at the nickel spot hurt a lot of Bears fans, and signing Buster Skrine as Callahan’s replacement scared a lot of Bears fans. So secondary is a spot the Bears should definitely be looking at – although it would make more sense to look at this position in the later rounds.

JoeJuan Johnson out of Vanderbilt is by far my favorite corner back in the draft and someone who might end up being a late second or third round pick. Although edge rusher and running back are the positions that should be taken with this pick, it would be hard to pass up a corner like Johnson at this spot. Great reaction to the ball, and stays in the back pocket of his assignment.

Isiah Johnson, is a corner out of Houston with great speed and a knack for swatting passes. Could flex a lot into safety because of his size (6’2” 208lbs).

Safety Juan Thornhill out of Virginia probably should’ve played somewhere else but was a leader in the Cavaliers defense none-the-less. If NFL scouts have done their jobs correctly, he’ll be gone in the second round, but not too many people have been mentioning Thornhill’s name.

 

Fourth Round, Pick 126

Running Back:

There are three possibilities in the fourth and depending who you talk to, each one is a sleeper pick.

Justice Hill out of Oklahoma State. Raul Bennington of TheBearsBrawl.Com says of Hill: “His change of direction, speed, and balance would have him in the winning corner of this match up every time. Hill fits Ryan Pace’s early round draft profile to a “T”. He has the insane athletic ability that Ryan pace covets.”

Devin Singletary was the reason why someone would watch or bet on Florida Atlantic football for the last two seasons. His combine speed will be his knock, but the tape shows a quick footed back with great vision.

Source: Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America

Darrell Henderson of Memphis is one of the more interesting players in the draft. He has speed and a versatile skill set and would’ve ran for 2000 yards if he didn’t sit out the final game of the year. He most definitely has the most gaudy stats out of any back in this year’s draft. The question here is, just how good is he coming out of the UFC offensive juggernaut and playing against American Athletic Conference defensive talent?

Pass Rusher:

Charles Omenihu was a leader in the Texas defense this year and was a big reason for the Longhorns’ “resurgence” of sorts last season. He gets separation off the blockers and uses his 6’5” 280 lb, coupled by a seven foot wing span to his advantage.

When it comes to “sleeper picks,” Maxx Crosby out of Eastern Michigan fits that mold. He was solid for Eastern Michigan and not only in MAC Conference games, as he showed up during tougher competition as well. If he stayed for his senior year, he would’ve been a second round pick and quite possibly a late first rounder.

Secondary:

David Long out of Michigan is another player who couldn’t wait to get out of school. If he played another year at corner back, it might have worked out better for him financially, but he’s here now and could be a great get in the fourth round. He is one of the better pass-breaker-uppers in the draft and I can see someone taking a gamble on him earlier than the fourth. . .

Amani Hooker has been a guy many have locked in as a strong possibility for the Chicago Bears and it makes sense. . .on paper. When you think of Iowa, you think of defense and Hooker stood out as one of the better safeties in the Big Ten Conference. He’s a little too stiff for my liking and appears to be more of a “hitter” than a “tackler.” Tough as all hell though.

Sheldrick Redwine from “The U” has the makings of being a quality number two corner or safety in the NFL. His draft grades have him anywhere between the third and fifth rounds so being at four isn’t too much of a stretch. Good ball skills and probably one of the better tackling-corners in the draft.

 

Fifth Round, 162nd Overall

Running Back:

The running back position gets really weird from this point on, as it’s mostly guys who didn’t live up to potential in college and guys who come in with injury concerns. The first to mention here Stanford’s Bryce Love. Two years ago, Love was the best running back in college, and probably one of the more exciting players to watch. Then last year happened, defenses went out of their way to cut his yards per carry from 8.1 in 2017 to 4.6 in 2018. Having ACL surgery doesn’t sit well with a lot of general managers either. Boom or Bust with a guy like Love.

Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America

Dexter Williams of Notre Dame is a guy who’s yards per carry (6.3 in 2018 and 9.2 in 2017) are amazing yet nobody talks about him. Even Notre Dame fans just kind of shrug and say “he’s okay.” I don’t get it. He’s a patient runner with power.

Pass Rusher:

Byron Cowart is a guy who Auburn football thought would be a devastating force on their defensive line. That didn’t work out, so they moved him to inside linebacker. That didn’t work out either, so Cowart transferred to Maryland where just by “showing up” he’d be a top three player on that defense. Needs to be somewhere where the coaches stay on top of him.

Injuries have been USC’s Porter Gustin’s biggest challenge. Before fracturing his ankle he was one of the better pass rushers in the Pac-12. Before that he had an arm and another foot related injury. He is an athletic freak and has been training like a beast for the draft, but some guys are just injury prone.

Secondary:

Two of my favorite guys in the draft should be here in the fifth round. Both are versatile safeties who can tackle, play the nickel, and have good ball skills: Mike Edwards out of Kentucky and Saquan Hampton out of Rutgers. The one knock on Edwards is that he’s “small” at 5’10” 205 lbs, but that didn’t seem to bother him while playing in the black and blue SEC. The one knock on Hampton is that he played at lowly Rutgers. If either of these guys are there in the fifth, they are a STEAL for the teams that get them.

Seventh Round, 222 and 238 Overall

Running Back:

Rodney Harrison, the back out of Oklahoma is someone who I would’ve loved to see play a full season – or even return to Oklahoma to attempt to play a full season, but you can’t blame a kid for wanting to get paid. Harrison has a lot to like and really could be a good back in the NFL but knee injuries for a big back are a scary thing for scouts to like. Might be worth a shot in the seventh round though.

Texas A&M back, Trayveon Williams has been a back linked to the Bears but he is also someone that I can see being taken way before he should be. His receiving skills are “bleh” and probably will never be a starter in the league.

 

Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

The Draft Wire declared Utah State’s Darwin Thompson was the “gem” of this year’s draft class. He ran a 4.5 at his Pro Day and is one of those guys who will work harder than the next because he feels he has something to prove. He can definitely find himself some work in the NFL.

Pass Rusher:

Jonathan Ledbetter out of Georgia is more of a “contain the edge” more than “rush the edge” type. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again though: “Pace seems to like Georgia defensive guys so why not keep that going and take Ledbetter?”

Secondary:

Mook Reynolds was arrested for felony marijuana possession and had issues within Virgina Tech before that. Depending on how much you’d trust a guy who will tell you “I’m different now,” he’d be a fit for a team that needs a tough nickel corner. A guy not afraid to mix it up and can be a sure tackler.