Of course, it was not all doom and gloom for the Bears heading into the NFL Draft. They got their franchise quarterback, as well as the best player in the draft in Jachai Polite, who will be an absolute animal paired with Brian Burns on the defensive line. However, with many mock drafts suggesting that top prospect Justin Fields would have been the Bears’ pick at #3, Chicago fans are now left wondering how the team will address the most pressing need on their roster.
It’s been an interesting few days for quarterback prospect Justin Fields. First, he announced that he was leaving his position as starting quarterback at Georgia. Then, he transferred to Ohio State, which allowed him to play immediately and compete for the starting role. In the end, he decided to return to Georgia, where he’ll have to compete with Jake Fromm and Dwan Mathis for the starting quarterback job. A lot has changed since we last updated the Bears’ 2018 NFL Draft Prospects, so we’ve decided to put together a new ranking.
That all changed last night when the Chicago Bears made a promotional trade and called up Justin Fields. We now know that the team will target candidates for the offensive line, wide receiver and fullback positions on the second and third days of the 2021 NFL Draft. After reviewing the list of prospects the Bears had visited and met, I developed criteria to rank the Bears’ interest in each.
Each of the criteria listed below constitutes a threshold. The perspective that corresponds to the three thresholds is the goal perspective. Anyone who meets one of these thresholds is a potential target. If you pass a threshold, you’re a wild card. Bears are either in every threshold:
- Participation in a symposium
- Hold a virtual meeting with a potential client
- A personal meeting with a potential candidate during their professional day, the Senior Cup or the Hula Cup.
- Refer the instructor to the appropriate position on the candidate’s career day.
I would also like to point out that the Bears value players who have been team captains, who have been successful in their studies and who have graduated. I think they also like players with athletic pedigrees, but the support isn’t as strong. Designs that meet these criteria are printed in bold and italics.
Information about each perspective is first summarized from various sources:
Below are the players the Bears have had the most contact with (who meet at least three of the four criteria) and are still available in the 2021 NFL Draft:
The prospects above are players I consider primary targets for the Bears. Each of them fits the needs of the team and should be available in the upcoming Bears draft.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The Bears had a virtual meeting with Eskridge, attended his pro day (receivers coach Mike Furrie was there) and had a face-to-face meeting with him on his pro day. It meets four of the four criteria.
Eskridge is originally from Bluffton, Indiana. In high school he played football and also participated in athletics. In high school, Eskridge won the state football championship. In his senior year, he also won the title of Mr. Indiana. Tack & Field and won the state title in the 200-meter dash as a junior and in the 100- and 200-meter dash as a senior. He also placed second in the long jump his senior year. Eskridge earned three stars for his school and was named the #30 running back in his class.
Eskridge could not participate in athletics because Western Michigan does not have an athletics team. Eskridge played both sides of the football during the 2019 season, starting at cornerback and wide receiver. Due to a collarbone injury (probably related to a tackle), he only played in four games that season. In 2020, he was named to the All-MAC League first team as a kick returner and wide receiver, was named MAC Special Teams Player of the Year and was named a second team All-American as he became the MAC leader in receptions and touchdowns. In 2020, he averaged over 200 yards per game. Eskridge graduated in 2020.
- Physically developed with a defensive player mentality.
- Runner’s speed to threaten the backfield, often subject to penalties
- Ability to catch the ball away from the body, to coordinate the body at the point of the catch.
- He runs all the routes, can play inside and outside.
- Participate on special teams as a returner and in kick and punt coverage teams.
- High intensity blocker who can punish defenders.
- Do not pull the parts
- Stunted growth, lack of ideal size, length and growth potential.
- Although it uses a full route tree, route details are still under development.
- Takes too many steps to get going, can get caught up in the dance and off balance.
- Small gripping radius
- Not big enough to get 50/50 balls, he has to operate in space.
- Power issues coupled with an aggressive mentality and a high motor.
Photo: David Bernal/isiphotos.com
The Bears had a virtual meeting with Little, attended his pro day (not sure who was there except the quarterbacks coach) and had a face to face meeting with him on his pro day. It meets three of the four criteria.
