Chicago Bears Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia – Round 4
The Bears landed a steal in the fourth round with Ridley. He could have gone a round or two higher, and Chicago was very fortunate to land him in the early picks of the third day. With a lot of veterans returning, the Bears don’t need Ridley to start immediately, but over time, I think he could emerge as a solid starter for them.

Ridley may not ever become a team’s No. 1 wide receiver, but he could be a very good No. 2 receiver. Ridley is a polished receiver who does everything well. He is a smooth route-runner who is quick in and out of his breaks. He has a nice first-step off the snap with shiftiness to generate separation from press man coverage. Ridley uses his route-running and quickness to consistently generate separation.

Once he gets open. Ridley is superb at finishing the play. He has natural hands and is astute to put his hands up late to not tip off defensive backs that the ball is coming. He tracks the ball extremely well and has fantastic body control to adjust to the ball while making acrobatic catches along the sideline. Even though he is not a big wideout, Ridley (6-1, 199) is skilled at making catches around coverage to win on 50-50 balls. He has very good concentration and plays very poised when covered with passes coming his direction. Coming from a pro-style system at Georgia, Ridley has been groomed well for the NFL.

In the years to come, I think Ridley could become a starter on the outside across from Allen Robinson with Anthony Miller working out of the slot. That would be a dangerous trio of pure football players. Ridley may not see a lot of targets as a rookie, but I think he will earn more playing time over the years to come and be a solid starter for the Bears.

2018: James Daniels, C
2017: Eddie Jackson, S
2016: Jonathan Bullard, DE
2015: Eddie Goldman, DT
2014: Kyle Fuller, CB
2013: Jonathan Bostic, LB

Most Likely To Bust

David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State – Round 3
The Bears needed help at running back after trading away Jordan Howard, so Montgomery was not a surprise selection. Even though they had to replace Howard, it will be difficult for Montgomery to become an every-down starter because the Bears plan to employ a running back-by-committee approach with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis. Montgomery is the kind of back who needs carries, and I’m not sure he will see that in Chicago. However, the biggest reason why I think Montgomery has bust potential is I am concerned about him having enough speed to hit the hole in the NFL.

The speed issue can be seen in his tape, his stats, and his combine 40 time. I think Montgomery is a tough runner who has excellent balance and is tough to bring down; however, he shows some risk for the NFL because he may lack enough speed to hit the hole and get to the second level in the NFL. In the Big XII, defenders were consistently able to chase down Montgomery, and pro defenders are much faster than them. As the Bears’ only pick in the top half of the first round, Montgomery is also the only player who would truly be a bust if he doesn’t work out. Being slow to the hole and getting chased down by defenders are what I think could lead to Montgomery being a bust for Chicago.

2018: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB
2017: Mitch Trubisky, QB
2016: Cody Whitehair, G
2015: Hroniss Grasu, C
2014: Ka’Deem Carey, RB
2013: Kyle Long, G

Potential Boom Pick

No One
The Bears only had five draft picks and none in the first two rounds, so there isn’t a prospect worthy of having boom-pick potential. Even if third-rounder David Montgomery pans out, he still is going to be in a running back-by-committee approach. Fourth-round receiver Riley Ridley also will be a rotational backup given the veterans Chicago has in house. Thus, there really wasn’t a player who was worthy of a boom pick designation.

2018: Roquan Smith, LB
2017: Adam Shaheen, TE
2016: Leonard Floyd, LB
2015: Kevin White, WR
2014: Will Sutton, DT
2013: Khaseem Greene, LB

Future Depth Player

Kerrith Whyte, DL, Florida Atlantic – Round 7
As a late pick, Whyte was not drafted to be a potential starter for Chicago. However, the Bears had definite plans for Whyte when they selected him in the seventh round. Whyte was a dangerous kick returner at Florida Atlantic and also showed he can be a contributor in the passing game. Whyte gives Chicago special teams talent and also provides depth if Tarik Cohen gets hurt because they need a shifty back for the passing attack. I don’t think Whyte will become a starter for Chicago, but he could be a good backup who is valuable on special teams.

2018: Bilal Nichols, DL
2017: Tarik Cohen, RB
2016: Nick Kwiatkoski, LB
2015: Jeremy Langford, RB
2014: David Fales, QB
2013: Cornelius Washington, DE

Walt’s 2019 NFL Draft Grades:

73. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State C+ Grade
David Montgomery is a talented running back who was projected to be chosen late in the second or early in the third round. Montgomery is a better runner than Jordan Howard, whom he will be replacing. Montgomery has nice vision and patience for a runner, which is important for a player at his position. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the Bears surrendering so much to move up to this spot.

126. Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia A+ Grade
This is one of the best picks of the third day of the 2019 NFL Draft thus far. Riley Ridley fell because he didn’t test well at the combine, but who cares? Ridley was a terrific player at Georgia. He’s an awesome route runner, so he profiles as someone who overachieves in the NFL. He should do well in Chicago.

205. Duke Shelley, CB, Kansas State C Grade
The Bears lost Bryce Callahan in free agency, so it makes sense for them to target another slot cornerback to compete with Buster Skrine. The problem is that Shelley was not a very draftable prospect, and there were some better cornerbacks still available.

222. Kerrith Whyte, RB/KR, Florida Atlantic B Grade
Kerrith Whyte didn’t get to carry the ball very much at Florida Atlantic because of Devin Singletary. Whyte is not a very good runner, but he was dynamic as a return specialist in college. I imagine the Bears drafted him for that role, and if so, this is a promising selection.

238. Stephen Denmark, CB, Valdosta State A Grade
Stephen Denmark’s upside is off the charts. He played cornerback for just one year at Valdosta State, so he’s still learning the position. He then put himself on the radar with an amazing pro day, testing as one of the top athletes in the 2019 NFL Draft class. Denmark is obviously raw, but has the upside to develop into a potential starter.

2019 NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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