June 24, 2021


Hub Arkush: Ryan Pace likes making draft day trades. Can he afford to this year?

One of the main reasons the Bears find themselves with serious needs right now is the lack of Day 1 and Day 2 picks the past two drafts because of other deals.

But you never know how things are going to fall, so let’s say general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy are in love with either Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance and, for whatever reason, one of those quarterbacks drops out of the top 10 or 12, and suddenly the cost to move up isn’t life-changing?

Or perhaps even more likely, let’s say all five of the top QBs, three wideouts, offensive tackle Penei Sewell, tight end Kyle Pitts and edge rusher Micah Parsons go in the top 11.

Suddenly the Bears have only eight teams in front of them at No. 20 and think there are franchise tackles, receivers, cornerbacks or safeties on the board that never will last until 20.

What are the possibilities?

Let’s start with the Falcons’ No. 4 pick.

We know QBs are going one, two and three.

Atlanta might take a fourth QB, Sewell or a receiver, but what they really need is pass rush, and the receivers are so deep that a trade down makes a ton of sense.

Since the price tag for the Bears would be in the vicinity of this year’s first- and third-round picks and next year’s first, or possibly their first and second this year and second and third next year, it’s just too rich for a QB that’s a lesser prospect coming out of school than Mitch Trubisky, Carson Wentz or Sam Darnold were.

Most likely, the Falcons will find a different trade partner looking for the fourth QB, and the Bengals will stay at No. 5 for WR Ja’Marr Chase or Sewell.

So let’s go to No. 12, where we know the Eagles are stockpiling picks. The Chargers are up and are near certain to take either the best tackle or cornerback off the board.

The price for the Bears to come up to 12 for, let’s say, OT Christian Darrisaw, CB Patrick Surtain or WR Kadarius Toney could be their first- and second-round picks this year or this year’s one and their two and three next year.

After the Chargers at No. 13, the Vikings will be drooling over tackles, too, and they’re not going to help out the Bears, so we go to No. 15 and a favored draft day trade partner of the Bears, the Patriots.

Unless somehow Jones still is there, you know they’ll look at a deal, and the price to go from 20 to 15 is in the ballpark of the Bears’ first-, third- and one of their four sixth-round picks.

That is the kind of deal where you pull the trigger if there’s a player you had top seven or eight on your board still sitting there regardless of position.

The Cardinals at No. 16 and Raiders at No. 17 both have the same top needs – defensive tackle and cornerback – and a lot of boards don’t have the top defensive tackle in this draft any higher than 20 to 26. Both teams could look to move down.

This is where not having a fourth-round pick would hurt because the Bears’ first- and third-round picks to get to 16 or 17 is a bit rich, but a one, four and six would be about right.

Miami’s and Washington’s needs align fairly closely with the Bears’, so it’s tough to see them swapping spots with them, but let’s take a quick look the other way.

Let’s say the Bears are at 20 and they think tackles, safeties or receivers they like will last another six to 10 spots.

They could get the 26th pick and add another third-round pick by dealing with Cleveland, or let’s say No. 30 and Buffalo’s second-rounder for No. 20 and one of their sixth-rounders.

With the nice work they did with 43 and 50 last year on Cole Kmet and Jaylon Jonson, dealing with the Bills – if Buffalo’s interested of course – and picking at 30, 52 and 61 easily could land starters at left tackle, right tackle and safety or at least one of the tackle spots, safety and maybe add another No. 2 or even a No. 1 receiver.

It’s all just going to depend on how willing Pace is to let the draft come to him, something he’s struggled with in the past.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush is a Bears/NFL Insider for Shaw Media