The Chicago Bears draft was notable for their trades both up and down. Second-year general manager Ryan Pace was far more aggressive in his second draft for the Bears. They traded a fourth round pick to move up from the eleventh pick to the ninth pick in the first round. The Bears later traded down to add picks and get the fourth pick back that they traded in the first round. Clearly, the overall strategy of the Bears was to add young players to mold both their defense and bolster the offensive bench.
Here’s who the Bears selected:
1st Round, 9th Overall: OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)
2nd Round, 56th Overall: OG Cody Whitehair (Kansas State)
3rd Round, 72nd Overall: DE Jonathan Bullard (Florida)
4th Round, 113th Overall: ILB Nick Kwiatkoski (West Virginia)
4th Round, 124th Overall: S Deon Bush (Miami)
4th Round, 127th Overall: CB Deiondre’ Hall (Northern Iowa)
5th Round, 150th Overall: RB Jordan Howard (Indiana)
6th Round, 185th Overall: S DeAndre Houston-Carson (William & Mary)
7th Round, 230th Overall: WR Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan)
Bears 2016 Draft Grade: 8.5/10
Chicago Bears 2016 NFL Draft Review
The Bears chose two players in the second and third rounds that could be day one starters. Cody Whitehair was a top-rated offensive tackle and was expected to be chosen in the first round. Whitehair is versatile and can play several positions on the line. Jonathan Bullard was the nation’s top rated defensive end against the run. Bullard is athletic and could become a solid pass rusher. Like Bullard, Whitehair can play several positions on the defensive line.
The trade up of two picks to take Leonard Floyd was the one possible error made by the Bears. While Floyd has tremendous potential to be a star pass rusher in the NFL, he also has size issues that could place him in the category of other smaller-sized first round pass-rusher busts. Floyd had average production in college and the thought is that the Bears must have seen something that they think they can build on. But for a team with huge needs on offense and defense, it would seem that a more NFL-ready pick would have made more sense at the ninth pick. Tampa Bay Buccaneers were only too happy to pick Vernon Hargreaves with the eleventh pick they received from the Bears. It was likely Tampa was taking Hargreaves with the ninth pick.
The surprise was the trade up to take Floyd who has to be considered a project with potential. The Bears needed a sure-starter at this pick.
Deiondre’ Hall was a great value in the fourth round. Hall was a four-year starter at Northern Iowa and played both cornerback and safety. Hall has the size and strength to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has a nose for the ball and has the physicality to be developed by defensive coach Vic Fangio. If Hall can adjust to the speed and size of receivers in the NFL, he could be a steal in the fourth round.
Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp
Floyd is that player. While a project to be developed by Fangio, Floyd has the speed and natural instincts to justify the Bears moving up to take him.
Nick Kwiatkoski was a three-year starter at West Virginia. He has speed to chase down ball carriers, but may need to get stronger for NFL. Kwiatkoski may be a significant special teams contributor.
Deon Bush was a four-year starter at Miami. He took a step back in 2015 from his 2014 production. His speed was suspect at the NFL combine, but he is a physical run defender.
Jordan Howard is a big running back who does not have great speed. However, he can push the pile and may be a solid goal-line back. Howard is a good complement to Jeremy Langford.
DeAndre Houston-Carson was a four-year starter at William & Mary. He did not test well and may end up a special teams contributor. Houston-Carson may be targeted as depth for the secondary.
Daniel Braverman is an undersized slot receiver who has good speed. Braverman is most often compared to Wes Welker or Danny Amendola. All teams have places for solid slot receivers in the pass-happy NFL. Braverman has a decent chance at making the team.
7. Bottom Line
The Bears added a lot of pieces for Fangio’s defense and should be significantly improved with the free agent additions. The Bears needed to get younger and they have achieved that. The biggest knocks on the Bears’ draft was that they did not take a tight-end or quarterback. Tight-end is a current need. The Bears also need to start thinking of the future without Jay Cutler who is only one-year removed from a terrible season.
Main Photo: ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 21: Leonard Floyd #84 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after making a tackle against the North Texas Mean Green at Sanford Stadium on September 21, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)