General Manager Ryan Poles, coach Matt Eberfluss and their staff could spend their first draft night with the Chicago Bears.
The Bears do not have a first-round draft pick after former general manager Ryan Pace moved on to quarterback Justin Fields last year. So unless the Poles engineer another trade, the Bears will spend the night appearing to the board and plotting their day 2 moves, which include two second-round picks and a third-rounder.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s draft.
When and where is the NFL Draft?
Round 1 will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. CT, followed by Round 2-3 Friday at 6 p.m. and Round 4-7 Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.
Las Vegas – originally scheduled to host in 2020 before COVID-19 made the draft a virtual experience – gained the stage this year. And it will be a visual show, with Stripe anchoring the events and a red-carpet stage at the Fountain of Bellagio.
The main stage for the draft is next to the Kaiser Forum and behind the High Roller observation wheel.
Parts of the Strip will be closed to vehicular traffic, which is a big deal in Vegas – usually reserved for New Year’s Eve and city marathons.
When do bears pick?
As it stands, Bear has the following selections:
- Round 2: No. 39
- Second Round: No. 48
- Third Round: No. 71
- 5th round: No. 148
- 5th Round: No. 150
- Sixth Round: No. 186
How can I watch – or stream – all rounds?
The draft will take place Thursday-Saturday on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Rich Eisen leads the NFL Network team, which includes Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, Ian Rapoport, Melissa Stark, and more.
For the first two nights on ABC, Res Davis, Todd McShae, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Sam Ponder, Jesse Palmer, Suzy Kolber, Laura Routledge and Robert Griffin III will be among analysts and reporters covering the event. Mike Greenberg, Mel Kipper Jr., Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland and Chris Mortensen will lead ESPN coverage. The ESPN broadcast will air Saturday on ABC.
Kipper, a 61-year-old analyst who has been involved in ESPN’s draft coverage every year since 1984, will be working from his Maryland home because he hasn’t been vaccinated. NFL reporter Adam Schefter will not cover the draft as he attends his son’s college graduation.
What do fake drafts say about bears?
Most analysts agree that the Bears need offensive linemen, wide receivers and cornerbacks the most as soon as the Poles enter the first draft.
In Brad Biggs’ first Tribune mock draft, he suggested the Bears might pick Alabama cornerback Josh Jobe and wide receiver John Machi III, along with their second-round picks. Biggs’ second mock draft sent Tulsa’s offensive tackle Tyler Smith and Florida’s Coward alum for the Bears in the second round. Check back this week for Biggs’ third mock draft.
In ESPN’s three-round mock draft, Kipper and McShae asked the Bears to take on Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green, Elam, and Kentucky defensive end Josh Pascal.
What have the Bears done with their roster this off-season?
Some of the most notable moves the Poles made in their low-key first few months were letting go of former Bears players. He traded Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, let Alan Robinson, Akim Hicks, James Daniels and Bilal Nichols into free agency, and released Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Tariq Cohen.
After the Larry Ogunjobi deal was terminated due to a failed physical, the Poles’ biggest extras are center Lucas Patrick, defensive tackle Justin Jones, defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, wide receiver Byron Pringle, linebacker Nicolas Morrow and backup quarterback Trevor Simian. . But GM still has a lot of roster spots to fill.
Read all about Bear’s moves so far here.
What have the beer done in the last few drafts?
This will be the third time in four years that the Bears have not taken a first-round pick.
Paes relinquished the pick last year to bring Fields to No. 11 and was also traded to take on the offensive tackle Teven Jenkins at No. 39. Pace also traded the Bears’ first round of picks in 2019 and 2020 to acquire Mack.
The Bears’ top picks in 2020 were second-rounders Cole Kemmett and Jaylon Johnson, along with fifth-rounders Darnell Mooney, Travis Gipson and Kindle Wildor. In 2019, the Bears’ first pick was third-rounder David Montgomery, and the only other player in that five-man class with the Bears is cornerback Duke Shelley.
Before that, linebacker Rokan Smith, quarterback Mitch Trubisky, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and wide receiver Kevin White were the first four-round picks of the paces. Smith, the number 8 pick in 2018, is the only one of those four still with the team.
Any locals expected to be drafted?
There are some – but mostly in the later period. Here are some prominent names to look out for. (Consensed estimates based on a seven-round mock draft by Athletic, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com and The Sporting News)
- s Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame, first round
- DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma (Lake Park), 1st-3rd
- WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati (Glenbard West), 2nd-4th
- S. Kerby Joseph, Illinois, 3rd-5th
- DT John Ridgeway, Arkansas (Bloomington), 3rd-6th
- RB Kieran Williams, Notre Dame, 4th-5th
- WR Kevin Austin, Notre Dame, 4th-7th
- QB Jack Coen, Notre Dame, 4th-7th
- LB Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin (Lake Zurich), 4th-7th
- OT Vaderian Lowe, Illinois (Rockford Auburn), 5th-7th
- C Doug Kramer, Illinois (Hinsdale Central), 7th-FA
- LB Jake Hansen, Illinois, 7th-FA
- P Blake Hayes, Illinois, 7th-FA
- De Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Notre Dame, 7th-FA
- OT Andrew Rupsich, Culver-Stockton (McHenry), 7th-FA
Has the draft now become ‘normal’?
COVID-19 disrupted the drafting process in the last two years.
In 2020, the NFL and its teams conducted the draft virtually, with general managers and coaches working from home. In the pre-draft process last year, the NFL canceled the Scouting Combine and no longer allowed potential visits in person. Teams were allowed to draft back in their facilities, but there were some restrictions for teams that did not have fully immunized staff.
This year, the process has mostly returned to normal. Combine and in-person prospect visits returned, and the NFL lifted its COVID-19 restrictions in March. Barring an outbreak, the Bears should be able to work as usual from their draft room in Halas Hall.
Want to know anything else?
Here are some fun NFL Draft facts with a Chicago angle:
- Chicago hosted the festivals in 1938, 1942–43, 1951, 1962–64 and 2015-16. Prior to 2015, the draft was held in New York. But after Chicago, Draft Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville, Tenn. and has traveled to Cleveland.
- The University of Chicago halfback was the first player selected in the NFL Draft. 1 on February 8, 1936, the Eagles picked Jay Berwanger during a nine-round event at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia. Berwanger won the inaugural Heisman Trophy and Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the best player in the Big Ten when the Maroons were a member of the Conference. But he never played Down in the NFL.