The latest Chicago Bears 2021 mock draft is about exploring possibilities. What haven’t we seen from this GM before? Ryan Pace has remained fairly consistent in his approach since taking over in 2015. Thus far it hasn’t yielded the results he was likely hoping for. So perhaps this is the year he decides to shake things up. One thing he’s yet to try?

Moving down in the 1st round.

It’s not a foolproof plan by any stretch of the imagination. Between 1996 and 2003, the Bears actually did it in the 1st round four times. The results they got were a mixed bag, to say the least. Moving down to acquire more picks sounds great, but it also comes at the cost of possibly missing out on a really good prospect. This is why Pace has never done it.

So how might it go down if that approach suddenly changed?

Chicago Bears 2021 mock draft is serving multiple masters

*Trade: Bills trade #30 and 2nd round pick to Bears for #20 (Caleb Farley)

1st Round (#30 via BUF) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Wide receiver is a much bigger concern than people care to admit. For 2021 they seem to be okay with Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney as their primary two guys. It’s looking ahead where things get dicey. Robinson is on the franchise tag and unlikely to secure a long-term deal. Anthony Miller is on the trade block as well. The Bears don’t really have anybody on the roster to build with besides Mooney.

Adding Bateman here makes perfect sense. He’s got all the tools a team looks for including size, strength, good hands, and solid speed. His route running has steadily improved too. It feels like he’s still learning how to play like an alpha. Once he puts it all together, he can be a legitimate #1 receiver. His floor though is a solid #2. A good possession guy to compliment Mooney’s speed.

2nd Round (#52) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Eric Stokes is the Georgia cornerback getting the most attention. Not a huge surprise when the guy is 6’1 and can run with 4.2 speed. He’s an athletic freak and a solid football player already. That is why he will be the first off the board. This despite an undercurrent of experts who believe his teammate Campbell is actually the better player. He too has good size and fluid athleticism. His problems mostly stem from occasional hiccups in fundamentals.

Chicago lost a good one when they were forced to release Kyle Fuller. Their pass coverage is worse for it. Jaylon Johnson should continue to improve but beyond him is nothing but questions. Desmond Trufant is 31 and a health hazard. Kindle Vildor is unproven. Artie Burns and Tre Roberson are coming off season-ending injuries. This team needs more depth at that position.

2nd Round (#61 via BUF) – Davis Mills, QB, Stanford

Russell Wilson was always a long shot. Drafting a QB in the 1st round seems less and less likely too with the widespread belief the top 5 guys could be gone by the end of the first 10 picks. That means this Bears 2021 mock draft must be practical. If they want a young quarterback, it must be of the developmental variety. Somebody with a high upside who would benefit a great deal from sitting behind Andy Dalton for a year.

Mills fits that description perfectly. Size? Arm strength? He has both. Not to mention some underrated athleticism. His field processor is quick and he demonstrates the vision to find holes in coverages down the middle. He’s just not ready. The guy only started 11 games at Stanford due to injuries and the pandemic. There are several mechanical issues that need cleaning up. The building blocks are there though.

3rd Round (#83) – Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa

Offensive tackle has similar concerns to wide receiver. Not only are there some talent deficiencies, but long-term security is also a problem. Both Charles Leno and Germain Ifedi will likely be free agents in 2022. Chicago has nobody on the roster ready to replace them if that time comes. Adding a capable body to prepare for that eventuality would be a wise decision.

Let this be known. If Brown were coming from a bigger school, he’d probably be gone by the 2nd round at least. He is a mountain of a human being with good power and mobility. His technique isn’t too bad and improving as well. This guy has the look of a future 10-year starter at right tackle who will be an instant asset in the running game.

5th Round (#164) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State

Pace always loves to add defensive prospects around the middle rounds. Usually they turn out pretty good too. Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, and Bilal Nichols are such examples. Wilson has a chance to do the same. He has the physical tool. Good size and power to go along with quickness and violent hands. What he needs to learn is how to better anchor against the run and hold vs. double teams. Something the Bears can definitely teach him.

6th Round (#204) – Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Like David Montgomery? You’ll probably like Patterson too. The Buffalo running back has the same sort of contact balance and running temperament as the Bears starter. He was insanely productive during his final season with over 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns in just six games. Teammates and coaches rave about his work ethic and competitive streak. The question with his is his lack of a second speed gear and unproven track record catches passes.

6th Round (#221) – Robert Jones, OL, Middle Tennessee

Chicago showed interest in Jones at the Senior Bowl and it isn’t hard to see why. In terms of size, power, and nastiness? He looks like a classic NFL guard. His athleticism in pass protection certainly checks out. The issues with him aren’t hard to figure out. He wasn’t tested against top competition at Middle Tennessee and also has questions about his fundamentals. Something Juan Castillo will have to get fixed.

6th Round (#228) – Tariq Thompson, DB, San Diego State

This may not be the starter acquisition that some fans were hoping for, but Thompson has ability. He’s one of those hybrid types of defensive backs who can play both safety and nickel corner thanks to his quickness and awareness. His ball skills were consistently good, proving he has a nose for the football. He’s rarely caught out of position. Provided a team doesn’t leave him in man coverage too often, he can make plays.