NFL training camps kicked off last week and with them came hope for a successful 2020 season (if there is one). COVID-19 still has American sports on shaky ground, and if there's an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in training camps this summer, we might all be turning our attention to the 2021 NFL draft sooner than we could've imagined.
So why not start now?
The Draft Wire published a new three-round mock draft that has the Bears grabbing their QB-next in Round 1 (at No. 12 overall): North Dakota State's Trey Lance.
Lance is a popular name among draft analysts right now, but if the 2020 college season is halted because of COVID-19, there's a chance (a strong one, too) that Lance won't be in this year's draft class. It's hard imagining a player with just one year of starting experience as a redshirt freshman making the leap to the NFL, and for NFL teams to trust that one season enough to make him a top 15 pick.
Still, Lance's 2019 season was one for the ages. He threw 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions and added 14 more on the ground. Lance totaled 42 touchdowns with zero turnovers. That's insane.
If the Bears don't receive quality play from either Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky in 2020, they'll be one of a handful of teams in the first-round quarterback market next year. There's at least a chance they could be picking in this range, too, if both Foles and Trubisky fail.
Lance is one of three likely first-round quarterbacks. The other two, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields, should both be top-five picks.
In Round 2 of this mock, the Bears go with Notre Dame offensive tackle, Liam Eichenberg.
Eichenberg has started the last 26 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish and certainly looks the part at 6'6, 305 pounds, but he has to get a little stronger to hold up against NFL power. In this mock draft, Eichenberg is the 44th pick. That may be a little rich at this point in the draft process.
As for the final Bears' pick of this mock, Chicago goes with Florida cornerback Marco Wilson at No. 76 overall.
Cornerback is like pass rushers when it comes to the NFL Draft: you can never have enough. Even though the Bears spent a top-50 pick on a corner in the 2020 draft (Jaylon Johnson), dipping into the position's prospect pool next April makes sense.
A lot will depend not only on how Johnson performs as a rookie but also on the development of last year's undrafted surprise, Kevin Toliver. If both young cornerbacks prove their worth this season, the Bears could opt to look elsewhere with one of their first three picks.