Believe it or not, the Bears are in good shape for the 2020 NFL Draft, even without a first-round pick.
This year’s class of prospects runs deep with talent and several players chosen between picks 33-50 will have upside similar to first-rounders from years past.
The Bears have two picks in that range — Nos. 43 and 50 — and have a great opportunity to add two starting-quality players by the end of Day 2.
But which players are likely to be available when they’re on the clock?
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. published his new mock draft Friday and it offers a good look not only at who the potential first-round picks will be but also the cluster of highly-ranked prospects who will fall into Round 2.
Here are five players who didn’t make Kiper’s first-round cut that the Bears will give strong consideration to.
Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Fromm is likely to be the highest-rated passer still on the board when the Bears are on the clock in the second round. And while he doesn’t have elite traits, his experience as a starter in the SEC adds an element to the Bears' quarterback room that’s currently missing. Plus, his accuracy on short and intermediate routes is a good fit for Matt Nagy’s offense.
Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
The best tight end at the 2020 Senior Bowl and arguably the top tight end in the draft class slips out of Kiper’s first round and potentially into the Bears’ lap at No. 43 overall. Hopkins is an athletic yet undersized pass-catcher at the position who would immediately challenge for the starting job in Chicago.
Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
Lewis looks the part of an NFL edge rusher. and with questions surrounding the future of former first-round pick Leonard Floyd, the Bears are likely to target a player who can help add some juice on the outside rush track. Lewis’ production (only seven sacks the last two seasons) will likely create enough questions about his upside to push him into the second round.
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Bears offensive line was a big weakness in 2019 and there’s no doubt it will be a high priority in the 2020 NFL Draft. The pressing question is whether the Bears will attack offensive tackle or guard first, but with a player like Jackson making it to the second round in Kiper’s mock draft, they'd be hard-pressed to pass him up.
Lloyd Cushenberry, iOL, LSU
Cushenberry was one of the top offensive linemen at the 2020 Senior Bowl and will be a riser throughout the draft process. He may end up being the best interior lineman to slip to the second round, and like Hopkins, would be an immediate upgrade and potential starter on Day 1 of his rookie season.