INDIANAPOLIS -- The 2017 NFL Draft class is loaded with defensive backs, which certainly is good news for a Bears team needing a boost to its secondary.
What direction the Bears take in the draft will first be determined by free agency, which begins March 9 and features the likes of A.J. Bouye (cornerback from Houston), Stephone Gilmore (cornerback from Buffalo) and Tony Jefferson (safety from Arizona). But whatever direction the Bears do take on the open market to address their secondary, it'll can also be augmented through the draft in April.
The thought here is that a dependable starting cornerback or safety could be found as late as the third or even fourth round. But could the Bears' plan go beyond that depth and include drafting a safety with the team's highest draft pick in over 40 years?
LSU safety Jamal Adams doesn't see why not.
"The game is changing," Adams said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "You need safeties that can do everything in the back end, can cover, can make the calls, can tackle and just doing what the coaches are asking them to do."
Finding a transformational talent is the goal when a team is picking in the top five, but generally speaking, those players usually come from one of three positions: Quarterback, tackle and edge rusher/defensive end. And that makes sense: Teams generally look for a quarterback, someone to protect a quarterback or someone to disrupt an opposing quarterback. Only seventeen of the last 50 top-five picks have come from positions other than QB/T/EDGE/DE (a number which includes menacing defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh, Marcell Dareus and Gerald McCoy).
But one of the things Bears coach John Fox said he wants out of a quarterback (someone who "raises all boats") could apply to a safety, too. If someone with the pure talent and football skill of Adams or Ohio State's Malik Hooker (who isn't participating in on-field drills due to surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a sports hernia) were able to raise the level of play of everyone around him at Halas Hall, that could make them worthy of such a high pick.
So if the Bears leave Indianapolis blown away by Adams or Hooker, and that player is at the top of their big board and available at No. 3, why not go with him?
"I definitely feel like I should be the No. 1 pick," Adams said. "Top five, that's definitely in the range."