Now that the top of the draft has settled and we’re inside of a week for the first round of the NFL Draft here again in Chicago, I thought I’d give this a spin.
Regrets will flash instantly once this is posted, but I’ll take another swing next Wednesday or Thursday.
I still believe Cleveland or Tampa Bay could trade down. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see the Bears trade down.
We’ll see if they do by the time we’re mere hours away.
Until then, we’ll take this up to their pick at 11.
1. Los Angeles Rams: QB Jared Goff (California) - The relocated St. Louisans make their attention-getting splash, giving up a ransom to Tennessee last week in order to fill their biggest need. All signs seem to point to the Californian Goff simply moving downstate.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Carson Wentz (N. Dakota St.) - If he wins the job from Sam Bradford by the time the season starts, just think of the new wave of quarterbacks the Bears would face in the first 11 games: Osweiler, Wentz, Luck, Bortles, Bridgewater, Winston, and Mariota.
3. San Diego Chargers CB/S Jalen Ramsey (Florida St.) - They still need an offensive tackle to protect Philip Rivers and spring Melvin Gordon to boost the league’s 31st-ranked running game, but they wait until the second round for that. They get the draft’s best DB, to either replace Eric Weddle at safety, or someone to lock down Demaryius Thomas, Amari Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.
4. Dallas Cowboys: DE Joey Bosa (Ohio St.) - They’re oh-so-tempted to grab Ezekiel Elliott, but they just signed Alfred Morris, who’ll be fine behind that O-line. They’re in desperate need of defensive help, especially after the drug suspensions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, and letting headache Greg Hardy go.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars OLB Myles Jack (UCLA) - Here comes the first medical question mark, and it’s a bit of a dice-roll considering they lost Dante Fowler a year ago after picking him third. Bosa might be the pick if he didn’t go to the Cowboys, but they’ll let Jack take his time before joining free agent defensive additions Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara (not to mention Fowler and DT Sen’Derrick Marks, who was injured in-season).
6. Baltmore Ravens OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss) - Elliott also tempts Team Trestman, but they’ll eye bolstering the backfield later in order to protect Joe Flacco after losing Kelechi Osemele in free agency.
7. San Francisco 49ers CB Vernon Hargreaves (Florida) - They still have Joe Staley at LT, so Ronnie Stanley gets passed over. They just drafted an Ohio St. RB two years ago in Carlos Hyde. They’ve lost tons of DB’s in free agency the last couple of years. It could be rebuilt adding Hargreaves to Eric Reid, Jacquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward, saving D-line needs for later.
8. Cleveland Browns DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon) - The Bears would love to see him drop. He won’t. Hue Jackson’s putting his faith in RGIII and Josh McCown at QB, so the rebuild of the 27th-ranked defense will be a focus on their boatload of picks. Buckner joins Danny Shelton up front.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson) - Like Hargreaves, somewhat of a surprise to some he’s climbed into the Top 10. If the Bucs don’t deal out of this spot, they need an anchor on the edge after investing heavily in the O-line last year and trust the shoulder that bothered the play-maker last year is in the past.
10. New York Giants RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio St.) - It’s between Elliott and Stanley, and there is still a need on that line. But they used a first-rounder on Ereck Flowers a year ago, and opened the bank defensively in free agency. So they give Eli Manning a weapon (even though Rashad Jennings did well last season) to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. New coach Ben McAdoo is an “offensive” guy, after all.
11. Bears OT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame) - If the Bears end up with Stanley despite Ryan Pace’s consistent praise of Charles Leno, Jr., they 1) have some decisions to make on whether they want an extremely deep line and keep everyone, or 2) swing a deal for another pick or two. They go with the highest-graded player on their board, and work on the defense (especially DE) later, trusting their evaluations at a deep position this year. It locks in three positions on that line, long-term (Stanley, Kyle Long and Bobby Massie), four if Hroniss Grasu establishes himself at center after a shaky rookie campaign. But if the Giants pick Stanley, the Bears grab Elliott.
**Tune in Sunday night at 10:30 on Comcast SportsNet for “Sportsnet Central: Draft Central.” Former Bears Alex Brown and Patrick Mannelly and “Pro Football Weekly’s” Hub Arkush join Chris to share their thoughts on the players the Bears should go after, whom they’ll wind up with, and debate other hot NFL Draft topics. CSN will also have draft specials at 10:30 p.m. next Thursday and Sunday nights to recap the first round, and the entire draft, respectively, for the Bears and around the league. **