Adam Hoge's Bears Mock Drafts are back for the 12th year in a row, but for the third time in four years, the Chicago Bears do not have a first-round draft pick. They do have a new general manager though, and Ryan Poles is going to have his work cut out for him with only five picks in this year's NFL Draft.(*- denotes estimated pick as final order has not been determined by NFL)
With the Bears switching to a 4-3 defense, it is imperative they find another longterm linebacker to run with Roquan Smith. Assuming Smith will be the Will linebacker in Matt Eberflus’ defense, the Bears need a reliable Mike that can hold down the middle for a long time. Wyoming’s Chad Muma fits that bill. A very productive player at Wyoming, Muma is a tackling machine with high instincts that usually take him right to the football. This might seem a little high to draft him, but it’s only mid-February and he is already improving his stock through the pre-draft process after a strong Senior Bowl. Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy tweeted last week that Muma is unlikely to get out of the second round and when the dust settles, I think this is about where he’ll be selected.
David Bell gives me Terry McLaurin vibes — a very productive wide receiver who simply gets open all the time, yet is somehow being overlooked in the draft. It might surprise you to know that Bell outproduced Ohio State’s Chris Olave by 64 receptions and 328 receiving yards in his career, despite only 54 more receiving snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
In 2020, Bell and current Browns cornerback Greg Newsome had an epic battle in West Lafayette that cemented both players as NFL talents in my eyes. Newsome was a first-round pick and Bell still managed nine catches for 78 yards in the game. If he’s still available for the Bears at No. 71, he should be an easy pick.
It will be very interesting to see how the Bears handle the 3-technique position now that they are going back to a 4-3 defense. It is a very important spot in Eberflus’ system. Bilal Nichols is set to be a free agent and it’s impossible to know at this point how Poles and Eberflus view him as a possible 3-technique.
It’s also likely that they’ll want to take a bigger swing at the position than waiting until the fifth round of the draft, but their draft capital is limited. In this scenario, Haskell Garrett would be worth a look. He’s a prototypical gap-shooting three-technique and he’s particularly good with his first step and getting skinny through gaps. But Haskell often gets swallowed by double-teams and will have to get stronger to be a starter at the NFL level. He looks like a rotational rookie who could develop into a starter if he is fully committed to reaching his potential.
An offensive lineman from Boston College? Yeah, you see what I’m doing here. Lindstrom was a three-year starting center in college who brings consistency to the table. He’s physical and always plays to the whistle. He also can pull can get outside in the screen game, which should fit what the Bears want to do with Fields. Lindstrom is a classic overachiever who will certainly be overlooked by many teams, but will have value in the fifth round.
One of the better performers at the East-West Shrine Game, Chase Lucas projects as a slot corner, which is another important position in Eberflus’ defense. He’s a physical tackler and has very good ball skills, both of which are necessary in the slot. He's known as an energetic player and was one of the leaders of the Sun Devils' defense.