By Bryan Dietzler
The 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone and the Chicago Bears have made their picks hoping that the players that they have selected will help them out in the short and long term. The Bears made a somewhat surprising move to start the draft, trading up a few spots in the first round to make a selection that we will look at shortly. This was a somewhat uncharacteristic move by the Bears but one that they must have felt that they had to do to get the player they wanted.
The following is a look at all of the Bears draft picks in the 2016 NFL draft. There is a little insight into the player, the value of the pick and how he might fit on the team in the immediate future. Full profiles of these players will be coming later on this spring.
The player the Bears traded up for, thinking that he wouldn’t be there at number 11 (in their normal spot) was Leonard Floyd, an outside linebacker from Georgia. The Bears needed speed and pass rush ability and they got that with Floyd who could be just what they need to help them get more sacks and more pressure on the quarterback. Some experts feel that Floyd may have been taken a little too early and that the Bears really didn’t need to move up to get him (it cost them a fourth round pick in the process) but the Bears knew what they were doing and went ahead and did it.
Some of the major upside to Floyd is that he is very fast and possesses a lot of quickness. He is explosive, a natural pass rusher and has a variety of pass rushing moves that he can use to get to the quarterback. He loves football and has no off the field issues. He doesn’t appear to have much downside but is a little thin, needs to work on defending the run a little bit better and needs to get stronger. His strengths do outweigh his weaknesses however.
The pick of Floyd could be a little bit of a head scratcher but in the end it just might pan out. The Bears really need a pass rusher and it looks like they got one in Floyd. Now if he can just develop into an NFL pass rusher, earn a starting spot and play well the Bears will come out looking like big winners with this pick.
We will take a deeper look at Floyd a little later on.
In the second round, the Bears moved around a little bit, trading back twice and grabbed guard Cody Whitehair from Kansas State. Whitehair has a lot of starting experience and started at several positions during his career in college. The drafting of Whitehair prompted the Bears to release last year’s starter at guard Matt Slauson as Chicago may think that they have found a solid youthful replacement in Whitehair. Whitehair has a lot of good qualities and hopefully he will be able to step in and start right away (which the Bears think he will be able to) and play well.
In the third round, the Bears selected defensive end Jonathan Bullard from the University of Florida. The Bears came into this draft looking for pass rushers after going through 2015 without much of a pass rush. They took Floyd in the first round and then took Bullard in the third to help bolster that part of their defense. Bullard is a pretty good player and may have been a bit of a steal at the point the Bears picked him in the third round. Chicago may use him as part of a rotation on the defensive line to give the line fresh bodies to get to the passer. The Bears need all the help that they can get rushing the quarterback and Bullard should be able to provide the help they need.
The Bears started off taking their bevy of fourth round picks early when they selected West Virginia linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The Bears had a need at the linebacker position heading into this draft and they picked up some of that much needed depth with Kwiatkowski. Look for him to be a depth player at the linebacker position and also participate on special teams.
With another fourth round pick, the Bears took safety Deon Bush out of the University of Miami. The Bears needed help at the safety position as it lacked depth and had some issues with injury last year. The drafting of Bush may have been the signal for the end of Antrel Rolle’s career with the Bears because the Bears let Rolle go the day after the draft. Will Bush now get the opportunity to start at the safety position opposite Adrian Amos? The Bears did have success with Amos, a rookie, last year so perhaps they are thinking that they will have the same results with Bush. We will soon find out.
Another player the Bears got in the fourth round was Northern Iowa cornerback Deiondre Hall. Hall is from a smaller school than most of the players the Bears drafted but has a lot of upside. Hall, with some work in the NFL to learn and grow, could end up being a strong nickel corner or fifth defensive back with the Bears in possibly a season or two. What he can do right away is help out on special teams so look for the Bears to use him there to start and then allow him to grow into a bigger role as time goes on. Hall could surprise a lot of people because he is very talented. Look for him to make an impact on the team at some point in his career.
In the fifth round, Chicago went for offense as they selected running back Jordan Howard out of Indiana. It was almost a given that the Bears would select a running back in the draft because they are going to be needing some help at the position this year. The Bears do have Jeremy Langford (figured to be the starter) Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers but they could be adding Howard as the fourth back to give them some depth as well as have someone that could play special teams. Howard has a good shot of making the team and being the fourth running back as well as helping out on special teams.
The Bears chose DeAndre Houston-Carson, a safety from William and Mary with their sixth round pick in the draft. This was the second safety that the Bears took in the draft bolstering that position even further. Houston-Carson is a small school prospect and will take some time to develop but he can help out immediately on special teams and can provide some depth at the safety position next season. The Bears will hope that he develops into a strong backup that can step and start if needed.
With their seventh round (and final) pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears selected wide receiver Daniel Braverman out of Western Michigan. There are some experts that compare him to such players as Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and the Bears probably hope that he turns into a solid slot receiver for them. Being a seventh round draft pick means it’s a longshot for him to make the team but you never know. He could have enough talent to stick with the team and may be able to hang on thanks to solid special teams play.
A lot of experts had high grades for the Bears draft this year and consider it to be one of the better drafts in the NFL. This writer feels that Chicago did pretty well from the second round forward but there are some questions with their first round pick, Floyd that will have to be answered. Perhaps they didn’t need to move up in the draft to get him. Was he worthy of a first round pick? We will soon find out.
Look for more detail about the players the Bears picked in the draft in future articles.