TRADE: Chicago sends their 2022 sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a 2022 sixth-round pick and seventh-round pick.
7. Sixth Round via trade with PHI: Kenderick Duncan Jr, S, Louisville
Soft. That’s a nice way of describing the Chicago Bears secondary from a year ago, and believe me, that’s not something I want to say, but the proof is in the pudding. The Bears need to get faster and more violent as a unit. That’s why, thanks to Philadelphia, Chicago grabs an enforcer for the strong safety position in Kenderick Duncan Jr from Louisville.
At 6’3″ 225, he is more of a box linebacker/run-stopping safety, which is what the Chicago Bears need at this point. He can drop into coverage, but his best work is stopping the run and forcing the quarterback to make mistakes. Matt Eberflus prides on his defense creating turnovers, and with Duncan going after the run, it will force quarterbacks to make more panic-driven throws.
His coverage skills need refining, and his aggression may need to be tuned as well, given how hard he hits and how physical he gets with wide receivers. Still, he fits the bill of what the Bears need and could compete for a starting job sooner than later if he improves his craft.
8. Sixth Round via trade with LAC through DEN: Cade Mays, OG/C, Tennessee
Last season, Trey Smith, a Tennessee offensive lineman with excellent ability, slipped in the draft and eventually became a star with Kansas City. Now, Ryan Poles gets the opportunity to do the same thing again, this time with the Bears, by going back to the Volunteer pipeline and grabbing Smith’s teammate Cade Mays, another offensive lineman.
It cannot be stressed enough that Justin Fields must be protected at all costs and needs weapons. Among all the players in the draft, Mays has the potential to be the biggest steal, and the Bears will take whatever they can to make sure Fields has toughness and aggression defending him on every snap.
At 6’6″ 325, Mays can be a perfect guard or center that can control the line of scrimmage and dictate the game. Like Smith, he has excellent upper body strength, but his quickness needs refining. Also, his aggression may hurt him if he’s not careful. But, having said all of that, if he’s there, the Bears need to put him on their roster for the future and watch him build into a Pro-Bowl caliber player.
9. Sixth Round via trade with CLE: Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
This was the initial Chicago Bears pick, but they move down with Cleveland and pick up a seventh-rounder that they again choose to move. But more on that later. For now, Chicago is looking for diamonds in the rough and players who can come in and shake things up just a bit. This time, Chicago takes a player from the state that houses their rivals.
Wisconsin linebacker Jack Sanborn is a typical badger player. Used strength more than speed, but gets very physical and commands respect. Those are checked off the list. Additionally, he was productive. Again, another check off the list. Lastly, he can cover and get to the quarterback, evidenced by five sacks. The boxes are filled.
However, he needs to get faster. His speed is good for the Big Ten, but the NFL is a much quicker game. In truth, he may be used in pass-rush situations to start, but given that he can play coverage to some degree, a few tweaks and reshaping his technique may be enough to get him on the field sooner than later.