Bears find value in the NFL Draft despite a dearth of picks
Running Back | Iowa State | 5’11” | 222 lbs.
Round 3, Pick 10 (RB4)
Summary: The fourth running back taken in the draft but the second-highest rated RB among NFL scouts. At the time of selection, he was clearly the best back available with the traits to trust in a potential three-down role. In 2017 and 2018, he finished with 1146 yds & 11 TDs then topped it with 1216 & 13. On tape, he showed the ability to grow as a receiver out of the backfield. Montgomery’s best performance came in 2017 in the form of 36 receptions for 296 yards. In my pre-draft article where I broke down the top running backs, I said David Montgomery will perform if his NFL team gives him the opportunity to. This seems to be that opportunity.
What to expect: Montgomery is the ideal upgrade over Jordan Howard in terms of an early-down back. He’s shiftier, faster, and a better receiver. He will start right away. Don’t expect him to affect Tarik Cohen’s role, though. Montgomery can catch but he’s not quite on the level of Tarik when it comes to speed and receiving ability.
Wide Receiver | Georgia | 6’1” | 199 lbs.
Round 4, Pick 24 (WR15)
Summary: A budding prospect who has had eyes on him since he broke out in the 2017 National Title Game against Alabama. Ridley is a pristine route-runner that’s been called the best in his class by many scouts. His numbers don’t exactly jump off the page because the Georgia offense isn’t built for wide receivers. His talent is there and should continue to get even better with each year that he plays in the NFL.
What to expect: Look for Riley Ridley to develop into the long-term solution to take over the Taylor Gabriel role.
Cornerback | Kansas State | 5’9” | 180 lbs.
Round 6, Pick 33 (CB26)
Summary: Shelley was a leader in the Kansas State secondary that unfortunately had his senior year cut short due to injury. He plays above his size as he averaged over five tackles per game before his injury. His size says he’s a slot corner but played primarily on the outside during his career. The NFL’s draft page didn’t even have a scouting report on him and I couldn’t understand why. Every time he gets tested, he doesn’t disappoint. He flies all over the screen whether it’s to lay out for a pass deflection or help in run support. During his time at KSU, he turned eight picks into two touchdowns. He looks like he belongs in the Bears defense. In 2018, he was named to the Second All-Big 12 Team by the coaches and First Team by Pro Football Focus.
What to expect: Duke Shelley has a real chance to compete for the job that Bryce Callahan left behind. Although he played on the outside, the nickle or dime CB spot is his best chance to break into the lineup. He added kick returns to his game in 2018 so he serves more than one purpose.
Kerrith Whyte Jr.
Running Back | Florida Atlantic | 5’10” | 197 lbs.
Round 7, Pick 8 (RB23)
Summary: Whyte’s primary job was to be a change of pace for third round pick, Devin Singletary. Even in relief, Whyte still managed to produce 866 yards and 8 TDs via 6.5 yards per carry. He was only allowed 55 carries in 2017 but maintained an efficient 6.3 YPC. Kerrith Whyte mostly made a name for himself on special teams. Last year, Whyte finished with an incredible 28.7 average on 19 returns following a 2017 season where he amassed 1,002 return yards. His speed and short-area quickness is clearly evident on screen.
What to expect: He’s built more like a wide receiver so he won’t threaten Montgomery or Tarik Cohen for early-down work. Interestingly enough, his height and weight are identical to Taquan Mizzell’s whose job is most in jeopardy here. If he truly impresses, Whyte can even supplant Cordarrelle Patterson as the gadget guy.
Cornerback | Valdosta State | 6’3” | 220 lbs.
Round 7, Pick 24 (CB31)
Summary: Stephen Denmark is a DI man amongst DII boys. There are plays where it looks like Julio Jones is lining up at CB against high school kids. Denmark is a corner with the build of Kam Chancellor but is actually a recently converted wide receiver. I can’t remember the last time I saw a DB force a WR out of bounds with the ease of Denmark but the level of competition is far from NFL level. However, Stephen Denmark possesses all the intangibles: height, a natural blend of size and speed, plus a very evident willingness to hit.
What to expect: If he makes the team, he’ll be a project. He’s a newly minted defensive back so I wouldn’t exactly trust him to guard Stefon Diggs just yet. The speed paired with the infatuation of laying guys out may dictate the route that Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron took - safeties turned linebacker.
Wide Receiver | Missouri | 6’2” | 201 lbs.
Undrafted free agent
Summary: Emanuel Hall is a field-stretcher that worked as Drew Lock’s primary receiver over the last two seasons. He’s getting mentioned as an undrafted free agent signing because some expected him to go as high as the fourth round. That’s the definition of a potential steal. He’s not the type to command many targets but he makes the most of what he gets. In each of the last two seasons, Hall ranked second nationally with 24.8 and 22.4 YPC. Hall is 6’2” but still managed to run a 4.39 in the 40 yard dash. His lack of a defined route tree is the most likely cause for his tumble.
What to expect: I’m rooting for Emmanuel Hall to make this team. Mitch Trubisky doesn’t have a target like him in the receiving corps. Allen Robinson is big but not as fast. Marvin Hall and Taylor Gabriel are fast, but not as big. Riley Ridley and Anthony Miller are the intricate route-runners. Patterson is his size but works best with hand-offs and creating yards after the catch. Every team needs a guy that can bail them out in a desperate situation.