With clear question marks at the quarterback position and a projected top-three draft pick, the Bears should have the chance to groom a young passer for the future. And North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky should be on the short list of candidates for Chicago.
The redshirt junior checks boxes for his size and arm strength and is an outstanding athlete, which shows when maneuvering the pocket and scrambling for extra yards.
Trubisky makes smart, efficient decisions, but the main concern for NFL teams is the lack of starting experience on his resume. While it is rare for a quarterback with only one season of starting experience in college to be drafted in the first round, Trubisky is one of the exceptions.
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett , DE, Texas A&M: The Browns have needs all over the roster and unless they fall in love with a quarterback, this pick needs to be the best talent in the draft, which is Garrett.
2. San Francisco 49ers
DeShone Kizer , QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish : If the front office and coaching situations remain the same, there is a good chance this pick is a quarterback, but which one? Kizer has the skill-set that fits what Chip Kelly wants to do and has a very high ceiling.
3. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Unless Jay Cutler changes the narrative in 2016, the Bears would be wise to invest in a long-term option at quarterback if a prospect like Trubisky is available.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Malik McDowell , DT, Michigan State Spartans : Jacksonville has invested heavily in the defensive line, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jaguars do so again if a talent like McDowell is available for them.
5. New York Jets
Deshaun Watson , QB, Clemson Tigers : Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are likely not on the roster next season. Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg were both drafted by this regime, but Watson offers considerably more upside.
6. Carolina Panthers
Marlon Humphrey , CB, Alabama Crimson Tide : Carolina has several questions marks on its cornerback depth chart, but adding Humphrey, who is NFL-ready right now, would help change that.
7. San Diego Chargers
Jabrill Peppers , SS, Michigan Wolverines : Peppers might not be a clear prototype for a traditional position, but his athleticism, toughness and ball awareness will make a defensive adjust their scheme around his strengths.
8. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)
Jonathan Allen , DE, Alabama: Tennessee Volunteers has a strong defensive line, but Allen can help take the unit to another level. His versatility and savvy skills will win over NFL coaching staffs.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jamal Adams , SS, LSU: The Buccaneers addressed the secondary in the first round of last year’s draft, but need more help, especially at safety where Adams would be an upgrade over Chris Conte .
10. New Orleans Saints
Tim Williams , OLB, Alabama: The Saints struggled to consistently pressure the opponent’s backfield last year and didn’t do much to upgrade the issue over the offseason. Williams would change that.
11. Green Bay Packers
Leonard Fournette , RB, LSU Tigers : The Packers haven’t drafted a running back in the top 60 picks since 1990, and it goes against what Ted Thompson usually does in the first round. But the Green Bay roster is void of playmakers, and Fournette is the type of prospect worth bucking the trend.
12. Indianapolis Colts
Malik Hooker , FS, Ohio State Buckeyes : Only a redshirt sophomore, Hooker is inexperienced and it shows on his game tape. But the film also shows an instinctive, rangy ballhawk with a very high football ceiling.
13. Buffalo Bills
Mike Williams , WR, Clemson: With Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods hitting free agency after this season and Sammy Watkins unable to stay healthy, Williams would give the Bills much needed help on the wide receiver depth chart.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
Teez Tabor , CB, Florida Gators : Although the Steelers addressed cornerback in the first round this past draft, that shouldn’t stop them from doing so again to help a spotty secondary. Tabor has the aggressive ball skills and athleticism to start early in the NFL.
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster , ILB, Alabama: Linebacker Rey Maualuga is a serviceable player, but Foster would be an instant upgrade with his combination of play speed, instincts and violence.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Quincy Wilson , CB, Florida: The Cardinals have one of the best cornerbacks in the league with Patrick Peterson , but the rest of the corner depth chart is questionable. Wilson has the size and athletic traits for the position that scouts love.
