The latest Mel Kiper Bears mock draft should’ve been the most exciting yet. After all the big action is right around the corner. Just one week until all the speculation can stop. Usually this is the time where some of the most accurate mock drafting takes place. Kiper remains one of the most respected draft analysts in the business. So it’s fair to wonder how he could’ve done so poorly with his latest run at Chicago.
Oh it started well enough. Like many others Kiper felt LSU safety Jamal Adams as a quality pick at a desperately needed position on the Bears defense. He’d be an instant starter with all-around skill and high character and leadership intangibles. Maybe a bit high at #3 but acceptable given his talent and the state of the class.
After that though? Well, not so much.
The Mel Kiper Bears mock draft
1 (3): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
2 (36): DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
3 (67): Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
“Chicago added cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency, so I’m going with a safety here. Adams is a do-it-all defender with All-Pro potential. Walker is versatile and a hard-worker who could start at defensive end in the Bears’ 3-4. He had 16 sacks for the Seminoles last season. Kazee is a ball hawk who had 15 interceptions the past two seasons.
He isn’t big (5-foot-10, 184 pounds), and he didn’t run fast at the combine (4.54 40), and that could drop him into the fourth round. But if I were the GM of a team that needed a slot corner in the third round, Kazee would be my guy. Neither Amukamara nor Cooper is an inside corner. I think Kazee will have a better career than some of the corners who get picked in the second round. He’s underrated.”
Where it went wrong
Even though Adams would likely turn out to be a good pick, it could still be argued he’s a reach at #3. There is no argument, on the other hand that Demarcus Walker and Damontae Kazee are definite reaches in the second and third rounds respectively. Not only are both lacking the talent customary to those draft positions, but they also might not be the best fits for the positions Kiper believes they can fill.
Start with Walker. There is no doubt the young man finds a way to get sacks. That’s great. He has good power and plays his best in big games. What is conveniently overlooked is his size. Walker is 6’4″, 280 lbs with 33-inch arms. By comparison Akiem Hicks, the Bears’ best defensive end, is 6’5″, 330 lbs with 35-inch arms. Walker is significantly undersized for that position in the Fangio defense.
EDGE DeMarcus Walker (Fl St, 6'2", 273lbs) dominated by ~235lbs Evan Engram. pic.twitter.com/duQ1phxx2G
— Jeremy Stevenson (@MyColtsAccount) January 11, 2017
Then there is Kazee. The young man has outstanding instinct and ball skills. Both would be great to have in the secondary. As stated above though he’s not only undersized but also a bit slower than desired. This scheme requires a lot of man-to-man coverage whereas Kazee looks like a perfect zone corner. Besides they already have a number of good options for slot corner in Cre’Von LeBlanc and Bryce Callahan.
Suffice to say Kiper seemed to get a bit lazy with those pick projections. There is no way he could justify each of those final two picks being the “best player available” on the board. Never mind his not adding a quarterback with any of them. Bad form, Mel, bad form.