Chicago Bears likely to go defense with No. 3 draft pick
The last time the Bears had a pick as high as the No. 3 overall selection they have this year, general manager Ryan Pace wasn't even born.
Way back in 1972, the Bears used the third pick on Lionel Antoine of Southern Illinois. The 6-foot-6, 258-pound Biloxi, Miss., native was a two-time All-America tight end at SIU, but the Bears drafted him to be a left tackle.
Not until midway through his third season (1974) did Antoine become a starter. Antoine spent two more seasons as a full-time starter, but two years after that his career was over.
Pace hopes to get more out of the third pick this year on Thursday night when the first round will be conducted. It would be a shock if the Bears didn't take a defensive player. The consensus is Alabama's dominant defensive lineman will be the choice.
Jonathan Allen would be a defensive end in the Bears' base 3-4 defense and a major force against the run and an impact pass-rush threat. He would slide inside when the Bears go to a 4-3 in passing situations and might be even more effective working against less-athletic interior linemen.
If the San Francisco 49ers pass on Stanford edge rusher Solomon Thomas and Allen, the Bears might have a difficult decision. Both players are the exact same height, a fraction over 6-foot-2½. Allen is bigger and stronger, while Thomas is faster and quicker.
There are many schools of thought that believe the Bears will attempt to upgrade a secondary that has struggled for the past two seasons, especially creating turnovers.
The Bears upgraded cornerback and safety in free agency with three players, but cornerback Prince Amukamara is on a one-year deal.
If the Bears go with a DB, they could choose from the top three. Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the top corner, and his teammate Malik Hooker is the top free safety. LSU's Jamal Adams is the best strong safety on the board.
1. Cleveland Browns E Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Slam-dunk instant-impact guy for a team in need of several.
2. San Francisco 49ers E Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Dominant pass-rush potential despite 2 years' experience.
3. Chicago Bears DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
3-down DL dominator makes more sense than top DB's.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
Went heavy on 'D' in '16; now go for top offensive player.
5. Tennessee Titans CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Instant upgrade for secondary that struggled in 2016.
6. New York Jets QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Maybe this time they finally get the QB thing right.
7. Los Angeles Chargers SS Jamal Adams, LSU
Many analysts consider him the safest pick in the draft.
8. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Do-it-all threat, has answered durability questions.
9. Cincinnati Bengals LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Some minor red flags, but he will be a leader from Day One.
10. Buffalo Bills WR Mike Williams, Clemson
Cleanest wideout in the draft came up big in big games.
11. New Orleans Saints TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
Can do what Jimmy Graham did for them -- and he'll block.
12. Cleveland Browns QB Mitchell Trubisky, No. Carolina
Trying to erase long history of whiffing on QB's in draft.
13. Arizona Cardinals WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Heir apparent to Larry Fitzgerald who's nearly 34.
14. Philadelphia Eagles CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Help for a position lacking depth and talent.
15. Indianapolis Colts E Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Robert Mathis retired, and their OLB's had zero sacks in '16.
16. Baltimore Ravens E Charles Harris, Missouri
Terrell Suggs is 34, and they were 24th in sacks last year.
17. Washington Redskins FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State
In need of a DB playmaker, they get maybe the best.
18. Tennessee Titans TE David Njoku, Miami
After going 'D' at 5 they get a weapon for QB Carson Wentz.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Exactly what a toothless secondary needs and a RS as well.
20. Denver Broncos OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
They need lots of help up front and this is a good start.
21. Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
As long as he stays healthy, he's a Day One starter.
22. Miami Dolphins OG Forrest Lamp, West. Kentucky
Should be a plug-and-play guy inside with athleticism.
23. New York Giants QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Great talent if harnessed. Eli is 36 and past his peak.
24. Oakland Raiders CB Tre'Davious White, LSU
Press corner unafraid in run support; brings PR ability.
25. Houston Texans CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
Could be seamless transition from departed stud A.J. Bouye.
26. Seattle Seahawks OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Russell Wilson can't keep running for cover. Here's help.
27. Kansas City Chiefs LB Haason Reddick, Temple
Could be a steal at an area of need if still on the board.
28. Dallas Cowboys DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
May finally get their difference-making pass rusher.
29. Green Bay Packers CB Kevin King, Washington
Maybe NFL's worst secondary gets big boost from big corner.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers E Taco Charlton, Michigan
Size to be base DE in their 3-4 and Big 10 sack leader.
31. Atlanta Falcons CB Adoree' Jackson, USC
Rare athlete and KR ability is ideal for the slot.
32. New Orleans Saints WR John Ross, Washington
Fastest 40 in Combine history (4.22) but must stay healthy.
Best of the rest
(Possible Round 2 considerations for Bears at No. 36 overall)
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
TE Evan Engram, Mississippi
OT Garett Bolles, Utah
LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
QB Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame
DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
LB Zach Cunnigham, Vanderbilt
E T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
S Budda Baker, Washington
WR Juju Smith-Schuster, USC
CB Chidobe Owuzie, Colorado
S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
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