By Chris Emma–
(CBS) The noisiest NFL general manager of the bunch, newcomer John Lynch has made many splashes with his words in this pre-draft process.
Lynch might as well be shouting from the rooftop as he announced Wednesday that his 49ers are “open for business” in potentially dealing their No. 2 pick in this upcoming NFL Draft. Lynch went as far as to admit that he has been talking with teams about that possibility.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace will be monitoring this closely as the ripples potentially turn into waves. After all, it was a year ago Thursday the Rams traded two first-rounders, two second-rounds and two third-rounders to the Titans for the No. 1 overall pick. Eight days later, the Eagles traded up to the second slot in the draft, dealing the Browns their No. 8 overall pick, a third- and fourth-round selection in the 2016 draft, plus the 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick.
The common denominator in these two deals was the need for a quarterback, with the Rams moving for Jared Goff and the Eagles landing Carson Wentz. In return, the Browns and Titans were given the opportunity to stockpile young roster depth.
The Bears hold the third pick in this draft after a miserable 3-13 season. They own the chance to upgrade their roster with this great draft value. But will Pace make a move?
Lynch and the 49ers could cause the first domino to fall if they do indeed trade down. Perhaps a quarterback-needy team like the Texans could pull a blockbuster to get the likely first pick of a signal-caller — assuming the Browns aren’t crazy enough to pass on Myles Garrett. A move down by the 49ers would make the Bears’ slot at No. 3 the next one that teams eye to move up.
Pace could catch a team like the Chargers wanting to move up and assure a quarterback to replace Phillip Rivers down the road. Perhaps the Panthers may want to beat the Jaguars to a running back, with LSU’s Leonard Fournette comparing to Adrian Peterson in the minds of many. Or maybe it’s the Jets who fear of missing out on a prized prospect and want to move up three spots.
The Bears could take a quarterback with the third pick or hold out until the third round for that position. This draft is unique with so many potentially elite defensive players available in the top 10. Assuming Garrett is the first player taken, the likes of Jonathan Allen, Solomon Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams are among those heralded defensive players available. Chicago’s budding defense could greatly benefit from any one of those players.
Because of the depth in the top 10, the Bears would love the opportunity to move down several slots to maximize their value.
Adding to the intrigue of this draft is that there aren’t just a couple top quarterback prospects like Goff and Wentz a year ago but instead a foursome ranked differently on draft boards around the league. Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes are all valued as first-round picks who could go in any order. All four could go in the first round, and perhaps Davis Webb could even make it five in the first 32 picks.
This draft presents one of the more interesting classes in recent memory — so loaded at the top and with great mystery surrounding the most prized position. The rookie general manager in San Francisco is already causing ripples with two weeks to go.
Expect the big waves to start churning soon. The Bears are already on the clock.