Updated: April 25, 1:30 PM EST
The 2021 NFL Draft is almost here and it’s time for a Chicago Bears mock draft to show how this team can still be successful after missing out on the top quarterbacks this offseason.
A three-game winning streak by Mitch Trubisky helped Chicago reach the NFL Playoffs, but it also sent this team tumbling down the NFL Draft order. Instead of having a top-12 pick, an ideal spot for a trade-up to land a top quarterback, the Bears are sitting 20th overall. With a top rookie quarterback expensive and a Russell Wilson trade off the table, general manager Ryan Pace will need to get creative in what might be the draft class that determines his future.
With the help of The Draft Network’s simulator, let’s dive into our Chicago Bears mock draft.
Chicago Bears mock draft: Trading up for a quarterback
First round, 8th pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Chicago Bears mock draft trade: Carolina Panthers trade 8th pick to Chicago for 20th pick, 83rd overall pick and 2022 first-round pick
The Bears are desperate. An aging roster with a head coach and general manager on the hot seat, Chicago needs a young quarterback who can provide a spark. Trading up for a top-10 pick comes at a significant price, with the Kansas City Chiefs’ draft-day deal for Patrick Mahomes an example, but this is a cost the Bears seem ready to pay.
Justin Fields would be an ideal target, but he might come off the board higher than Chicago can afford to move up for him. The focus then shifts to the next best quarterback prospects, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. Lance carried an FCS program in 2019 and boasts the best physical skills in this draft class. As for Jones, he is a Kirk Cousins-like quarterback.
If there’s a decision to be made, it should be easy. Lance can sit behind Dalton to open the 2021 season, learning the Bears’ scheme and witnessing the NFL’s speed. But it won’t be long before he is ready to take over and Nagy can build an offense around Lance’s unique skills. There are huge risks with this move, but the Bears’ front office has little choice.
Second round, 60th overall*: D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
- Chicago Bears mock draft trade: New Orleans Saints send 60th and 105th overall picks to Chicago for 52nd overall pick
The Draft Network’s Tony Pauline reported the Bears love D’Wayne Eskridge and it’s hard to blame them. He is relatively new to wide receiver. He saw time at running back in high school and then transitioned to defensive back at Western Michigan. But it didn’t take long for him to become a dangerous weapon on offense.
Eskridge ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at his Pro Bay, a number that was lower than many expected. But the slower time was traced back to a bad start and his speed is undeniable on film. He averaged 23.1 yards per catch in his senior season, routinely slipping past corners at the line and torching them deep. While there are legitimate concerns about his size (5-foot-9), his work at the Senior Bowl and his track speed are worth an investment. Plus, he’d be the perfect deep threat for Lance’s rocket arm.
Third round, 86th overall: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
- Chicago Bears mock draft trade: New York Jets trade 86th pick to Bears for 105th and 221st overall picks
Three trades might seem unrealistic, but there’s a reason behind it. After trading up in Round 1, sacrificing the third-round pick, Chicago needed to recoup that loss. So, it moved down a few spots on Day 2 to gain the 105th pick. With Walker Little still falling down the board, a stockade of Day 3 picks came into play.
Little is a first-round talent, maybe even better than that. After a strong sophomore season at Stanford, many projected him as a future top-10 pick. Sadly, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first game of the 2019 season. After a full year of recovery, he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Playing little to no football in two years is cause for concern. But this is a 6-foot-7 offensive tackle with above-average athleticism, plenty of power in his punches and relatively solid technique for an inexperienced prospect. It’s a huge gamble to play him immediately, he still needs to add strength and will need quality coaching. But if you’re looking for a Day 2 target who might become a top-20 talent, that’s Walker Little. Best of all, he could fill a huge void on the Bears’ offensive line.
Chicago Bears mock draft: Day 3 targets in 2021 NFL Draft
- Fifth round, 164th overall: Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
- Sixth round, 204th overall: Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
- Sixth round, 208th overall: Tommy Kraemer, iOL, Notre Dame
- Sixth round, 228th overall: Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
What do you think about our Chicago Bears mock draft? Let us know in the comments below.