Jeff Dickerson breaks down the Chicago Bears' 2017 draft class.
Round 1, No. 2 overall: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
My take: Are you serious? The Bears went 3-13 last year. They have missed the playoffs for six straight years. They passed up multiple defensive players to select a quarterback who started 13 games in college. The Bears are on the brink, and it's highly doubtful Trubisky helps them in 2017. The point of signing Mike Glennon and guaranteeing him $16 million for this season was to avoid having to panic for a quarterback after the club released Jay Cutler. Did the Bears brass secretly receive contract extensions? To be fair, Trubisky might turn out to be a terrific player and all this worry might prove overblown, but the pick is incredibly risky for a team with a head coach on the hot seat.
Huge splash: You can say this about the Trubisky choice: The Bears made a huge splash. The city of Chicago has been desperate for a franchise quarterback for years, so Trubisky could be huge from a marketing standpoint. And the Bears need help in that department. Soldier Field had thousands of empty seats last season. Trubisky eventually might fill those seats, but maybe not in 2017.
Sorry, Mike: Glennon's long-term future is now bleak. The Bears have identified him as the starter -- for now -- in 2017, but Trubisky has to be the guy soon. The pressure to play first-round quarterbacks is enormous, and that will be no different in Chicago. Glennon is considered a great teammate who immediately bonded with his fellow Bears, but again, he is not assured of much beyond the fall. There is no way Trubisky can sit on the bench for long.
Round 2, No. 45: Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
My take: On film (versus Division II competition) Shaheen looks incredibly athletic at 6-foot-6, 278 pounds. He’s also a former basketball player. Again, in theory, Shaheen can be a two-way tight end, because he flashed impressive receiving skills in college. The Bears needed to address tight end after Zach Miller suffered another injury last season. Chicago did sign free-agent tight end Dion Sims -- and paid him good money -- but Shaheen was likely the best available player on the Bears’ board at No. 45. In a perfect world, Miller stays healthy, giving Chicago a formidable three-headed monster at tight end. Miller, though, is vulnerable now following the pick. Shaheen could make life easier for Glennon -- and one day Trubisky -- in the passing game. Think of the mismatches with Shaheen due to his size. Shaheen is also protection against Miller or Sims getting hurt.
How he fits: Shaheen -- despite jumping from the Great Lakes conference to the NFL -- will be active on game days. That seems like a foregone conclusion, barring injury. Former Bears tight end Logan Paulsen played a heavy snap load last year, so the need for a tight end like Shaheen is clearly there. Only time will tell how Shaheen catches the ball at the next level, but he combined for 127 receptions, 1,670 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns the past two seasons at Ashland. Shaheen is a typical Ryan Pace pick: a player with great athleticism and potential, but a project, because of the fact that he played Division II college ball.
Round 4, No. 112: Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
My take: The Bears were unhappy with their safeties last year, so drafting one makes sense. However, Jackson suffered multiple injuries in college, including a broken leg last year that ended his career at Alabama. Jackson is yet another risky pick by Ryan Pace, after the GM used the No. 2 overall pick on a quarterback who's unlikely to play in 2017, then took a Division II tight end in Round 2. It's never easy with the Bears.
How he fits: First of all, Jackson has to be healthy. Usually, players who get injured in college continue to get hurt in the NFL. That's a concern. But Jackson played for a big-time program and had an excellent junior season for Alabama. He projects to play free safety, and perhaps one day he will be paired with veteran Quintin Demps, who is more of an in-the-box safety. The Bears also drafted safety Deon Bush in Round 4 last year. So Chicago has options at safety, but are any of them good options?
Jackson also returned kicks at Alabama. The Bears wanted to upgrade their return game, and Jackson is a former SEC special teams player of the week. His experience on special teams increases the likelihood he contributes immediately -- if he's healthy.
Round 4, No. 119: Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T
My take: Cohen is nickmamed "The Human Joystick" for his ability to change direction. The Bears didn't have anyone like Cohen on the roster, so ideally he complements the bruising style of Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard. Chicago entered the draft looking for a change-of-pace back -- and they found one. The Bears are hoping that Cohen develops into the next Darren Sproles, whom Ryan Pace overlapped with in New Orleans. That's the best-case scenario. Worst case? Cohen's 5-foot-6 frame is a hindrance at the NFL level.
How he fits: Quite nicely, actually. In theory, Howard wears down opponents and Cohen takes advantage of their tired legs and makes people miss. Again, there is no guarantee Cohen is the next Sproles, but you understand the thought process behind the choice. Chicago's backfield is awfully crowded with Howard, Cohen, Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey. Someone could get squeezed out.
Round 5, No. 147: Jordan Morgan, OL, Kutztown
My take: Jordan Morgan was the second Division II player drafted by the Bears in 2017. That's, um ... interesting. Morgan played on the Senior Bowl squad coached by the Bears staff. He obviously made a great impression and handled the bump up in competition. Pace said he only considers Division II prospects who dominate throughout their entire collegiate career. Morgan did just that. He was named Division II's Lineman of the Year. Well, OK.
How he fits: Morgan played left tackle in college, but listed at 6-foot-3, 309 pounds, he theoretically can play guard in the NFL. Morgan won't be asked to play right away if he makes the team. The Bears seem set up front with Charles Leno, Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long (if healthy) and Bobby Massie. Hroniss Grasu and Eric Kush are also experienced options. Morgan is a player the Bears hope to develop.