Little was born in Houston, Texas. Before high school, he played several sports, including football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse. He played running back and center until he was eight years old, then moved to offensive guard. Just one year after switching positions, Little began playing for his high school team as a freshman. In his second year, he helped lead the program to a state title. Little played all four years of high school as a left guard and earned all-conference honors in each of his final three years.
In his senior year, he became the team captain and became team MVP. That’s even more impressive when you consider that his high school’s 2021 team included drafts like DT Marvin Wilson, WR Jaylen Waddle and WR Jaymon Ausbon. After high school, Little was recognized as a five-star recruit and was considered the No. 3 offensive guard in the country.
Little is the first freshman to start at the offensive guard position at Stanford since 2000. As a freshman, he was named PAC-12 offensive player of the year and he also became PAC-12 player of the year. He started every game in 2018 at left back and was named to the PAC-12 All-Conference first team. He was also an honorable mention on the PAC-12 All-Academic team. He was named to the 2019 PAC-12 fall academic honor roll. He suffered a knee injury, a torn ACL, in the first game of the season. Little has decided not to participate in the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Little graduated in 2020. His father played baseball in the NCAA (Texas Tech), his grandfather played in the NFL (offensive line; New York Giants), and his great uncle played in the NFL (offensive line; Baltimore Ravens).
- A great figure of movement with a high football IQ
- good frame with a body proportion for body and length
- Game with great balance and agility
- Shows vision and quick recovery against turning and swinging, with the ability to turn inward.
- The techniques are improved every year
- Beware of lightning and revolutions
- Robustness and competitiveness
- Mature and promising professional with strong leadership qualities
- Hot and cold with perforation
- Problems with the main power
- Competent as a run blocker, but he’s pushing more than he’s worth.
- Supports the outside of the foot and leaves the inside open.
- The tendency to go beyond your skis
- Injury history (shoulder 2018, ACL 2019).
Photo: Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports
The Bears attended Browns pro day (offensive line coach Juan Castillo was present) and had a one-on-one interview with him on the day. It meets three of the four criteria.
Brown grew up on his family’s 100-acre ranch in Lenox, Iowa. He played five sports in high school: Baseball, basketball, soccer, golf and athletics. In football, his high school competed in an eight-team league. He played tight end and fullback and missed part of his junior year with a broken hip. Brown was named the state’s best defender as a senior, was also named the state’s best basketball player (20 PPG, 18 RPG) and was a star pitcher on the baseball team (2.48 ERA as a sophomore). Brown wasn’t heavily recruited when he got out of high school because he didn’t have a star. Part of the reason is that he missed recruiting camps during his junior year because he was recovering from a broken hip, and also the fact that his school is in a difficult recruiting area.
Brown signed with Northern Iowa as a 225-pound tight end. Iowa State offered him a spot on the team, but he decided to stay at Northern Iowa. After gaining weight during the season, he moved to the offensive guard position and became a three-year starter. Brown decided not to transfer for the 2020 season after the season was cancelled. He said: I will not let anyone else reap the benefits of what UNI has done for me.
- Arched frame
- Moves with strong, quick feet and bends to fend off attackers.
- Has the ability to recover after a misstep.
- Plays rough and strong and takes full ownership of the physical component of the position.
- Hit with the lower body in the running game
- Ensures the completion of the work
- Maintain a disciplined work ethic
- Still growing within its framework
- Increasing the stuffing should be the goal of every run.
- The technique is twofold: it makes a turn and breaks against the speed.
- Reactive in the passing game, does not anticipate and sets up easily.
- The timing of the shots and the range of the action need to be refined.
- His aggressive nature combined with his size means he doesn’t always have time to get on his skis.
- Strength; right knee (LMC; 2017), left knee surgery in GS (2015) to repair a defect below the patella.
- Inexperience, only three years experience as an operations manager.
Photo: Ivan Morozov/Tech Sideline
The Bears attended Deablo’s pro day (assistant linebackers coach Mike Adams was present) and had a private meeting with him during his pro day.
Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Deablo primarily played quarterback in junior football during high school. In high school he moved to the position of wide receiver and sometimes played quarterback. He also participated in athletic competitions. Deablo was a three-star recruit and the 70th player in his class. He had 17 offers, including Clemson, NC State and North Carolina.
