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Who analysts predict Bears will draft

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Free agency, which starts next week, no doubt will greatly alter mock drafts. But at this point, here are the prospects that NFL analysts are predicting the Bears will select with the No. 8 pick:

Will Brinson, CBS Sports (Feb. 27)
Pick: Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley
Comment: The easiest matchup of any team and player in the draft because it just seems very obvious GM Ryan Pace will go out of his way this offseason to try and secure some weapons for franchise quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com (Feb. 13)
Pick: Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward
Comment: Smooth cover corner with a polished game. Ward would upgrade the secondary as a premier CB1.

Charley Casserly, NFL.com (Feb. 13)
Pick: Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley
Comment: The Bears get Mitchell Trubisky a weapon with this pick.

Charles Davis, NFL.com (Feb. 20)
Pick: Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson
Comment: Instant starter with a mean streak a mile wide who will help protect last year's No. 1 pick for the Bears, QB Mitchell Trubisky.

Nate Davis, USA Today (March 7)
Pick: Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson
Comment: Per [Mike] Mayock, [Saquon] Barkley and Nelson are the two best players in a draft dominated by the quarterback conversation. Chicago has a Pro Bowl-sized hole on its O-line after declining G Josh Sitton's option for 2018. Nelson will almost certainly be an upgrade, even when compared to an accomplished vet like Sitton, and has vowed to make a roomier pocket for his next quarterback, something Mitchell Trubisky would certainly appreciate in his second season.

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports (March 2)
Pick: Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley

ESPN's Todd McShay released his latest Mock Draft with these ten players going first in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Comment: The last couple early wide receiver picks have not worked out so well for the Bears (and the recent history of first-round receivers is not great in general), but maybe the third time will be a charm. Hey, continually nabbing first-round receivers eventually worked for the Lions, right?

Adam Jahns, Chicago Sun-Times (March 5)
Pick: Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson
Comment: Re-signing Kyle Fuller is a priority for the Bears, but cornerback should still be addressed in the draft. Jackson has top-notch ball skills and the size (6-1, 192 pounds) that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prefers. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds at the combine, silencing some concerns about his speed. Ohio State's Denzel Ward, who ran the 40 in 4.32 seconds, should strongly be considered, too. The Bears have been linked to Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, but they can target a receiver in the second round. Day 2 of the draft is considered a good day for receivers. The Bears also are expected to aggressively pursue receivers in free agency, too. One name to watch, though, is Virginia Tech linebacker/edge rusher Tremaine Edmunds. He's only 19 and possesses the high-level athleticism that GM Ryan Pace has shown to covet in the first round.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com (March 6)
Pick: Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward
Comment: Ward is the top cover man in the draft.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation (March 6)
Pick: Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds
Comment: The Bears are in a tough spot at No. 8. Keep an eye on a possible trade down with Miami that involves Miami wide out Jarvis Landry. If the Bears stick here, they could go after the huge upside of Edmunds, one of the more electric players in this year's draft. Edmunds is a player who could line up opposite Leonard Floyd to play the run and drop in coverage.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (Feb. 27)
Pick: Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds
Comment: Edmunds is a tremendous athlete. He could play inside or outside linebacker in the Bears' 3-4, and it's that versatility and athleticism that has scouts drooling. I expect him to put up huge numbers at the combine. Edmunds had109 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2017, and he does a good job covering pass-catchers out of the backfield. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Edmunds doesn't look like a traditional middle linebacker, but he's such a physical specimen that you can't rule it out. And the Bears just released Jerrell Freeman. Chicago could also be in the market for an offensive tackle or wide receiver here.

Nick Klopsis, Newsday (March 5)
Pick: Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson
Comment: Mitchell Trubisky took his lumps in 12 starts, but he showed some promise as a rookie. The Bears could accelerate Trubisky's growth by fortifying the offensive line, especially after the team declined its option on Josh Sitton. Quenton Nelson is the best offensive line prospect in this class. He has ideal size at 6-5, 325 pounds and is dominant in run blocking and pass protection. He also plays with a mean streak and pancakes defenders with his sheer power. It may not be the sexiest pick, but Nelson is a safe prospect who has drawn Pro Bowl-level comparisons. Interesting note: head coach Matt Nagy brought in Nelson's position coach at Notre Dame, Harry Hiestand, for the same position this offseason. Previous pick: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU.

Todd McShay, ESPN (March 7)
Pick: Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward
Comment: Calvin Ridley is still my top-ranked WR, but he had a mixed combine workout. The Bears do need playmakers on the outside for second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky, but right now, there are simply too many higher-graded players on the board available. Even if Chicago keeps Kyle Fuller (it placed the transition tag on him), the Bears need a lockdown CB. Ward is that guy, and his blazing 4.32 40 cemented his spot as the No. 1 CB in this draft.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (March 1)
Pick: Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson
Comment: He might be the cleanest player in the draft, and they need help inside with the release of Josh Sitton.

Peter Schrager, NFL.com (March 1)
Pick: Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes
Comment: Hughes is going to be selected a lot higher than most mock drafts have him going right now, as a shutdown corner who possesses tremendous athletic ability. I've spoken to some scouts who have circled him as the combine/pro day riser to watch.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports (March 7)
Pick: Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds
Comment: Don't be shocked if the Bears land Allen Robinson in free agency. They may even acquire two starting receivers. That allows them to turn their direction to defense, where the freakish 19-year-old Edmunds is their top target.

R.J. White, CBS Sports (Feb. 22)
Pick: Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley
Comment: The Bears have their franchise quarterback, and now it's time to give him someone to throw to. With Alshon Jeffery a thing of the past and Kevin White not working out, Chicago needs to address this weakness in multiple ways. Even if they sign a relatively big-name free agent receiver, I'm not ruling them out for Ridley, who is a much better prospect than his collegiate numbers suggest.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com (Feb. 13)
Pick: Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward
Comment: The Bears' secondary needs an upgrade, and while Ward isn't the biggest cornerback in the draft, he is outstanding in coverage.

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