CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Bears don’t have any first-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, which will start Thursday and be conducted entirely remotely. Their 2020 pick now belongs to the Las Vegas Raiders, as part of the Khalil Mack trade. The Bears also gave up this year’s third-round pick in the deal.
While Chicago will remain quiet Thursday evening, barring a trade, they’ll be active early Friday evening, when they have two second-round picks. Those picks will come at 43 (from Las Vegas) and 50. (The team has seven picks overall, with the remaining five in the last three rounds.) From those spots, they’ll try to fill some of the holes not addressed in free agency. Positions of interest include wide receiver, offensive line and secondary. The holes they fill will depend, in large part, on what players remain on the board. The NFL Draft is always very fluid, and coronavirus limitations won’t change that.READ MORE: First Illinois Case Of Omicron COVID-19 Variant Confirmed In Chicago Resident
The Bears have found productive starters in the second round on many occasions. After all, Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, 2010s All-Decade Team kick returner Devin Hester and two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte were all second-rounders who had stellar careers in Chicago. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman and center Cody Whitehair, the Bears’ best second-round picks of the last decade who still remain with the team, may eventually join that all-timers list.
The Bears drafted Eddie Goldman out of Florida St. with the 39th pick of the 2015 draft. He moved into the starting lineup early in his rookie year and has remained there ever since. A huge defensive tackle — 6’3″, 318 pounds — Goldman plays the run well and can get up field in the pass rush. He is capable of making plays rather than simply occupying blockers for the play-makers around him.READ MORE: New IL Laws To Protect Sex Crime Victims' Privacy Take Effect Jan. 1
Goldman’s stats will never match his teammates’ on the Bears defense. Nor do his 29 tackles and one sack in 2019 (down from 40 tackles and three sacks in 2018) accurately represent his value to the team. He’s a big reason why the Bears have become one of the NFL’s better defenses. And the team has recognized that, re-signing him to a $42 million contract before the 2018 season and making him one of the league’s highest-paid nose tackles at the time.
Cody Whitehair is another of the Bears’ best second-round picks of the last decade. Chicago selected him out of Kansas St. with the 56th pick of the 2016 draft. Whitehair played guard and tackle in college, but moved to center in preseason of his rookie year. He’s started every single game of his four seasons in the NFL (most of them at center), which is an accomplishment for any player, let alone an interior offensive lineman.
Following his 2018 Pro Bowl season, the Bears extended Whitehair’s contract, adding five years and $52.5 million in the process. And in this year’s draft, they’ll look to solidify an offensive line unit that has under-performed at times. If Whitehair (and Goldman) are any indication, they may find that player in the second round.MORE NEWS: Omicron COVID Variant: What Chicago Health Officials Are Telling People What To Expect
The NFL Draft begins Thursday evening at 7:00 pm CT. But the Bears won’t pick until the second round, which begins Friday evening at 6:00 pm CT.