The Chicago Bears‘ 1st round pick is vital this year. They have done their typically good job at keeping people guessing about their intentions for the NFL draft. GM Ryan Pace has always operated this way. The less people know about his plans, the bigger advantage he’ll have. It seems like the Bears could go in any number of different directions in the 1st round. Many are still convinced the team will target a quarterback. Others believe they’ll focus on offensive tackles. Still others see a skill position player like wide receiver or cornerback being most likely.

All are strong possibilities for various reasons. Quarterback is fairly obvious. Chicago doesn’t have any long-term answer at that most vital of positions. Andy Dalton is their new starter but he has limitations. Giving him some help in the form of more blocking or a shiny, new weapon might be wise. Then there is the loss of Kyle Fuller that can’t be ignored. Adding more talent and depth at corner wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

Knowing this is one thing. Finding out who they might take at either of those positions is another. In such a situation, it’s important to take history into account. Pace is a GM who operates according to specific parameters. Since taking over in 2015, he tends to always target players with high athletic upside in the 1st round. That is why testing numbers can provide invaluable clues as to who they may have in mind a couple of weeks from now.

Likeliest Bears 1st round pick based on testing numbers

Before moving forward, it should be noted that testing data is difficult to gather this year since the scouting combine was canceled. All of this is based on pro day numbers. Quarterbacks will not be included since many of the 1st round names chose to only do throwing drills and not the actual athletic tests. That aside, here are the names Bears fans should have circled on April 29th.

Wide receiver: Kadarius Toney (Florida)
  • 40-yard dash: 4.39 seconds (6th)
  • Vertical jump: 39.5 inches (6th)
  • Broad jump: 136 inches (1st)
  • Three-cone: 6.88 seconds (7th)

Toney has been a Bears 1st round pick in several mock drafts the past month or so. Looking at the numbers? It’s getting easier and easier to see why. The guy is an athletic freak. Fast, explosive, and agile. While not overly big at 5’11, he is the ideal size for the slot where most project him to primarily line up anyway. Remember the Bears are on the cusp of trading Anthony Miller elsewhere. So the timing might line up perfectly as well. Toney would be an athletic upgrade.

Offensive tackle: Samuel Cosmi (Texas)
  • 40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds (2nd)
  • Vertical jump: 30 inches (8th)
  • Broad jump: 117 inches (4th)
  • Three-cone: 7.35 seconds (4th)

Charles Leno Jr. has one year left on his contract. He’s pushing into his 30s now and has never been much more than average during his long stint with the Bears. The timing feels right to find his eventual replacement. Cosmi isn’t getting a lot of 1st round buzz compared to others but his numbers suggest somebody could end up taking a calculated risk on him. At 6’6, he boasts ideal size for the position and is arguably the best overall athlete at his position in the entire draft. Throw in the fact his former head coach at Texas, Tom Herman, now works for the Bears? It’s not a difficult leap.

Cornerback: Greg Newsome (Northwestern)
  • 40-yard dash: 4.37 seconds (2nd)
  • Vertical jump: 40 inches (3rd)
  • Broad jump: 123 inches (9th)

This position was the toughest to gauge because the data was scattered all over the place. It was difficult to compile. After some work though, it became clear that Newsome stood out the most out of any possible cornerback who could be available at #20. His 2020 season was outstanding. Though he only had one interception, his coverage was smothering for long stretches. Size? Speed? Athleticism? He has everything a modern NFL defense could ask for. He and Jaylon Johnson could make a potent combination for years to come.