The ‘way too early’ mock drafts for the 2021 NFL Draft have already started to pour in, and one that focuses on the Chicago Bears specifically brings a lot of intrigue while addressing many of the team’s current issues.
Senior draft analyst Jordan Reid of The Draft Network put together what is actually one of the best mocks I’ve seen in terms of filling several of the Bears’ most glaring holes. Reid has the Bears addressing the quarterback position in a big way, landing an intriguing Ohio State prospect to finally address the offensive line and finding a late-round replacement for Tarik Cohen. It’s a loaded mock worthy of a breakdown.
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Round 1, Pick 16: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Reid joins a growing number of analysts and draft experts who have linked Lance with the Bears in 2021. Chicago is expected to draft in the middle of the pack in the first round next year, and top quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields should both be gone by then. Lance may still be available, and he would be an excellent pick for this Bears team.
In his first and only year as a starter in 2019, Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, no interceptions — and he had a 66.9 completion percentage. He was also the ultimate dual threat, gaining 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. If Lance has another year similar to the one he had last season, he will surely be a first-round pick, and he could be worth taking a big swing on.
Analysts like Bucky Brooks have speculated that Lance may pull a Joe Burrow and take a huge leap next season, and if that happens, he may be taken even higher than initially projected.
Round 2, Pick 48: Josh Myers, IOL, Ohio State
It’s no question that the Bears need some brutes on their offensive line, especially after the retirement of guard Kyle Long. Reid has the Bears finally addressing their offensive line depth by selecting Myers, the 6-5, 306 pound Ohio State center who also has experience playing guard.
“Myers is impressive on multiple fronts. His mobility to sink in and turn out interior DL on scoop blocks and combination blocks stands out as a huge asset,” Reid said about Myers.
Myers would be an excellent pick for Chicago in 2021 largely because he would bring a tough, physical presence to the line. “He is an aggressive, nasty player, and that’s why I love playing with him,” his teammate, right guard Wyatt Davis said about Myers last year. “Having a guy that’s aggressive and wants to finish people — it changes everything. He really tries to come off and punish people.” And that’s exactly what the Bears need.
Round 3, Pick 80: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
At 6 feet and 185 pounds, Wallace isn’t the biggest receiver out there, but his moves are undeniable, and his flexibility has made Twitter sit up and take notice.
Wallace also does a lot of the little things right: he blocks well, he works hard and he’s a great teammate. He’s also extremely difficult to brig down. The Bears would be lucky to snag him in the third round next year.
Round 5, Pick 144: Leon O’Neal Jr., Safety, Texas A&M/Transfer
A 4-star safety, O’Neal has played in 18 games over is two seasons at Texas A&M. He has 55 tackles (five for loss), two interceptions and four pass defenses so far, and he has proven to be durable and reliable.
O’Neal announced earlier this year that he’s entering the transfer portal, so that makes his outlook a bit more unknown. If he can build off his 2019 season in entirely new program, he would definitely be worth a look for depth at safety.
Round 6, Pick 176: Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville
Reid thinks the skill set of Hawkins is comparable to that of Tarik Cohen, and he’s not wrong. “Hawkins has blazing speed and rare acceleration,” Reid wrote, also noting: “There aren’t many foot races he can’t win. Dynamic in space and found tremendous production working off-tackle. Slippery and quick.”
While there are no guarantees he would be able to replicate what Cohen has done on special teams, Hawkins is bigger than Cohen and would likely bounce off more defenders. He could be a dangerous weapon on offense.