Deablo eventually chose Virginia Tech, where he played receiver and special teams as a freshman. He switched to defense as a sophomore and was suspended for medical reasons due to injury. He played in every game in his junior and senior seasons and was named team captain in his senior year. Deablo will be graduating in 2019. His last name is of Amerindian origin and means devil in Spanish.
- Filled oblong frame; folded as LB
- Immediate reaction and speed of execution when reading the route and contesting the catch point
- Demonstrates an understanding of baitcasting
- Has good ball control as a former midfielder.
- Plays with his physicality and is described as a combative and humble competitor.
- We’re a guy. He changes his point of view and doesn’t show it.
- experience of working in an ad hoc team
- Flatfoot as he approaches a rider to give him a chance to escape.
- Can improve his running angles and anticipation to stay ahead of the ball carrier.
- Tends to be lower in route development
- Not enough speed to play with slot WRs and run.
- Only at medium range, which limits deep responsibility
- Easily adjustable between LB and S
Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Below are the players the Bears have had moderate contact with (who meet at least two of the four criteria) and are still available in the 2021 NFL Draft:
In the following overview of draft prospects, I won’t address running backs and tight ends because they are not of the same level as wide receivers, offensive linemen, linebackers and interior defensive linemen. I would rank this group as a prospect that the Bears will consider and select if the four targeted prospects are not already selected.
- Rondale Moore (WR): An explosive playmaker who lacks skills and has longevity issues. He plays with a serious chip on his shoulder. He does not have ideal length, but he makes up for that with his power and athletic ability. Powerful play and competitive nature characterize his game. Works like a pro. Destined to be a starting catcher.
- Liam Eichenberg (OT): Boring, in a good way. Although he lacks athletic ability or length, he is strong and calculating at the point of attack with excellent use of hands, technique and intelligence. Can be too aggressive at times and lacks pace, has trouble recovering from throwing mistakes. At school he only played left back. Projects as a reliable starting defender or a good starting player in the middle of the offense.
- Dillon Radunz (OT): Has the skill and athletic ability to push off attackers, while remaining light on his feet to block speed on the perimeter. Moves supple and shows ability to recover. Good field intelligence, as he rarely gets fooled by tricks and shows an ability to rebuild in the blink of an eye. Play with a mischievous mind and make it work. Can be too aggressive at times, causing balance issues and allowing pushers to make shots. Has a slim figure and needs to gain weight. The length is shorter than desired. The use of the hands and the timing can be improved. He is expected to be a starting offensive linebacker on either side or the inside offensive line.
- Nick Bolton (LB): Plays with speed and agile feet in the midfield. He hits hard and comes with bad intentions. Resolute in his actions, without hesitation. Sustainable, efficient and a team player. Shorter than I’d like, and the frame is stretched to the limit. Length becomes an issue when blockers are taken. There is not enough recovery speed to recover from the handicap. Shows no foresight in pass protection. Has been designated as a three team midfielder if he continues his upward trend.
- Aaron Banks (iOL): A solid frame (6’5, 325 pounds) and the power to match it. He uses the length to get back in place and secure what is in front of him. A strong takedown into side control from his man. He has experience at both guard positions and has worked as a broker. Too vertical in his blocks with variable knee bending. A normal athlete. The use of heavy but slow hands must be corrected. Will be a starting iOL, but needs to improve his hands and attitude to reach his potential.
- Robert Hainsey (OT/OG): Strong and instinctive. Fast enough to repel attackers. Demonstrates the ability to anchor and throw/collect with aggressive hands. He seizes his opportunity to bury his opponents and does well in the job search. It lacks perfect dimensions, especially in the lower half. Has average footwork and knee bend, but his length is below average, which may force him inward. The lower half is not used for efficient driving. He’s a backup offensive lineman who could eventually compete for a starting role inside.
- Brenden Himes (iOL): No flicker on film, but showed quality film as a left guard. Adequate in most areas, but not superior in many others. Blocks with a solid base and good balance. The length is below average. He’s an immediate reinforcement for the offensive line as a reserve, with the potential to earn a starting job if given the chance.
