With the NFL Draft now just over a week away, teams are making their final preparations. For the Chicago Bears and GM Ryan Pace, these preparations include making a decision on what to do with the third overall pick. With so many options and scenarios, the decision on what to do may not be solidified until the day of the draft.
One option that has been discussed frequently is whether to keep the third pick or possibly trade down in the first round. The benefit of trading down is that the Bears would acquire an additional pick (likely mid-round) as compensation for moving out of the third spot and would still have a high first-round selection as well. Finding a trade partner is the hard part.
The trade down scenario makes sense only if Pace doesn’t feel he will get adequate value from the guy he wants to take at that spot. Many mock drafts have the Bears selecting LSU safety, Jamal Adams, with the third pick. If Pace does indeed want Adams, but does not feel that he gets enough value by using the third pick on a defensive back, then exploring a trade down makes sense. If Pace can find a team that is desperate to get into the top three picks, then he could conceivably still get his guy a few picks later and gain an additional pick later on.
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The fact that there has only been one safety (Eric Turner, Cleveland Browns ’91) in the past 25 years that has been drafted higher than fifth overall, certainly plays a factor in assessing the value. Sean Taylor (Washington Redskins ’04) and Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs ’10) were both selected fifth in their respective draft classes as well. But if Pace feels strongly that Adams is his guy and doesn’t have any trade options, it should not stop him from taking Adams with the third pick.
The same can be said for the quarterback position. Several mock drafts have the Chicago Bears taking Clemson quarterback, Deshaun Watson, with the third pick, but others feel that would be a reach. Again, if that is Pace’s guy, then he needs to take him. The issue here is that if Pace doesn’t use the third pick, or possibly trade down, to select a quarterback early in the first round, there may not be any of the top options left on the board when they pick in the second round.
By the time the Chicago Bears second round (36th overall) pick comes along, it’s not likely that any of the top four quarterback options will be available. These options include Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshone Kizer. Of course, Pace could opt to go after a quarterback in the next tier of prospects, but the drop in talent is evident. The Bears are looking for a future starter that they can groom behind Mike Glennon, not a future backup.
If the Bears do not draft a quarterback early in the first round, Pace could opt to trade up to get another first-round selection. This would likely mean giving up their second round pick as well as another mid-round selection in order to move somewhere into the late first-round. This would all be dependent on how the first round unfolds. If Pace has a guy targeted, but believes that he will be gone by the second round, then this is an option he would have to explore.
Given that this year’s draft class is deep at several positions it would certainly be a benefit to have more picks. The only way to get more picks is by trading down. If Pace is certain about his guy at number three, then he should take him. If not, then the trade down scenario would not be a surprise.
Todd Thorstenson is a staff writer covering the Chicago Bears as well as Illinois Fighting Illini football for EndZoneScore.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Thor1323