The Bears won’t be picking until the 3rd round this year, having forfeited their first-round pick in the trade with Oakland for defensive end Khalil Mack (not that anyone in the Windy City will be complaining!), whilst their second-round pick was used to trade up in last year’s draft for receiver Anthony Miller. In fact, the team has only five selections, having lost their sixth rounder in trading for Mack as well.
It’s just as well then, that the team have few urgent needs across the roster and have addressed many of their depth concerns with a fairly cheap free agency period, in contrast to last year’s spending spree.
The most glaring need for Chicago to my mind, is at running back.
The team traded Jordan Howard to the Eagles, leaving free agent addition Mike Davis and the ‘Human Joystick’ aka Tarik Cohen, as the team’s starters. Cohen will inevitably be a big part of the team’s gameplan as we saw last season, but I would have concerns about him taking on Howard’s role and absorbing big hits on inside runs.
Davis offers that bit more physicality, whilst being able to act as a pass catcher out of the backfield, though he hasn’t played a full regular season slate of games. The running back pool in the draft is likely to offer quality well into the third and fourth round, so there are still options for GM Ryan Pace to work his mid-round magic in adding more diversity into the running back room.
Whilst Chicago lost starters in safety Adrian Amos (Packers) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (Broncos); they replaced them with Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Buster Skrine, from Washington and the Jets, respectively.
Skrine does come with some concerns given the number of penalties he’s given up during his time in the league, and certainly cannot be considered on an upgrade on former undrafted free agent Callahan. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bears add a late round cornerback, particularly with starter Prince Amukamara entering his age 30 season.
Behind starters Leonard Floyd and Mack, the Bears may look to add a rotational piece at outside linebacker.
They brought back Aaron Lynch this offseason but behind the former 49er, the cupboard is pretty bare. Isaiah Irving and Kylie Fitts haven’t really provided much pass rushing relief and given new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s propensity for blitzing, he may be banging the table for additional help for Floyd and Mack.
Cody Parkey’s ‘double doink’ kick against the Eagles in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs, and his subsequent media appearance, saw him released by Chicago after just one season.
Currently the Bears have undrafted rookies Redford Jones and Chris Blewitt on the special team’s roster and the fans at Soldier Field will be keen to see how Pace addresses the position this summer. Having said that, it’s more likely a kicker will be added following the draft, either in the form of a veteran cut from another team’s roster, or as another undrafted rookie.