The Bears endured playoff heartbreak to end their 2018 but with limited draft capital, can the team prevent a similar outcome in 2019?
The Chicago Bears couldn’t have ended their season in more heartbreaking fashion in 2018, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of positives to take away from the season.
First-year head coach Matt Nagy brought the organization back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and with a quarterback and elite edge rusher in place, the Bears find themselves in a good spot.
It’s been a relatively quiet offseason, aside from departed free agents and the Jordan Howard trade with Philadelphia (mostly because of limited cap space and draft capital), but the Bears could still use the 2019 NFL Draft to solidify themselves as an NFC contender for next season.
Just what are you to do with a limited number of picks and several needs still in play? Here’s a look how it could play out:
Barring some unforeseen trades, Bears fans will have to wait a while until their team comes on the board in the 2019 NFL Draft. While I’m sure most are fine with not picking perennially in the top 15 anymore, it does mean that the organization will have to maximize their draft value with limited capital.
One of their most likely targets with their first selection in the third round is an edge rusher and while they’ll miss out on the top names on the board, there are plenty of intriguing developmental players like Oregon’s Jalen Jelks.
Jelks is a long and lean (6-foot-5, 256 pounds) pass rusher who profiles similarly from a physical standpoint to current Bears’ edge rusher Leonard Floyd. Like Floyd, there are concerns about Jelks’ play strength at the next level and it didn’t help that Jelks didn’t test quite as well as some expected at the Combine athletically.
Regardless, there is a lot to work with in Jelks, who shows some flashes on tape when getting after the quarterback, and the Bears can afford to be patient with an already-stout pass rush. Floyd is slated to hit free agency after the season and Jelks could be a nice player to develop and potentially take over his role long-term if Chicago is unable to keep him.