2017 NFL Draft: Chicago Bears targeting defensive lineman?

The Chicago Bears may have shown their hand regarding what position they are targeting in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears have been active in filling their needs via free agency.

Entering the free agency period, the Chicago Bears had significant needs at the quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, secondary, and defensive line positions.

The Bears have addressed nearly all of those needs in free agency. The Bears have signed quarterback Mike Glennon; wide receiver Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright; tight end Dion Sims; cornerbacks Marcus Cooper and Prince Amukamara; and safety Quintin Demps.

With the Bears addressing all those positions in free agency, the team may have given an indicator of what position they may be targeting in the 2017 NFL Draft. That position is none other than the defensive line as the Bears have shied away from pass-rushers in the early portions of free agency. The Bears haven’t been connected in earnest to any free agent defensive lineman and it may be due to the 2017 NFL Draft.

The 2017 NFL Draft is littered with pass-rushing prospects that the Bears may be considering with the No. 3 overall selection. Defensive ends Soloman Thomas, Jonathan Allen, Myles Garrett, and Derek Barnett could all be in play for the Bears at the No. 3 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Bears have lacked a prominent pass-rusher since the third year of the Julius Peppers‘ signing in 2012. Cooper, Amukamara, and Demps should provide a significant improvement to the Bears’ secondary play. In order for the Bears’ defense to take the next step, the team will need to find their own J.J. Watt. That is why the Bears may be leaning towards taking a pass-rusher with the No. 3 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft instead of reaching for a quarterback.

Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace wanted to use free agency as a tool that would allow the team to select the best player available with each of their selections in the 2017 NFL Free Agency. That plan has worked as Thomas, Allen, or Garrett could very well be the best players available and fit for the Chicago Bears when they are on the clock in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft