Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay team up for new mock draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
With just nine days until the draft starts, buzz around what each and every team will do, and where each and every prospect will land, is heating up. Accordingly, the rate at which mock drafts have dropped on social media has picked up considerably. On Tuesday, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr.ー two of ESPN’s preeminent draft expertsー joined forces for a joint mock draft. We’ve sifted through all the picks to bring you what they think the Bears will do.
NO. 9: PETER SKORONSKI – OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – NORTHWESTERN
“I’ve gone back and forth on which offensive lineman the Bears will take here, but Skoronski is the best on my board (No. 8 overall), even though I like him a little more as a guard,” wrote Kiper Jr. “Chicago needs a right tackle, which is why I projected Darnell Wright here in my two-round mock. I’d be confident in Skoronski’s ability to learn the position.”
The reason many draft experts believe Skoronski is a guard, and not a tackle like he was in college, is because his arms are considered short for the position. But short arms were never a problem for Skoronski in the Big Ten. Last season only surrendered six pressures at left tackle.
NO. 53: MAZI SMITH – DEFENSIVE TACKLE – MICHIGAN
“Smith is one of the strongest players in this class,” wrote Kiper Jr. “He won’t offer much as an interior pass-rusher, but he will plug holes in the run game.”
The Bears desperately need pass rushers, considering they had a league-worst 20 sacks last yearー and only 10.5 of them came from guys who played on the defensive line. But their run defense wasn’t very good either, so a run stopper will help the Bears on early downs to get the defense in more obvious pass rush situations on third down.
NO. 61: DERICK HALL – DEFENSIVE END – AUBURN
“The Bears are devoid of pass-rushers; they haven’t added many guys this offseason who can get after the quarterback,” wrote Kiper JR. “Hall had 16 sacks over the past two seasons. He is a better fit for a team that runs a 3-4 defense, but he could be a situational rusher as a rookie while he puts on more weight to hold up against the run.”
Hall’s got long arms, a great frame and he’s extremely quick off the ball. But experts note inconsistency in his play, which is why he falls to the end of the second round instead of going higher.
“I like what you did with the first three Chicago picks, Mel,” wrote McShay. “You hit their top three positions of need, so I guess I’ll pivot to their fourth: cornerback. Smith is a reliable cover guy with great instincts and plenty of versatility.”
Smith largely played outside corner for the Gamecocks, but started mixing in a little at the slot last season. He also has a history of ball production with six interceptions, 24 PBUs and one forced fumble over the past three seasons.
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