Free agency has officially died down for the Chicago Bears as GM Ryan Poles focuses on the NFL Draft happening in just three weeks. Now with two second round picks following the Khalil Mack trade with the Los Angeles Chargers, all eyes are on the new regime to see how they approach the draft following former GM Ryan Pace’s “get your guy at all costs” mentality. Will Poles follow suit and sneak back into the first round? Given the limited draft capital he’s working with thanks to Pace, the answer to that question is probably no. Here’s a look at some options the Bears should consider at picks 39 and 48.
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
The wait for a big splash at wide receiver continues for the Bears as a couple smaller free agent signings are all the team has to hang its hat on thus far. Enter Tolbert, the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year, who tallied 1,474 yards and eight touchdowns last year for South Alabama. The 6-foot-1 receiver is “dripping with NFL potential” according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and brings some of the best route running the position has to offer in this rookie class.
Treylon Burks and Garrett Wilson may be in a tier of their own, but Jalen Tolbert honestly isn’t too far behind 👀 pic.twitter.com/weG4nQvdyj
— Nate Christian (@NateNFL) November 21, 2021
Tyler Smith, T, Tulsa
Mean, nasty and athletic.
Those are three words (yes, we need two that are similar) to describe the big 6-foot-4, 325 pound prospect from Tulsa. Smith allowed a pressure on just two percent of all dropbacks over the course of his collegiate career, a stat that would have any offensive line-needy team drooling over. Poles has been all about the trenches and rebuilding what he has obviously seen as a weakness on the Bears’ roster. Drafting Smith would ensure a mean streaking tackle is protecting Justin Fields, which might be exactly what the front office is looking for.
Logan Hall, DT, Houston
A long-term solution at defensive tackle still eludes the Bears following their free agent physical woes with Larry Ogunjobi. Already towering at 6-foot-6 and 283 points, Hall may not be done fitting into his towering, powerful frame. The Houston product compiled 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2021 en route to all conference honors. As to what lies ahead in his pro career, Hall has been projected as both a 3-4 defensive end and a 3-technique defensive tackle, the latter of which obviously fits the Bears’ new defensive scheme. His hand techniques and power could solve a major need for the Bears if he is on the board at pick 39.
Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
It’s still anyone’s guess who will be starting at safety in Week 1 for the Bears, so why not the national champion safety Lewis Cine? It’s very possible he may be gone as early as the late first round, but Poles may find himself running to the podium if the speedy safety is on the board when the Bears make their selection. Cine ran an NFL Combine 4.37 40-yard dash, showing off his athleticism to pair with his impressive highlight reel. An excellent tackler, the Georgia product isn’t afraid to crash the line of scrimmage and wreak havoc in all types of coverage whether it’s in pass or run situations. Cine could be a perfect fit to pair with Eddie Jackson, who can get back to focusing on free safety assignments if things fall in the Bears’ favor.
Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn St.
The very pick the Bears acquired in letting go their best pass rusher in Khalil Mack, may very well bring in the guy who will replace him. Ebiketie is a unique prospect that carries an unknown ceiling due to his sudden rise after transferring from Temple to Penn State this last year. The increased level of competition was no problem for Ebiketie as he tallied 62 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles for the Nittany Lions in 2021.
A lot of the redshirt senior’s traits boil down to his athleticism and explosiveness off the line. The pass rush specialist may be exactly what the Bears need across from Robert Quinn and striking fear in opposing offenses for years to come.
Just finished PSU EDGE Arnold Ebiketie's film – can't wait to see what he does in Mobile
Stand up rusher that can win with speed to the outside+turn the corner, straight power or even counter inside
He's got a reel of demolishing QBs ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/bzNGVPvHjC
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) January 9, 2022
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