On the Clock: 2018 Chicago Bears
by Mario Granata
With the huge Draft Day splash that the Bears executed in the 2017 NFL Draft by getting their quarterback, Ryan Pace received a lot of heat for that decision, however, the Bears were able to get some of their draft capital back and fill their roster. No one needed to look further than their WR core to know that they would be a player in the sweepstakes this year, seeing as they had 4 last season who were on one-year deals.
The Bears are currently 27 million dollars under the cap and have resolved the one position that hampered them in 2017: Wide Receivers. None of them had over 100 targets in 2017, and their second leading receiver was a rookie running back (Tarik Cohen) with 53 receptions. The Bears are currently projected to spend 7 million on their draft class which leaves them some wiggle room to add a defensive player prior the start of camp if they choose to give Vic Fangio another toy for that division.
As stated above the Bears needed help at the WR position, and the best way to address that (especially for a 2nd-year quarterback) was in free agency. The Bears added Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton to go along with extending Kyle Long until 2021. With the extension of Long and the signing of Robinson and Gabriel, who will join the returning Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, the Bears are hoping that with all these weapons, Mitch Trubisky can improve on his 59.4 completion percentage. The 1-2 punch of Jordan Howard and Cohen in the backfield gives the Bears a formidable offense and one that is needed to compete with the likes of the Packers, Vikings, and Lions in an ultra-competitive NFL North.
With the offense taken care of, the Bears should look to take care of the defensive side of the ball in the 2018 Draft. Akiem Hicks led the Bears in sacks and they look pretty solid as far as their front seven is concerned. They also have Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller patrolling the outsides and are really missing a playmaking safety, one that has alluded Fangio in his time in Chicago. If they are able to get a player to roam the back-end in the draft that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Rodgers, Stafford, and the newly signed Cousins, the Bears could make some noise in 2018.
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