Cole Kmet, Tight End, Notre Dame: A-
Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen's careers in Chicago have been disappointing, to say the least. Burton shined at times but injuries and his battle with anxiety clouded much of it, leading to his release this offseason. Shaheen also couldn’t stay on the field due to health issues as his future with the Bears dangles in the balance. The Bears currently have 9 tight ends on the roster including recently signed veteran free agents Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris and familiar faces Ben Braunecker and J.P. Holtz to name a few. Ryan Pace owns up to his “mistakes" with Burton and Shaheen not only by adding veteran talent at the position, but goes and gets the best tight end the 2020 draft has to offer, Cole Kmet. The hometown kid out of Arlington Heights gives the Chicago Bears another weapon to an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL last year according to ESPN.
Kmet stands at 6'6", has great hands, and the ability to run over defenders. He’s a monster against smaller secondaries in the open field and is very tough to bring down. Kmet struggles blocking at times but has shown growth throughout his 2019-2020 stand with the Fighting Irish. Kmet played a lot in the slot, taking advantage of smaller defenders, using great body control and positioning to overpower and dominate downfield. Expect to see a lot more 2 tight end sets similar to what the Philadelphia Eagles run with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert involving Graham and Kmet. With time, I believe the Chicago Bears have found their tight end of the future.
Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback, Utah: A
With the release of aging cornerback Prince Amukamara, the Chicago Bears needed to address the corner spot across from pro bowler Kyle Fuller and they did just that. Jaylon Johnson who scouts say was the 3rd best corner in this draft behind Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, fell into Ryan Pace's lap with the 50th overall pick. Johnson is a competitive and physical player who lined up against the best receivers the PAC 12 had to offer. In a recent interview with Bears senior writer, Larry Mayer, Johnson has referred to himself as a "Dog" referring to his competitive nature.
"Honestly, I'm a dog. I'm a real strong competitor. Everything I did at Utah, I had to be that No. 1 corner and going out every week and shutting down No. 1 wide receivers. I'm used to getting after it. I'm used to challenging guys. I never shy down from competition. In big games, there was never a time that I didn't show up and make plays.”
Look for Johnson to start Week 1 and bring his intensity, swagger, and talent to an already stacked and scary Chicago Bears defense.
Trevis Gipson Outside Linebacker/ Defensive Line, Tulsa: B
Pace’s mindset going into day 3 was to gain depth all across the roster and he started on the defensive side of the ball. Gipson is a dynamic and relentless pass rusher that can play any position on the defensive line whether it’s in a three-point stance or standing up coming off the edge. Explosive is the best way to characterize the Tulsa product just watch this video.
As we know, the Bears' D-Line is loaded with talent thanks to newly-acquired Robert Quinn on the EDGE opposite Khalil Mack, and guys like Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman stuffing the middle. Behind Mack and Quinn on the depth chart, is a whole lot of question marks. In my opinion, Gipson is already better than their current backups, Isaiah Irving, Barkevious Mingo, and James Vaughters. I could see Gipson making an immediate impact, coming in on key 3rd downs and certain nickel packages giving the starters a breather.