As two NFL teams prepare for Super Bowl 50, the rest of the league is already busy with their offseason agendas.
Just this past weekend, the annual Senior Bowl took place in Mobile, Alabama giving NFL scouts a inside look at some of college football’s best seniors that will enter the draft. This is also the perfect time for us to release our first mock draft for the Chicago Bears.
The Bears finished dead last in the NFC North for the second-straight season and at 6-10 they will pick 11th in the upcoming draft. While the free agency period will have a lot to do with what the Bears target in the draft, the early speculation is defense.
With the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select….
Reggie Ragland, LB; Alabama
The Bears are likely going to focus on defense in the first round as there’s a need at sever positions for Vic Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. Ragland fits that pick well.
The 6-foot-2, 258 pound Ragland is an ideal fit at inside linebacker for the Bears and could be a match made in heaven. The pick would hopefully help the Bears fill the void at the inside position, something they’ve struggled with since the departure of Brian Urlacher.
Ragland’s strengths include a good run-stopper as Alabama was one of the best in that category all season long led by Ragland. He can also rush off of the edge on passing downs, which could turn out to be a big plus for the Bears.
Here’s his strengths via NFL.com:
Old-school, take-on middle linebacker who plays the game the way Nick Saban likes. Steps into hole and will swap paint with lead blockers in order to constrict his gap. Instinctive linebacker who trusts his eyes and goes. Showed greater understanding of angles and leverage this year. Won’t overcommit when flowing to ball carrier and almost always finds his run fits. Missed tackles fell from ten in 2014 to just three this season. Played with hand in ground as an edge rusher in some subpackages. Showed greater willingness to take chances downhill. Nasty hitter with above average play strength.
Most mocks have Ragland going in the teens during the first round, so he likely will be there when the Bears pick at 11.
Other options if available
Myles Jack, LB; UCLA
Jack is likely a top 10 pick and even a potential top five pick in this year’s draft. So if he were to fall all the way to No. 11, the Bears should take him.
The outside linebacker is just the latest product out of UCLA which has produced Vikings’ linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. For the Bears, Jack would be a perfect fit on the outside and would give them a solid pass rusher and is good in coverage.
Laquon Treadwell, WR; Ole Miss
Another wide receiver in the first round? Yes, but hear me out. If the Bears somehow don’t bring back Alshon Jeffery next season then there will be a hole at wide receiver. If Treadwell is there at No. 11, it will give Ryan Pace an interesting scenario where he could pair him with Kevin White for the future of the receiving core.
Treadwell projects to be the next big thing in the NFL as far as wide receivers go. He had a monster season for the Rebels, catching 11 touchdown passes from quarterback Chad Kelly.
Vernon Hargreaves, CB; Florida
Hargreaves and Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey are projected as the two best cornerbacks in this year’s draft. He had an outstanding career at Florida, shutting down SEC wide receivers and gave the Gators one of the best cornerback duos in college football.
At 5-foot-11, Hargreaves is a little undersized but he can still go up and fight for the ball with big, physical receivers. Most mocks have him in the top 10 or at least fringe top 10, but he’s a solid option for the Bears if they choose to go that route.
Jaylon Smith, LB; Notre Dame
Smith is arguably the biggest question mark of the 2016 NFL Draft. But it’s surely not for his playing skills.
Coming off a torn ACL, mocks have Smith all over the place. Some have him a top 5 player and others in the late first round. The linebacker is a freak athlete and arguably the best in this year’s draft class. He’s an immediate upgrade to what the Bears currently have and would be a nice complement off the edge to the defense.
It just depends on who wants to take the shot on him with his injury.