The NFL draft is less than two weeks away, but for fans of the three teams without a first-round pick — the Bears, Browns and Saints — the wait will be a tad longer before their team is first on the clock on Day 2.
So what better time to unveil our first full Bears mock draft? Doing first-round mocks are tricky enough; attempting to identify which prospect a team might fancy with, say, the 222nd overall pick takes what was already an exercise in dart throwing to a whole new level.
But we're guessing more than a few of you have endured at least a bit of mock draft envy during this seemingly endless process, so this one's for you. As a reminder, I offered my take on the Bears' top five post-free agency draft priorities
in last week's newsletter, but your general manager is very much a BPA (best player available) drafter and for the purposes of this mock, the main goal is aligning value and need.
One final note before we begin: The Bears don't have first- or second-rounders this year, but what they do now have is one of the more talented rosters in football. That means it'll be an uphill battle for even a five-man draft class to all stick, and even less likely it yields more than a couple key contributors in 2019. Like Ryan Pace, we attempted to take the long view and find players whose value to the Bears can increase in time.
Matt Nagy might prefer a committee approach in the backfield after dealing Jordan Howard, but he admitted at the combine to enjoying the challenge of hunting for a "hybrid back" in this class. Though many Bears fans have keyed on the "other" Williams, Texas A&M's Trayveon
, who admittedly is a cleaner evaluation, it says here Dexter is the better "hybrid" RB prospect with a higher ceiling.
As for what complicates his eval, Dexter Williams underachieved at Notre Dame, and when he finally put it all together last season, it wasn't until after serving a four-game drug suspension. Here's the thing: Few teams should have a better read on him than the Bears, as one of their most trusted assistant coaches, Harry Hiestand, spent three years in South Bend with Williams. That the Bears still reportedly had Williams in for a private meeting might mean nothing. Or it could mean they're very interested in an ascendant playmaker nicknamed "Juice" who just might be worth the squeeze with their first pick.