The first round of the NFL Draft is officially over and multiple first-round talents are still on the board. Like every year, there have been a few shocking picks.
The Packers took a page out of their own book and drafted Jordan Love, even though they have an elite quarterback in place. The Raiders reached to get Damon Arnette with the 19th overall selection that they received from the Bears. This isn’t to say that he won’t be a great NFL player, but he was projected as a late second or early third-round pick.
This also means that the Bears received Kahlil Mack and whoever they select at 43 for Josh Jacobs and Damon Arnette. Even though Jacobs is a great player, I’d still take the Bears’ end of that deal. Reaches like this happen every year and it causes some first-round talent to drop into the second round. Combining that with the overall depth at certain positions in this year’s draft class puts Ryan Pace in prime position to steal a great prospect. This article highlights a few of the realistic options the Bears will have with their 43rd overall pick.
Antoine Winfield Jr. – Safety, Minnesota
Antoine Winfield slots in second behind Xavier McKinney on most of the safety prospect rankings. McKinney has no business falling to the 43rd overall pick and the Bears would have to trade up to acquire him, but Winfield might be sitting there for them. He certainly would be hard to pass up.
He would be a day-one starter in Chicago, as he has the ability to play in the box or roam around at free safety if the Bears want to emulate what they did last year with Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Eddie Jackson. Fans would like to see the Bears draft a safety who allows Eddie Jackson to move back to free safety full time, and Winfield would do just that. Another player with that ability is Grant Delpit. One of these two players should be there at the 43rd pick unless there is a run on safeties.
Lloyd Cushenberry III – Center, LSU
Cesar Ruiz has been the only interior offensive lineman drafted so far, and some prospect lists have Lloyd Cushenberry III ranked above him. This would be an absolute steal at the 43rd overall pick. He would fit into the Bears’ interior perfectly.
James Daniels was originally supposed to be their center, but his inability to vocalize and make calls from the position has forced Cody Whitehair back to the center spot. Whitehair is being a team player by doing this and he’s already gotten his second contract, but it would be in the Bears’ best interest to move him back to guard. Whitehair could be a perennial Pro-Bowl guard, however, the Bears have no other choice but to use him as a center. Lloyd Cushenberry would come in as a day-one starter at the center position, and leading the offensive line wouldn’t be an issue for him. He was the leader of LSU’s National Championship offensive line and is held in high regard at LSU.
Denzel Mims – WR, Baylor
It’s pretty obvious by now, but this year’s receiver class is stacked. Many people are now becoming accustomed to the idea of the Bears selecting a wide receiver with their 43rd overall pick without it being a pressing need. Simply put, there is a high likelihood the best player on the board at 43 will be a wide receiver. K.J. Hamler, Laviska Shenault, and Tee Higgins are all WR prospects with high grades who are still on the board. You really couldn’t go wrong with any of the aforementioned three, but Denzel Mims would be the most ideal pick for the Bears. His 4.38 40-yard dash time is just the beginning. He can take the top off of a defense, but more importantly, he has the size to go along with it. He the type of player who can run past you or go over you and snatch 50/50 balls.
There are a plethora of great prospects left on the board and the Bears have the chance to snatch two day-one starters in the second round. Many fans have wished for the Bears to trade down, and that is a possibility, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan Pace trade up to get one of the edge rushers that are still on the board.