ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. is predicting that the Bears will address their offense in each of the first two rounds of the April 29-May 1 NFL Draft.
In his latest mock draft released Tuesday, Kiper projects that the Bears will select Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins in Round 1 at No. 20 and Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz in Round 2 at No. 52.
During a conference call with the national media Thursday, Kiper assessed Jenkins and Schwartz and discussed other draft possibilities for the Bears, who have a first-round pick this year for the first time since 2018 when they chose Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith at No. 8.
Jenkins was a four-year contributor and three-year starter at Oklahoma State. Last season the 6-6, 317-pounder opened six games at right tackle and one contest at left tackle before opting out for the rest of the season.
Jenkins started 10 games at right tackle and three at left tackle as a sophomore in 2018 before opening nine contests at right tackle and three at left tackle as a junior in 2019. Further showing his versatility, he also started two games at right guard as a freshman in 2017.
"He's got that aggressiveness to blow you off the ball in the run game," Kiper told reporters Thursday. "He did a great job against some highly-skilled pass rushers at that right tackle spot. He could also maybe be a left tackle."
Kiper expects Jenkins—who teamed with Bears 2020 seventh-round offensive lineman Arlington Hambright at Oklahoma State—to be selected in the 19-24 range in the first round.
In his mock draft, Kiper suggests that the Bears also could consider a young edge rusher such as Miami's Jaelan Phillips at No. 20 and play him as a situational pass rusher as a rookie.
Kiper believes that the Bears can wait until the second round to land a quality receiver because he ranks the wideout position as the deepest in the draft.
Schwartz is a speedy receiver who ran an unofficial 4.26 in the 40-yard dash at Auburn's Pro Day. The 6-1, 179-pounder appeared in 36 games in three seasons for the Tigers, catching 117 passes for 1,433 yards and six touchdowns. Last year he had 54 receptions for 636 yards and three TDs in 10 contests.
"Anthony Schwartz runs in the 4.2s," Kiper said. "He didn't have a high average per catch (11.8) because of the quarterback play. But when he was a freshman with [Jarrett] Stidham, he averaged right around 16 yards a catch (16.2).
"He runs reverses, jet sweeps, he can do all that. He's got ability after the catch. Anytime you can run in the 4.2s, you're over six-feet tall and you come out of Auburn and the SEC, you're going to be attractive in the second round."
Kiper thinks that the Bears may also be interested in North Carolina receiver Dyami Brown. The 6-1, 185-pounder caught 123 passes for 2,306 yards and 21 TDs in 34 games over three seasons for the Tar Heels. Last year Brown established career highs in receptions (55) and yards (1,099) while scoring eight touchdowns. He also possesses kick-return ability.
In his mock draft, Kiper is projecting that Brown will be selected at No. 38 by the Cleveland Browns, but the long-time ESPN draft guru acknowledged that Schwartz may still might be on the board when the Bears pick—especially given the depth at receiver in the draft.
With the Bears holding the 20th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, take a look at the players who have been selected No. 20 overall since 2001.