The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The Chicago Bears are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The Chicago Bears had yet another mediocre season in 2020, finishing 8-8. They snuck into the playoffs due to the expanded playoff format, but put up no fight in their first round matchup against the Saints.
Chicago fans were hopeful heading into the 2021 offseason. It seemed like the Bears might have found the quarterback of their dreams by trading for Russell Wilson. Instead, the trade was shot down and the Bears ended up signing Andy Dalton for $10 million.
Then, to clear up cap space, the Bears had to release Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller. They also failed to extend Allen Robinson to a long term extension, sign Kenny Golladay and re-sign star special teamer and fan favorite Cordarrelle Patterson.
The 2021 offseason has been an utter failure for the Bears front office. Beyond their main setbacks, they have done virtually nothing to improve their roster, adding only depth players so far. Therefore, to be contenders, Chicago needs to have a nearly perfect draft.
In 2021, Chicago has one pick in each of the first three rounds. Their main holes are at the quarterback position, wide receiver, cornerback and offensive tackle.
2021 Bears Draft Picks
First Round: Pick No. 20
Second Round: Pick No. 52
Third Round: Pick No. 83
Quarterback: Chicago’s failed experiment with Mitchell Trubisky is officially over after his signing with the Buffalo Bills. The Bears were unable to land Russell Wilson via trade, and after signing Andy Dalton, the two quarterbacks on the Bears roster are Dalton and Nick Foles. Both of these veterans are below average and have expensive contracts that expire within the next two years.
It is clear that the Bears have no semblance of a franchise quarterback on their roster. Neither Dalton or Foles are long-term answers, much less short-term answers. Therefore, Chicago once again needs to look to the draft to find a new quarterback.
Wide Receiver: The Bears top two receivers, Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, are a dynamic duo. However, there is a major drop off in production after those two players. Anthony Miller, a former second-round pick, has never quite panned out. The other receivers on the roster, Javon Wims and Riley Ridley, are unworthy of a starting spot.
After failing to sign a receiver in free agency, Chicago must turn to the draft to find someone. Having just two good receivers is not enough, especially for mediocre quarterbacks or a potential rookie.
Cornerback: After releasing Kyle Fuller, the Bears have a major gap at the second cornerback position. They signed veteran Desmond Trufant in free agency, but he is aging and injury-prone. There are two young players with potential in Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor, but they are raw and would be best served as nickelbacks.
Chicago needs to draft a reliable cornerback in 2021. Their current group cannot be trusted to be consistent and injury-free.
Offensive Tackle: The Bears porous offensive line was certainly a cause of the poor quarterback play in Chicago last year. By the end of the season, they had found a solid group inside with James Daniels, Sam Mustipher, Cody Whitehair and Alex Bars. However, offensive tackle is still very much in question. No tackle in Chicago can be trusted to consistently protect the quarterback.
To shore up the offensive line and help either Dalton or a rookie quarterback out, the Bears need to find a better offensive tackle.
2021 Bears Draft Targets
Pick No. 20: Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
Bateman came into his freshman year in Minnesota and quickly showcased his talent, continuing that pace in 2019. In 2020, he played just five games before opting out and did not play up to his level the previous two years. However, that small sample size should be taken lightly compared to his dominant performance through his first two seasons.
The Minnesota standout will make an impact in the NFL from the start. Bateman has amazing size, fluidity and quickness. He is not particularly speedy, but he makes up for it with his stellar route running and ability to catch in traffic. He should immediately produce lining up with Mooney and Robinson and give the Bears one of the Bears receiving trios in the league.
Pick No. 52: Liam Eichenberg, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Liam Eichenberg would be a great selection for the Bears at no. 52 overall. He comes from Notre Dame, a college known for producing offensive line talent. Eichenberg should continue that legacy as he has all the tools to be an above average starter in the NFL.
The Notre Dame product has outstanding football intelligence and vision. Eichenberg succeeds both as a run and pass blocker, which is important for a Bears offense that is somewhat in between, unsure what their strategy will be. Eichenberg has all the physical and mental tools to be a commanding starting tackle for a Bears team that needs one.
Pick No. 83: Davis Mills, Quarterback, Stanford
Beyond the five quarterbacks to go in this first round, Davis Mills arguably has the most potential out of any quarterback in the draft. He has an impressive arm strength and size. He makes great reads, is a smart passer and has elusiveness to get out of the pocket if necessary.
Despite all the tools that make Mills attractive, he is a bit raw. At times, he had poor accuracy and was late on throws. However, the Bears are clearly interested in Mills as quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was at the Stanford Pro Day to watch him play. Davis Mills has potential to be great but will need some time to develop under DeFilippo and veterans Andy Dalton and Nick Foles.
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