Chicago Bears Draft: Evaluating tight end prospects

Chicago Bears (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Irv Smith
Chicago Bears (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Trade-Up Options

First, let me point out that the odds of the Bears moving up into the second or even the first round in this year’s draft are slim to none. Next year is a much more important draft for the Bears, as they’ll go in with a projected 10 picks and needing to continue to add more young talent while trying to figure out who they can afford to give long-term extensions to.

Irv Smith, Alabama

Out of the top three tight ends in this year’s class, the one most likely to fall the furthest is Irv Smith out of Alabama. The 6-foot-3 standout had a great final season for the Tide as he caught 44 passes for 710 yards and seven scores. Smith is a strong guy for his size and is a fantastic blocker. Though he receives a lot of attention for his receiving skills, that’s a part of his game which the Bears would enjoy quite a bit. His ability to line up in different areas and use his body in the run game makes him appealing.

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Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

At this stage, it’s tough to imagine either Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson falling out of the first round. But, if either of them do, the Bears should at least venture to see what it took to move up and grab one of them. These two are the clear-cut best tight ends in the draft, and come from the same school.

Both are serious athletes, with Fant being a little faster. Each stand roughly between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5. Either one would be a luxury to add in the second round. They were the focal point of Iowa’s offense last year and present matchup nightmares to both linebackers and safeties.