- Ernest Jones (LB): Uses length and tenacity to overcome blockages. A smart player who constantly reads the game plan and reacts to rule violations. One last flash. The footballer. Upright and tightly moving. His lack of mobility prevents him from pursuing his opponent. Can switch itself off when the engine is warm. Coverage limitations can become a real problem at the next level. He is considered a quality depth player with potential for special teams.
- Israel Mukuamu (CB): Incredible length (wingspan of 6 feet 9 inches). Supple movement and sufficiently quick feet. Well able to apply pressure and perform LOS tasks. A long-legged runner capable of gaining ground once he gets moving. He and teammate Jaycee Horn have led a culture change at South Carolina. The long pass hinders the ability to be sudden. Bites too often on feints and then grabs. Doesn’t let himself get tackled too easily and needs to improve his contact strength. Brut with great potential. A promising player with great potential as a pressing CB/defender.
- Dan Moore Jr (OT): Great wingspan and fast stroke if he has the right timing. Smooth movement of the hips. An important development in the past year. Technology is moving in the right direction. Lack of precision in his punches, he needs to have heavier hands. Hits wide and late often and is a pro pass catcher. Tends to put his foot on the ground, causing balance problems. Designed as a reliable backup for indoor or outdoor use.
- K.J. Britt (LB): Has a decent reach as a run defender. A downhill attacker against the run who possesses toughness and pro-level instincts. Athletically limited, especially in pass protection. He is considered a backup middle linebacker with special teams potential.
- Tommy Kramer (iOL): Play with competitive tension. Has upper body strength to win inside, but is too reactive and tends to bend at the waist when outside. There are questions about sustainability. Considered a developing offensive lineman with limited opportunities outside the depth chart.
- Poka Williams (RB): Has exceptional speed and balance, with footwork that lets him glide through contact. A top athlete with experience on special teams, but with major problems off the field. Accused of domestic violence in 2018. If he can overcome his past off the field, he will be considered a backup pusher, receiver and catcher.
- John Rhine (TE/FB): Limited information about scouting. He ran a 40-meter dash of 5.03.
- Jordyn Peters (S): One of the premier special teams players with four blocked penalties in his career. The starter’s potential is not great, but he could be a solid special teams player.
Photo: Ole Miss Athletics
The list below shows the players with whom the Bears have minimal experience (meeting at least one of the four criteria) and who are still available in the 2021 NFL Draft:
Personally, I see the wildcard prospects as a reserve in case all other prospects fail. The Bears have met these players once to get a feel for who they are, but they haven’t been as thorough as they have been with the ones they really have their eye on. Or, given Pace’s history, it could be prospects that the team was quickly convinced of and decided to return.
- Elijah Moore (WR): His athletic ability is evident in his routes, as he controls his movements and has strong hands. Shows strong acceleration at the end of the cut. Quick thinker, adapts to situations. The measurements are not perfect and the vehicle has not been inspected from the outside. Few instances where he won contested balls on the field. Inexperienced in dealing with the press. He is projected as a matchup player who can be very productive at a high volume.
- Asante Samuel Jr. (CB): Loyal, with agile athleticism, but does not have a perfect body. He plays with a lot of confidence. It looks like Jair Alexander is a contender. Will be listed as an NFL starter on the inside or outside. Son of 11-year NFL veteran Asante Samuel Sr.
- Javon Holland (S): A very competitive player. Develops natural ball skills and the versatility to play as a rebounder. Undeterred in defense and running. Traded as a potential starting defender.
- Tylan Wallace (WR): A route runner who plays with power balance, body control and a solid tackling radius. Can play at all three levels of the field, but has average size and is just a guy when it comes to speed. He suffered several injuries. Will be drafted as a starter in the NFL if he can avoid injury.
- Chazz Surratt (LB): The younger brother is Sage. Instinctive athlete who plays with a competitive spirit. Must improve fit and develop overall technique. Plays the role of volume/weak defender.
- David Moore (iOL): Physically gifted, he has many natural traits that draw attention. Low and compact size, with a large wingspan (6 feet long, 6 feet wingspan, 350 pounds). Of course, the low height of the cushion makes it easy to use the lever. Very aggressive finisher. It takes time for the technical and mental aspects of the game to catch up with the physical skills. Considered a developing offensive lineman with the prospect of a quality start.
