With the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, we now have more information and a better idea of how prospects stack up in April’s NFL Draft. We also have a better understanding of what’s available in free agency this year, which always impacts the draft.
For the Bears, I still feel like they’ll have to address their tight end woes early in the draft and I’m starting to buy into the idea of using an early pick on a quarterback too. More on that in a moment.
As of now, the Bears are expected to have eight picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, although the league has not confirmed the full draft order or compensatory picks yet. For a refresher on why the Bears have the picks they do, check out Bears Mock Draft 1.0.
Now, let’s get to the post-Combine picks:
2nd Round, No. 11 (No. 43 overall via Raiders) — TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (6-6, 262)
This isn’t the most exciting pick, as I’m certainly not the first or last to mock Cole Kmet to the Chicago Bears. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore an obvious fit for both parties. Kmet has the size and catch radius to be a big time weapon in Matt Nagy’s offense, and while he’s not necessarily a sudden athlete off the line, he is smooth in his route-running and seeks out contact after the catch. Kmet can do a better job of attacking the ball (you could see him drifting away from the ball in his gauntlet drill at the Combine) and his blocking needs work, but the Lake Barrington native’s development is far from over. He has room in his frame to get stronger and he’s just scratching the surface of his potential since leaving his Notre Dame baseball career behind and focusing solely on football.
2nd Round, No. 18 (No. 50 overall) — QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (6-1, 222)
I remain very skeptical that the Bears are going to be able to find a veteran quarterback that is any better than Trubisky. There is a strong argument to be made that the Bears should use that cap space on other areas of the roster, giving Trubisky one more chance with an improved supporting cast, while also taking another swing on a quarterback with one of their two second round picks.
So that brings us to the No. 50 overall pick. This came down to either Hurts or Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Fromm has an impressive ability to patiently process the field and anticipate throws, which, of course, has been the knock on Trubisky. But drafting Fromm might be an overcorrection. He’s a true pocket quarterback that played in a run-heavy offense and his ability to create on off-schedule plays is limited. Fromm’s ceiling is also limited. I like him and think he’s one of the safest quarterbacks in this draft, but he still projects as a slightly better version of Chase Daniel in my mind.
If you want to take a true swing at a potential star quarterback with a second round pick, you have to draft Hurts here. It might be risky, but every time I type out that word “risky” I am reminded that we’re talking about one of the most decorated college quarterbacks in this century. Hurts lifted up two blue-blood programs — Alabama AND Oklahoma. He’s nothing but a winner with a high-character background, competitive work ethic and outstanding football IQ. In some ways, this feels like a do-over on passing on Deshaun Watson.
Student of the game. 📚
— NFL (@NFL) February 27, 2020
The knock on Hurts is his ability to anticipate throws and there’s no question that his pocket awareness can improve. But he also has an innate ability to turn off-schedule plays into positive yards and despite his weaknesses, Hurts makes the players around him better.
If you watch Hurts’ tape from 2019, you see a guy that improved despite going to a Lincoln Riley offense that has a higher passing volume in its playbook than Alabama. There was a ton on his plate as a transfer and Hurts aced it. You know who has a high volume of plays that puts a lot on the quarterback? Matt Nagy. The more and more I look at it, the more I like the Jalen Hurts fit in Chicago.
4th Round, No. 41 (projected comp pick) — WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin (6-1, 202)
Watching the wide receivers portion of the NFL Combine was an incredible experience. It seemed like every receiver earned some type of positive note from me. This truly is a deep receiver class and that means the Bears can still find a very talented player late in the fourth round. Someone is going to fall.
Cephus could be that player, both because of off-the-field questions and because he ran a surprisingly slow 4.73 40-yard dash at the Combine. There’s no question Cephus plays faster than that in games, possessing the long speed to get open downfield. He might not be the twitchiest receiver, but he’s strong vs press coverage, his route running is savvy, and he does a tremendous job of adjusting his body to high-point the football.
Cephus missed the entire 2018 season because of sexual assault charges, but he was ultimately acquitted after a well-publicized trial. This was a rare case in which the school actually reinstated Cephus and he re-joined the Badgers just a couple of weeks before the 2019 season started. Amazingly, he didn’t skip a beat, catching 59 passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns before declaring for the NFL Draft. This pick would require sign-off from ownership, but there’s no doubt Cephus is an NFL talent.
5th Round, No. 17 — CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (6-2, 208)
Now into the fifth round, I’m looking for players with traits and upside. Jackson is far from a perfect corner, but with 32 1/4 inch arms, he has the size and length you can’t teach at the cornerback position. That said, he’s never been a shutdown corner and his awareness in deep coverage is lacking. In tight spaces, Jackson is outstanding. Downfield, he can be a liability. The hope here is that with NFL coaching, Jackson can become a more rounded player and become a starter.
6th Round, No. 17 — WR Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island (6-2, 198)
The Bears don’t necessarily need two wide receivers in this draft, but the class is so good that I can’t resist double-dipping. Coulter is one of two Rhode Island wide receivers looking to get drafted this year, joining his cousin, Aaron Parker. Coulter has higher upside in my opinion, with good size and speed to take advantage of this late in the draft. He needs coaching, as he doesn’t yet know how to use his talent to set up defensive backs consistently. Even though he’s coming from the FCS level, Coulter’s outstanding nine-catch, 152-yard game against Virginia Tech proved he can have success against better competition. At the very least, that performance is what got him on my radar.
6th Round, No. 21 (via Eagles) — DT Raequan Williams, Michigan State (6-4, 308)
Williams is a power rusher and has versatility in odd and even fronts, but most seem to think he’ll be limited to backup duty at the NFL level. That may be the case, but I see a guy with good length and hands that can be unlocked if he can learn to lower his pad level and get more leverage. The thought of Williams working with Bears defensive line coach Jay Rodgers (truly one of the best in the business) is exciting. Williams is a DePaul College Prep (formerly Gordon Tech) product with high character. He’s dealt with plenty of adversity in his life, losing both his brother and cousin to gun violence on Chicago’s west side. Both of those tragic incidents happened while he was at Michigan State and evidently only made him stronger, as he eventually became a team captain. The thought of Williams coming back to his hometown and doing great things both on-and-off the field should be enticing to the Bears.
7th Round, No. 12 (via Raiders) — RB Adrian Killins, Central Florida (5-7 3/8, 162)
As one of the fastest players in college football, it was surprising to see Killins as an omission at the NFL Combine. He’s a Tarik Cohen-like gadget player that can be a weapon out of the backfield or split out wide. When he finds the edge, he’s gone. Killins caught seven passes for 92 yards in the East-West Shrine Game and averaged a whopping 7.2 yards/carry last season at UCF. With Cohen entering the final year of his contract, adding Killins late in the draft wouldn’t be a bad idea. He’s the type of player that can have an immediate impact on special teams and Nagy would certainly find a gimmicky role for him on offense.
7th Round, No. 19 — OG Gage Cervenka, Clemson (6-3, 325)
How does a top offensive lineman at Clemson not get invited to the NFL Combine? He must be a maxed out, fifth-year senior, right? Apparently that’s what some see in Gage Cervenka, a team-captain on one of the best college programs going. I see a former defensive tackle still adjusting to the offensive line, with room to grow. On tape, I see a mauling, powerful right guard who reportedly can squat 680 pounds and do 43 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. In high school, Cervenka went 199-1 as a wrestler. And in college, Clemson was simply better when Cervenka was on the field. I wouldn’t wait until college free agency to sign Cervenka. I’d lock him up in the seventh round and hope he can develop into a starter.