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.
Kindle Vildor, Cornerback, Georgia Southern: B+
Another secondary player in this draft, this time being Kindle Vildor. Similar to Johnson, Vildor covered opposing teams number 1 receiver’s for the past 2 years at Georgia Southern. He was a first-team All-Sun Belt selection in back-to-back seasons with the Eagles. Even though Vildor doesn’t have the size most scouts look for in a corner being 5’10”, he makes up for it with his incredible strength and athleticism.
There will be competition at the nickel spot. Veteran Buster Skrine looks to be the designated starter at that position, but at times struggled last season. Duke Shelley, who the Bears drafted last year, all of a sudden finds his job security in jeopardy because he's nowhere near the athlete Vildor is. If Skrine's struggles continue, look for Vildor to come in help the Bears' nickel defense.
Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver, Tulane: C-
Mooney is a deep threat speedster who put up solid numbers last season for the Green Wave. In man coverage, defenders had trouble containing him and would find themselves often chasing after him. His biggest issue isn’t his height at 5'10", as we have seen in recent years you don’t have to be 6’5” to be a productive receiver in the NFL, but he needs to bulk up. Mooney weighs 175 pounds soaking wet and due to the pandemic, without the standard NFL preseason workout program coaches use to help rookies, this could hurt Mooney in developing his body to adapt to the NFL. Mooney might have a tough time finding playing time and will have to compete with receivers Riley Ridley and Javon Wims. Even though Mooney is lightning quick, he only returned one kick his entire 4-year career at Tulane, so look for Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen to continue returning kicks. This may be a development year for Mooney, but he could see action if players higher on the depth chart, don't live up to expectation.
Arlington Hambright, Offensive Lineman, Colorado: B+
Finally, in the 7th round, Pace addressed the offensive line issue with the Bears' last two picks, the first being Arlington Hambright. Last season, the right side of the line was atrocious. Hambright is very versatile and can play both guard and tackle. The first thing that jumps to me watching his film is his speed and how quick he is off the ball. Hambright is very athletic which helps make it easier for him to find defenders to block downfield. His arm length is shorter than ideal at 6'5" 300lbs, and at times finds himself over setting too wide in pass pro leaving the inside vulnerable. Hambright will most likely start his NFL career at guard, as the Bears look to fill the void of recently retired Bear, Kyle Long.
Lachavious Simmons, Offensive Lineman, Tennessee State: C
The second of the Bears' last two picks is another versatile offensive lineman in Lachavious Simmons. Simmons is a physical and nasty lineman who plays the game how it should be played in the trenches. He plays with a lot of energy and passion and isn't afraid to go up against anyone. Being an unknown prospect, Simmons will look to make a name for himself during training camp.
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