“Best-available” will be the order of battle for the Bears in the draft. But the Bears are about the business of expanding the realm of the possible for that descriptor, not only for No. 11 in Round one but also in the ensuing rounds.
Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson has been quiet on the visit tour, but was on the Pittsburgh and Dallas guest lists this week. Robinson may be a case of teams not wishing to tip their hands as far as interest but that’s endemic to the pre-draft run-up, where deception and misdirection are art forms.
CSNChicago.com’s “Mini-mock” is staying the course on Robinson to the Bears – for now. Because they are canvassing the front-seven neighborhood looking at options.
The Bears' pace of private meetings and workouts with some of the top defensive players – defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jarran Reed and Roy Robertson-Harris, linebackers Myles Jack and Reggie Ragland – suggests a continued emphasis on defense, particularly front seven.
Ogbah and Robertson-Harris are late rise’ers among pass rushers. Ogbah, out of Oklahoma State, is a likely first-rounder but at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, his fit as an every down edge guy in the Bears’ 3-4 isn’t clear. But he has worked in two-point stances and this is a highly productive (24 sacks, 34 TFL’s last two seasons) player from a strong program and worth watching.
Robertson-Harris measured 6-foot-5, 256 pounds at the UTEP pro day and reportedly did both linebacker and defensive-end drills, indicating that teams operating 3-4 schemes are taking looks.
One position in particular, because of its value and short supply, always looms large. ESPN’s Mel Kiper in his latest mock draft posited three quarterbacks going in the first 15 picks. CSNChicago.com’s “Mini-Mock” has projected three in the Top 10, based on need and the common “run” scenario: Once a position is picked, teams hard after that position see a shrinking pool of options and can reach just to ensure they get one of the players.
Every NFL team has its draft board, ranking the upcoming candidates for the year’s selection process that begins Thursday, Apr. 28. Those grades can fluctuate based on private workouts, pro days, uncovered information and any number of factors that emerge on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.
Accordingly, CSNChicago.com publishes its timely, up-do-the-latest “Mini-Mock” draft every Thursday, culminating in Day 1 of the 2016 first round. “Mini-Mock” will target the Top 15 picks of the draft, the range in which the Bears reside (No. 11). “Mini-Mock” also will incorporate all the latest mock-draft predictions for the Bears’ pick, news, reports, information from pro days and workouts and relevant available data, as well as specific updates on selected other significant draft prospects.
Moon's Mini-Mock NFL Draft
1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, T, Mississippi
Comment: Titans put pick in trade play and Tunsil not legend-grade talent, so somebody likely deals up for QB or position player all covet.
2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Comment: Browns QB woes approaching historic levels but which one, between Wentz and Jared Goff? And Browns could net multiple picks dealing out of this spot.
3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Comment: CB Jalen Ramsey rising, could go here, but elite DL talent is more prized, and Buckner considered elite. Team wanting QB could trade up to here for Goff or Wentz.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Comment: Interest in Matt Forte says RB a priority but issues with Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory could push ‘Boys toward pass rusher. Be wary of Elliott fall. Shaq Lawson in for visit.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Comment: Jags had Bosa in for visit and edge rusher complements Malik Jackson signing for interior. Bosa also did LB drills at OSU Pro Day.
6. Baltimore Ravens: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Comment: April 1 Pro day performance dispelled knee concerns and could move Jack Top 5. Every team covets his skill set on top of good football character.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California
Comment: Anybody else getting sick of reading Colin Kaepernick non-stories? Regardless of outcome, 49ers and Chip Kelly looking to new future.
8. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Comment: New coach Doug Pederson put Goff and Wentz through private workouts. But Ramsey is self-proclaimed “best player in this year’s draft” and somebody’ll agree.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Comment: Mini-run on DB’s? Brent Grimes settles one CB spot but Hargreaves best-available if Bucs don’t grab ‘Bama’s DT Robinson.
10. New York Giants: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Comment: First 5 FA signings were on defense. G’ints shopped for FA OT’s but get Eli heir-apparent here.
11. BEARS: A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
Comment: Still a DE spot open and Bears like the talent pool. Robinson not generating huge buzz yet but beware of misdirection.
12. New Orleans Saints: Shaq Lawson, DE/LB, Clemson
Comment: Lawson or Georgia’s Leonard Floyd fill need for edge pressure. Lawson a fluid option, with Dallas and Detroit visits.
13. Miami Dolphins: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Comment: Buzz building that Spence, who did only DL drills at pro day, has quieted some character concerns, which could bump him higher.
14. Oakland Raiders: Darron Lee, LB, Alabama
Comment: Reggie Ragland brings more size, power, but search is on for LB’s who can cover.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Leonard Floyd, DE, Georgia
Comment: Floyd a bit of a wild card, could go anywhere from 8-15.
How others see the Bears' pick:
Leonard Floyd (Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com, Mel Kiper, ESPN, and Lance Zierlein, NFL.com)
William Jackson III, CB, Houston (Aaron Leming, Bear Report/Scout.com)
Joey Bosa (Pat Kirwin, SiriusXM and Ike Taylor, NFL Media analyst)
A'Shawn Robinson (Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune and Jim Miller, ComcastSports Net/Sirius Radio)
Jarran Reed, DL Alabama (Rob Rang, CBS Sports)
Leonard Rankings, DT, Louisville (Dane Brugler, CBS Sports)
Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame (Pete Prisco, CBS Sports)
Vernon Hargreaves III (Will Brinson, CBS Sports and Charles Davis, NFL Network)
DeForest Buckner (Lester Wiltfong Jr., Windy City Gridiron/SB Nation)
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Cris Collinsworth, NBC)
Noah Spence (Michelle Bruton, Bleacher Report)
Darron Lee (Matt Miller, Bleacher Report)
Shaq Lawson (Todd McShay, ESPN)
Remaining first round order:
16. Detroit Lions
17. Atlanta Falcons
20. N.Y. Jets
27. Green Bay
28. Kansas City
(Note: New England forfeited 1st round pick)