As the heat of the 2020 NFL offseason subsides, a lot of time has passed to sit down and reflect on the Bears’ journey in this year’s draft.
Gathering generally favorable reviews given their lack of significant project capital, Chicago was able to meet almost every need they had on their list with their selections. With their three fifth round picks particularly appreciated, the overall talent of the team should be able to contribute to some extent in the immediate future.
Whatever their future, recruits will have to carve out some kind of role in their first year in the league. This could be a challenge for a team with a small opening lineup, but there should be some chance that most of the Bears’ draft picks will contribute immediately.
To predict how each of its recruits could do this coming year, let’s try to predict the statistics lines for each of the Bears’ recruits in 2020.
Kmet faces a steep hill to climb in order to set up a stellar rookie year.
For starters, tight ends experience historic difficulties during their first seasons. Only two tight ends have received more than 600 yards in their rookie campaigns in the past 17 years. This alone should hurt Kmet’s chances of increasing production, but taking into account Jimmy Graham’s presence could do more damage.
That said, don’t panic if the second-round pick doesn’t come on immediately in the Chicago offense. Such a seamless transition to the NFL is incredibly rare for his position, so his rookie production may not be so sexy.
Prediction: 14 games and 4 starts; 24 receptions, 206 yards, 3 TDs
Unlike Kmet, Johnson is in a position where he can immediately have an immediate impact.
Not only is Johnson arguably more polite in his position than Kmet is, but the Utah cornerback faces less competition for immediate representation. It is by far the best option to start at the corner corner corner position, as Kevin Toliver, Artie Burns and Tre Roberson do not have Johnson’s high ceiling.
There may be a chance that Johnson will not become the starter for Week 1, but even if that happens, he will likely lock out the starting role at the start of the year. His physical, fluid and intelligent playing style should translate to a higher level, and that should see him produce during his rookie year.
Prediction: 16 games and 14 starts; 55 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU
When the Bears chose Gipson, they certainly had their future plans in mind.
A long-term athlete with excellent physical tools and a high engine, Gipson has a high cap for a fifth round pick and could fight for a starting position in a few years. In the meantime, however, he will fight Barkevious Mingo for shots as the team’s best reserve edge rusher. Mingo will likely take on more reps to begin with, given his experience in the league, but Gipson is expected to play some sort of role in defending the Bears in 2020.
His stats won’t jump from the page when playing behind Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, but Gipson should have a chance to prove himself as a first-year pass defender.
Prediction: 14 games and 1 start; 15 tackles, 2.5 bags, 3 TFL
Vildor is planning a good physical nickelback in the Chicago defense who should be able to compete for a starting role when Buster Skrine’s time with the team ends.
However, the former Georgia Southern may find it difficult to find significant playing time in his rookie year. Being a replacement will limit his playing time, but he also faces tough competition from getting backup slot machine representatives to Duke Shelley. Vildor’s chances of seeing the field could potentially increase if the Bears planned to use it as a cornerback to support Kyle Fuller, but his slot machine projection means that 2020 could see much of his production come in special teams.
Ryan Pace doesn’t tend to place his draft picks on exemptions – except for the occasional seventh round pick – so Vildor’s place on the list is likely safe. He could end up as an inactive player on some games, but he should be able to find playing time in special teams and in certain subsets.
Prediction: 10 games; 12 tackles, 1 PBU
The exact capacity of the role Mooney will play in 2020 is currently unknown. He has a chance to take over as the starting receiver “Z”, but with Ted Ginn Jr. and Riley Ridley fighting for the same role, that place is far from guaranteed.
Mooney will more than likely make it to 55 players, but the Bears have a handful of receivers on their bench who have legitimate claims to significant playtime. He brings an element of speed to their attack that few players on the Chicago roster can match, so he should play some sort of role in his rookie year.
Overall, however, Mooney’s rookie campaign may not jump off the page, but some of the flashes he will likely show should indicate a more important role for him with the Bears across the board.
Prediction: 10 games and 2 starts; 18 receptions, 238 yards, 1 TD
The odds seem difficult for Hambright to join the list of 55 players.
Aside from the projected starting offensive linemen, players like Jason Spriggs, Rashaad Coward and Alex Bars all project themselves as potential lineup residents. That doesn’t even include his seventh-round colleague Lachavious Simmons, who will also be looking to claim a spot on the list.
Although Hambright has the physical tools and athleticism to work with, he is not yet polite or strong enough to have a significant impact in the NFL. Expect him to spend most, if not all, of the 2020 season on the training team.
Prediction: N / A (training team)
As is the case with Hambright, Simmons is unlikely to have much of a chance against the NFL defenders in the regular season.
Given that he is a seventh round player from an FCS school, it could be difficult for Simmons to break through the 55 player line-up, not to mention significant playing time. Similar to his fellow offensive lineman at the end of the round, Simmons will likely spend his rookie year on the training team.
Prediction: N / A (training team)