17. Tennessee Titans
John Ross , WR, Washington Huskies : The Titans have plenty of bodies on the wide receiver depth chart, but no true difference-maker. Ross has elite speed, but it is his polish routes that allow him to create separation and make plays.
18. Miami Dolphins
Derek Barnett , DE, Tennessee: The Dolphins need to get younger on the edges and Barnett is NFL-ready right now. The Tennessee product might not be twitched up, but his ability to penetrate the backfield will earn him early grades.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Sidney Jones , CB, Washington: The Browns’ secondary has been routinely torched this season with upgrades needed across the board. Jones has the instincts, ball skills and fluid athleticism that transitions well to the NFL.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Desmond King , CB, Iowa Hawkeyes : The Eagles are very thin at cornerback on the depth chart, especially with Nolan Carroll on a one-year deal. King might not be the biggest or fastest, but he is instinctive with natural cover skills.
21. Baltimore Ravens
JuJu Smith-Schuster , WR, Southern California Trojans : Baltimore shouldn’t give up on 2015 first-rounder Breshad Perriman , but he shouldn’t stop the organization from drafting an impact receiver if available — like Smith-Schuster.
22. Detroit Lions
Solomon Thomas , DE, Stanford Cardinal : With Devin Taylor possibly hitting free agency after the season, the Lions could be looking to add a defensive end opposite Ziggy Ansah. Thomas has the powerful and athletic skill-set that allows him to be effective vs. the run and as a pass rusher.
23. New York Giants
Taco Charlton , DE, Michigan: With Jason Pierre-Paul on a one-year deal, defensive end is a possible need this offseason. Charlton, who has some traits reminiscent of Justin Tuck , has all the ingredients of a NFL starter.
24. Seattle Seahawks
Dan Feeney , OG, Indiana Hoosiers : The Seahawks have several question marks up and down the offensive line and Seattle will likely still be looking for answers in next year’s draft. Feeney at guard would allow last year’s first-rounder Germain Ifedi to kick out to tackle.
25. Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris , DE, Missouri Tigers : The Falcons’ pass rush has been sporadic this season and hasn’t lived up to the vision of head coach Dan Quinn. Harris has the edge quickness and burst to capture the edge and give blockers trouble.
26. Washington Redskins
Dalvin Cook , RB, Florida State Seminoles : The Redskins have been a pass-heavy team this season and need to make upgrades at running back to achieve better balance. Cook is a playmaker with special skills and is an absolute steal this late.
27. Houston Texans
Cam Robinson , OT, Alabama: The Texans have been hurting on the offensive line and unfortunately the 2017 class doesn’t look like a strong group. However, Robinson has starting ability and first-round skills if his off-field checks out.
28. Denver Broncos
Zach Cunningham , ILB, Vanderbilt Commodores : Denver locked up Brandon Marshall long-term at linebacker, but more depth is needed. Cunningham is easy to overlook on a below average Vanderbilt squad, but he is the real deal.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Cordrea Tankersley , CB, Clemson: Marcus Peters is a stud and Steven Nelson looks like a promising building block on the Chiefs’ cornerback depth chart. But there are questions after that, and Tankersley fits what Kansas City wants at the position with his physical, press-man skills.
30. Oakland Raiders
Jarrad Davis , OLB, Florida: The Raiders have invested several high picks in the front seven and should again if Oakland has a chance to draft an impact middle linebacker. Davis should win a starting role in training camp as a rookie.
31. Dallas Cowboys
O.J. Howard , TE, Alabama: Future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Witten continues to defy the aging process. But regardless of his status, the Cowboys haven’t been shy about drafting tight ends early like Martellus Bennett (2008) and Gavin Escobar (2013), who were both second-round picks. And with Escobar in the final year of his contract, Howard would mark the future of the position for the franchise.
32. New England Patriots
Christian McCaffrey , RB, Stanford: Whether used in the backfield or the slot, McCaffrey gives a versatile Patriots offense more options. His intelligence and athleticism are a combination New England will appreciate more than some other clubs.