By: Jay Patel
- TE Cole Kmet
- CB Jaylon Johnson
- OLB Trevis Gipson
- CB Kindle Vildor
- WR Darnell Mooney
- OL Arlington Hambright
- OL Lachavious Simmons
- DE Ledarius Mack (Undrafted Free Agent)
The Bears walk away from the 2020 NFL Draft with tons of exciting new players. Chicago selected Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet with their first pick in the draft (42nd overall). Kmet was ranked as the No. 1 TE in the draft class, and the Bears have officially overhauled their TE position. Kmet, along with free-agent signings Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris will most likely be the top-three tight ends on the Bears roster. Now, I do think the Bears could’ve held off until pick 50 to draft Kmet. Adding a safety such as Grant Delpit or Antoine Winfield Jr. to pair with Eddie Jackson would’ve formed a dangerous duo for the Bears, but we’ll never know. The Bears currently have ten TEs on the roster with the addition of Kmet (obvious cuts loom), so I do think they could’ve risked waiting until their other 2nd round pick to draft Kmet while filling a vital role on defense.
Speaking of defense, the Bears next three picks were on defensive players. After the release of Prince Amukamara, the Bears had a glaring hole at the CB2 position. Signing Artie Burns and Tre Roberson probably wasn’t going to solve that issue, so Ryan Pace found a solid option in Utah CB Jaylon Johnson. He ended his college career with seven interceptions, and he’ll have a good opportunity to line up opposite of Kyle Fuller.
The Bears were busy in the fifth round. The first trade was with the Minnesota Vikings, going up eight spots to draft Tulsa OLB Trevis Gipson. Gipson (eight sacks last year for Tulsa) will be a solid rotational pass-rusher for the Bears behind Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. This pick reminds me of 2018 fifth-round pick Bilal Nichols, who has carved out a nice role with the Bears. I do see similar success for Gipson, who is known for getting after the QB with his quick first step and monster mentality. Chicago found a solid depth piece for their first fifth-round pick.
CB Kindle Vildor was the second fifth-round selection. He has good size (5’11, 190), and finished college with nine interceptions. With last year’s CB picks in Duke Shelley and Stephen Denmark, Vildor is set up to be a key special teams contributor for his first season with the Bears.
Ryan Pace continued to deal, and got back into the fifth round after a trade with Philadelphia to move up 23 slots. He added a speedster in Tulane WR Darnell Mooney (4.38 40-yard dash). Mooney will be low on the depth chart, but he should get snaps as a slot receiver. I wouldn’t be surprised if they use him like Cordarelle Patterson (run plays or screen passes). A clear addition was needed at the WR position after the release of Taylor Gabriel, and Pace filled it with Mooney.
The final two selections of the Bears draft were offensive lineman. Arlington Hambright, 6’5, is a big guy who can play anywhere on the line. Similarly, Lachavious Simmons, 6’5, is another big body who can play multiple positions on the line. Both these players are versatile, and the Bears badly need to upgrade the line. They will be given opportunities, but I don’t see either of them making an impact. Most likely, they will be practice squad material.
An interesting development occurred after the draft was over and undrafted free agency started. Chicago signed Ledarius Mack, younger brother of Khalil to a deal. Last year, Ledarius recorded eight sacks for Memphis, so he has a chance to crack the Bears 53-man roster as a depth piece or special teams contributor. Either way, it’s a good time for the Mack brothers.
Overall, the Bears found some solid players in this year’s draft. Some things could’ve been different. There were reports that the Bears had offers to trade down in the draft, and I do think they should’ve done it at least once to gain an extra pick or two. However, Ryan Pace isn’t known for trading down, but for trading up. I still wonder whether Kmet would’ve been there at 50, so the Bears could’ve gotten a NFL-ready safety (Delpit or Winfield Jr.), but they still managed to add a NFL-ready CB in Johnson. Without a first-round pick, Chicago managed to add potential starters (Kmet and Johnson), depth pieces (Gipson and Mooney), and special teams contributors (Vildor). It was a good draft for the Bears, not a great one.