- Dazz Newsom (WR): A good athlete who shows toughness in the midfield attack. Experience playing the ball backwards. A competitive nature with explosive game potential. Needs to be more disciplined in his technique and craftsmanship. Designed as a wide receiver with additional options as a kick receiver.
- Austin Watkins (WR): Excellent playmaking skills, size and physical presence on the field. A normal athlete. Can play the role of first receiver with limited potential.
- Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR): An exceptional athlete who can make acrobatic moves with the ball. There are a lot of inconsistencies in his game. He needs to develop on all fronts, as he is currently a raw athlete. He could struggle if he doesn’t get the right coach and develop.
- Darren Hall (CB/S): NFL-ready pressure, toughness, athleticism and ball skills that will come in handy at the next level. Posture, footwork and hip discipline must be improved. A strong developmental perspective with an entry level opportunity.
- Jack Anderson (iOL): A strong and light staircase to the inside. Play with an angry moustache. Lacks length, tends to play too straight. He is seen as a potential backup inside linebacker in a zone-based scheme. He could have a chance to be a starter if he improves his hand usage to mitigate his lack of length.
- Ta’Quon Graham (iDL): Has good jumping ability and power to land and cover. Has an NFL frame and can be effective if he uses his length and leverage well. Consistency is a problem, as he can become methodical and predictable in his attacks. Can’t work in the passing game and has limited speed. He is expected to become a central defender in the base.
- Robert Jones (iOL): He competes with violence and hard knocks. Consider it his job to finish each block. Square frame with natural thickness. There is a lack of range in the sliding strikes and a lack of fluidity in the movements. Makes too many cracks and needs to grow. He is seen as a developing offensive lineman with starting potential.
- Brandon Kennedy (iOL): He is not the ideal weight (286 pounds). Reasonable arm length, and generally an average athlete. There is little information available about scouting.
For a more detailed look at some of the other OT, WR and CB prospects, see the links below.
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about nfl draft order and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Justin Fields getting drafted to?
While Justin Fields has been busy dominating high school football in Georgia, the entire NFL has been paying attention and wondering when the next superstar running back will come their way. While Saquon Barkley is the obvious answer, some believe it will be Justin Fields instead, who is considered by most scouts as the most complete running back to enter the league in over a decade. Justin Fields has been on radars since his days as the star quarterback for Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. His decision to leave the University of Georgia after his freshman year has opened up a whole new set of questions. The fanfare surrounding his decision to transfer to Ohio State University was short-lived, as the NCAA denied his eligibility based on his high school playing time. As of now, he is not likely to play for the Buckeyes this fall, but will instead begin training for the NFL draft.
Who did the Bears pick up?
The Chicago Bears came away from the NFL draft with just two new players, although one of them was a blockbuster. The Bears traded up in the first round to grab Clemson QB Justin Fields, who was widely regarded as the best QB prospect in the draft. Some experts believe that Chicago may have given up too much to get him, but the Bears are clearly all in on him. For the Chicago Bears, signing Justin Fields was something of a ‘plan B’ move. As the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the team was hoping to land someone to eventually replace 35-year-old signal-caller Mitch Trubisky (who doesn’t look like he’s going to last until 36). After the Cleveland Browns snagged Dwayne Haskins with the fourth overall pick, however, the Bears were left with few attractive options.
Did Justin Fields get drafted?
Did Justin Fields get drafted? It’s a question that has been plaguing the football community for weeks, but there’s finally an answer: he did. Teams have until May 1st to sign players from the NFL Draft, but a team of sports journalists is reporting that he’s already inked a contract with the Los Angeles Rams. The deal reportedly includes a signing bonus of $50 million and $5 million in guaranteed money, making it the richest contract ever signed by an NFL rookie, and meaning Justin Fields will likely play as a rookie. It’s been a long time since the NFL draft has been more talked about than fans, but the 2019 NFL Draft has given sports fans plenty to talk about. Aside from the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles selected Justin Fields as the #1 overall pick, the draft also featured several trades that switched up the predicted order of the draft. The Giants traded away Eli Manning, with the Chargers picking up the Giants #1 overall pick for the 29th pick and a few other picks. That twist threw the draft for a loop: the Chargers were expected to select Kyler Murray with the #1 overall pick, but instead selected Drew Lock.
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