A Chicago Bears 2020 mock draft in October might seem a bit premature but the reality is it’s not too hard to identify the likely areas they need to improve. Certain positions have already begun to stick out as obvious weak points that sorely need bolstering. Considering they have no 1st round pick, it raises questions about how they’ll be able to attack the problems effectively. This will offer one idea on how GM Ryan Pace can do just that.
He’s been known for getting the most out of later draft picks and he’ll need to be on his game once again here. He’ll have a slightly easier time of it compared to 2019 with two picks in the 2nd round but it still presents some difficult challenges because he has to be careful about the types of players he targets. The Bears can’t afford project players at this stage. They need guys who can contribute immediately if possible.
So how do things shake out?
Chicago Bears 2020 mock draft:
2nd round (via OAK): Lloyd Cushenberry, OG, LSU
The Bears offensive line is likely to undergo a shakeup in 2020. Fortifying the interior will likely be the area they focus given its importance to the scheme. Kyle Long won’t be around next year, nor will Ted Larsen. They need help at guard. LSU has long been a fertile ground for offensive linemen and 2020 won’t be any different. Lloyd Cushenberry is the latest example. Not only is he big, but he’s also a notable athlete who moves well in space and finds the people he is supposed to block. Not only that but he’s not the type to take plays off. He seeks out contact and sustains his blocks through the whistle.
2nd round: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Prince Amukamara could end up being a cap casualty in 2020. Beyond him the Bears don’t really have another boundary corner of note on the roster. Kevin Toliver hasn’t done anything to earn the job. Buster Skrine and Duke Shelley are both slot guys. This defense needs somebody who can be out there opposite Kyle Fuller. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano tends to like his corners long and feisty. Jaylon Johnson of Utah checks those boxes. He’s not afraid to get physical and is good at finding the football in the air. He needs work on his discipline as penalties tend to follow him a bit too much.
5th round (via PHI): Oluwole Betiku Jr., EDGE, Illinois
Illinois isn’t a typical hotbed of NFL talent like it used to be, but the program can still churn out a good player from time to time. Oluwole Betiku is one of those interesting talents who is starting to blossom. He already has seven sacks on the year and is showcasing a nice mix of athleticism and motor that make for good pass rushers at the pro level.
5th round (via OAK): Steve Montez, QB, Colorado
The Bears aren’t really in a position to draft another QB high in 2020. On the other hand, there’s no harm in adding some fresh blood for depth and potential competition. Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray will both be free agents and it’s the ideal time to add another arm. Steve Montez has a lively one. He can deliver the ball with velocity and is pretty accurate when his mechanics are right. He moves well outside the pocket but needs to learn how to get comfortable inside it. While a bit inconsistent, he always seems to show up in big moments.
5th round: Jacob Breeland, TE, Oregon
While not a standout in any one area, Jacob Breeland is a solid athlete with good pass-catching skills who can consistently beat linebackers in coverage. His hands a strong and rarely bobble the ball and he’ll do his job fairly well as a blocker. He does need work as a route runner and still suffers from fundamental mistakes. All of this requires time to correct.
6th round: Ross Blacklock, DE, TCU
Good 3-4 defensive ends tend to need three things: size, length, and power. Their primary job is to set the edge and stop the run. Ross Blacklock checks those boxes out of TCU. He’s also not terrible from an interior pass rush standpoint. The big concern with him will be health. He missed 2018 due to an Achilles injury. It will be interesting to see how he overcame that.
7th round: T.J. Brunson, ILB, South Carolina
The South Carolina defense has morphed into something pretty good lately and Brunson is one of the unsung heroes to make it happen. He’s not the biggest guy on the field nor the most athletic, but his physicality, motor, and obvious leadership qualities have carried him a long way. His production (238 tackles in 32 games) speaks for itself. The guy finds the football.