By Hub Arkush Pro Football Weekly
CHICAGO – There is a great debate raging in Bears Nation as to whether the beloved are best off making picks at 43 and 50 in the second round, trading down with one or both picks to acquire more picks or trading up to acquire a better prospect.
All that is certain at the moment is the only one who knows what they’re likely to do is general manager Ryan Pace and it seems likely he’s not even locked in to A, B or C at the moment.
But an informed decision will be based on just who might be available at 43 and 50.
Everyone has a list of their top 30 or top 50 players in the NFL Draft.
Below are the best available players likely or with at least a chance to be around at every position after the first 42 players have been drafted.
Jacob Eason – Eason is likely to go late on day one or almost certainly early on day two, but there are enough question marks about his natural instincts, athleticism and pocket presence that he could slide.
Jalen Hurts – Is he a quarterback or an athlete? I love this kid and think he will be a QB at the next level, but he is so unpolished as a passer right now he may not be a good fit for the Bears.
Jake Fromm – An accomplished college QB and high character, outstanding work ethic young man who will slide because of average arm talent and the prospect of him forever being a game manager rather than a game changer.
J. K. Dobbins – Dobbins is a first round talent who will slide to the second because of the diminished value of his position at the next level. The running game is as important as ever in the NFL, but there are a lot of guys who can do it in the right scheme behind the right line. He could be exciting in a tandem with David Montgomery.
Cam Akers – He’s next on my board at the position but too similar to Montgomery to be a good fit for the Bears.
Tee Higgins – This kid is absolutely a first round talent but could slip just because of the depth at the position. His NFL comp just might be Allen Robinson.
Michael Pittman – He’s going to be a stud in the NFL but like Higgins is much more Allen Robinson than Taylor Gabriel.
Denzel Mims – Mims could be the best fit here because, while he is also a bigger receiver at 6-3, 207, his 4.38 40 speed could best cover the loss of Gabriel.
Cole Kmet – Kmet is the best tight end prospect in this draft, he’s an Arlington Heights kid whose dad Frank is an ex-Bear. He’ll be hard to pass if he’s still on the board at 43. I just can’t see him still there at 50.
Harrison Bryant – Bryant should be around at 43, maybe 50 and even though he’s coming from Florida Atlantic rather than Notre Dame where Kmet played, he is probably more NFL ready -- a more complete package.
Austin Jackson – I love this kid’s upside at left tackle. USC has produced a great one and you don’t usually find prospects at this position this exciting in the middle of the second round.
Josh Jones – Jones needs coaching and weight room work but the ceiling is high and he could be a swing tackle backing up either side while he learns.
Isaiah Wilson – Classic boom or bust mountain of a man at 6-6, 350 who is probably limited to the right side.
Lloyd Cushenberry – Is James Daniels a guard or a center because Cushenberry may project at guard, but he looks like he could be a Pro Bowler in the pivot.
John Simpson – Unlike Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, who will probably be the first inside guy off the board because of his high ceiling at either center or guard, and Cushenberry, Clemson’s Simpson is the best pure guard prospect in this draft.
Jordan Elliott – A possibility inside in a 4-3 or as a 5-Technique. He has NFL style and size comp might be Gerald McCoy.
Raekwon Davis – At 6-6, 311 Davis may be best suited as a 4-3 end but he could become an imposing 5-Technique as well. There’s only one J.J. Watt, but Davis plays the game in Watt’s style.
Terrell Lewis – Like All Pro Eddie Jackson Lewis’ injury woes at Alabama will drop him further than he should go in the draft, but he’s shown enough and has unique enough traits that he can become a top outside rush linebacker in a 3-4 or maybe even a 4-3 right end.
Jonathan Greenard – Greenard also lost his junior year to injury and then transferred to Florida from Louisville but he’s a smart, workaholic athlete who makes a ton of plays.
Logan Wilson – He’s bigger than Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan but he’s a four down tackling machine who will be a terror inside a 3-4 base package.
Malik Harrison – Harrison is an inside linebacker in an outside ‘backer’s body and may be able to play either. He was a difference maker at Ohio St.
Grant Delpit – LSU is to safeties what Penn St. is to linebackers and Stanford is to tight ends, and Delpit could be the next really good one. He has outstanding size and will have no trouble living in the box.
Jeremy Chinn – This Saluki is 6-3, 221, one of the best athletes in the draft and much better suited to play inside than in coverage, but he has solid coverage skills and the speed to run with anyone.
Kristian Fulton – Fulton has the size and speed you want but his technique and game awareness will need work.
Noah Igbinoghene – Auburn’s Igbinoghene is a cornerback with a linebacker’s mentality and an extremely high ceiling but short on technique and experience after switching from wide receiver just two seasons ago.
Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Contact him at HArkush@ShawMedia.com.