The Crusader Newspaper Group

Chicago Bears address needs in the 2020 NFL Draft

By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Writer

From Thursday, April 23, through Saturday, April 25, the Chicago Bears addressed several positions of need in the 2020 NFL Draft.

And due to COVID-19, this marked the first time in Bears history that the draft was executed remotely via virtual reality.

Here is what experts had to say about the team upgrading at both the tight end position and defensive back position during the draft.

In Round 2 with pick No. 43 in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected Cole Kmet, tight end out the University of Notre Dame.

Here is ESPN’s take on Kmet: The Bears had the least productive group of tight ends in the NFL last season. Kmet was the consensus best tight end in the 2020 draft class, but he finished with only 60 career catches for 691 yards and six touchdowns. Still, Kmet figures to have an ample role on offense, along with free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham, who received a two-year deal with $9 million guaranteed. The Bears just released veteran free-agent Trey Burton, and former 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen seemed like a long shot to make the final roster. Look for veteran Demetrius Harris to also be one of Chicago’s top three tight ends with Graham and Kmet. General manager Ryan Pace entered the new league year determined to overhaul the position, and the selection of Kmet puts an exclamation point on that endeavor.

In addition to Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bears used Round 2 and the 50th overall pick to select Jaylon Johnson, a solid cornerback out of the University of Utah.

According to ESPN, Johnson is strong in press coverage and will fill a glaring need for the Bears after releasing veteran Prince Amukamara following the 2019 season. Johnson played all of last year with a torn labrum in his right shoulder but was still a second-team All-American who left college with seven career interceptions and 21 pass breakups.

Johnson is a longer cornerback (6-foot) who will be asked to play a lot of man coverage in Chicago’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Cornerback is a premium position in the NFL. Six cornerbacks came off the board in the first round. The Bears couldn’t afford to wait until Day 3 to find a starting-caliber cornerback. Johnson has injury concerns, but he will be given every opportunity to start as a rookie opposite Kyle Fuller.

In conclusion, here are the additional picks made by the Bears in rounds 5 through 7 in the NFL Draft:

Round 5, No. 155 overall: Trevis Gipson, DE/OLB, Tulsa.

Round 5, No. 163 overall: Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern.

Round 5, No. 173 overall: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane.

Round 7, No. 226 overall: Arlington Hambright, OL, Colorado.

Round 7, No. 227 overall: Lachavious Simmons, OT, Tennessee State.

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