Ryan Pace said that, “if Marcus Mariota is on the board at #7, I won't be afraid to take him.”
Now that most of the free agents are no longer available, the draft picture has become more clear for the Bears and Ryan Pace. Depending on how the board falls, the Bears will have to deal with a number of possible situations that may arise on day one. The Bears could be in a position to trade back or pick between players they didn't expect to be there. The possibilities are endless when it comes to picking in the top 10.
The most proven and effective method is picking solely off the top of the big board, or simply put: best player available. The Bears have a number of needs on both offense and defense, so targeting a specific position could possibly limit their draft choices dramatically. All signs point to best player available for the Bears at seven, and with the large number of talented edge rushers and wide receivers, an OLB or WR seems like the most sensible pick.
Pace hasn't given any indication of what the Bears will do with their pick, but he has said some interesting things about certain well known prospects in the upcoming draft
“we’ve done enough research on him that I think he’s a good quarterback. That system doesn’t scare me away from it at all,” said Pace on Tuesday in Arizona regarding Mariota.
Even with Cutler on the roster, Mariota at seven is a possibility. The chances of him falling to the Bears are incredibly thin, with six other teams all with quarterback issues picking ahead of them. If he's on the board at seven, and Bears have him higher on their big board than other prospects it's a good chance he'll be the pick.
The interviews the Bears have conducted give us a small window into their thought process. Danny Shelton, a nose tackle out of Washington, has had two interviews with the Bears. Shelton makes a lot of sense at seven, but he would break away from picking the best available talent. Shelton would be a reach according to most draft experts.
As I alluded to earlier, the edge rushers and wide receiver come at a premium in this draft. Potentially seven of the first ten picks could be either one of the two positions, and both provide the most elite level talent of any position. Names like Amari Cooper, Dante Fowler, and Vic Beasly are household names to college football fans and are almost guaranteed to be top 10 picks. The Bears could reach for a position, but the safest bet is to pick from the crop of transcending level talents at WR or OLB.
Pace has options. The Bears in previous years have been stuck in middle first round limbo, where they don't have the luxury of picking best player available every time. Bears can truly get an impact player, if they draft correctly
All signs point to the Bears drafting the best player available in next months draft.