The Chicago Bears draft is finally on the horizon. GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy prepare for what could be their most important three-day span of the entire year. Thus far the offseason hasn’t done much to sway people on this team’s prospects for 2021. They may have gotten a little better on offense but they also got worse on defense. So not much has changed.
They still look like a team that can tread water at 8-8 unless they find a quarterback. Still, a good draft can point the needle in the right direction. Quarterback will be a focus but there are other positions in play. So here’s an interesting question. Who are some often-discussed players that might be a little overrated or underrated?
Here are a few names to keep in mind for both once the action kicks off and why.
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Chicago Bears draft targets being too hyped or not hyped enough
Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
A lot of people are convinced Farley would be the #1 corner drafted this year if not for his health issues. Having back problems is a major red flag in the NFL. It tends to be something that never truly goes away. Aside from that, he’s not absent of problems though. Constant issues with fundamentals and lack of discipline show up on his tape. His reaction time can be slow to plays in front of him and he’s not the best tackler in the world either. He feels like a player being elevated a bit too much because of his athletic traits.
Kellen Mond (QB, Texas Tech)
He is the most experienced quarterback in the draft and showed incremental improvement every year. His 2020 season was his best as he looked confident and accurate most of the season. That said, he still didn’t come across as all that special. His productivity was average and his passing comes across as overly mechanical rather than natural. To top it off, he doesn’t have a deep passing game to speak of. Mond doesn’t throw deep often and when he does, it rarely achieves great results. That doesn’t sound like somebody this Chicago Bears draft will hone in on.
Terrence Marshall (WR, LSU)
For those of you who may have seen the movie Draft Day, you might remember a nice line from Kevin Costner about a certain player the head coach wanted to draft, “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.” That would be an apt description of Marshall. From a physical perspective? The guy has it all. Size, speed, and athleticism. Yet when looking at his tape and the stats, he tends to leave you wanting more. Recurring concentration issues. A lack of urgency. Too often dismissed by more aggressive corners. He screams underachiever.
Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
Sometimes it’s not what way a receiver runs. It is how he runs. Moore has speed. He is detailed in his route running. Quickness and agility? He has that too. Yet what stands out the most is how much purpose he runs with. Every snap, he’s going 100%. There are no “loafs” in his play as Rod Marinelli used to put it. It doesn’t matter who is covering him. He will find a way to get open and he will catch the football. Then the process will repeat. Forget about the size concerns. That hasn’t stopped many good receivers in the past.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) April 23, 2021
Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB, Syracuse)
Syracuse is more of a basketball school in the eyes of college fans, but every so often they churn out some really good football players. Especially on the defensive side. Keith Bulluck, Dwight Freeney, and Chandler Jones are recent examples. Melifonwu could join that conversation. Size? Speed? Quickness? He has all the traits of a #1 NFL cornerback. He also isn’t afraid to flick that hit stick when the opportunities arise. His instincts are fine. If they improve? He might emerge from this class as one of its two best cornerbacks.
Kyle Trask (QB, Florida)
The vitriol against Trask is a bit over the top at this point. Yes, it’s acknowledged that the guy isn’t a great runner and doesn’t have a howitzer for a right arm. Even so, history suggests NFL quarterbacks who have size and throw accurate passes can have a productive career. Trask fits both categories. He seems to handle the pocket well and shows a natural instinct for where to go with the football. Give him a capable offensive line and he’ll help a team win some football games. Believe it or not, productive QBs come in all shapes and sizes.