The 2019 NFL Draft will be conducted this week in Nashville, with Round 1 Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. (CT), Rounds 2-3 Friday starting at 6 p.m. and Rounds 4-7 Saturday kicking off at 11 a.m.
Teams will have 10 minutes for each selection in Round 1, seven minutes in Round 2, five minutes in Rounds 3-6 and four minutes in Round 7.
The Bears have five choices in the draft: No. 87 in the third round, No. 126 in the fourth, No. 162 in the fifth and Nos. 222 and 238 in the seventh round.
Last year the Bears dealt their first- and sixth-round picks to the Raiders as part of the blockbuster Khalil Mack trade and sent their second-round choice to the Patriots to move up to select receiver Anthony Miller in the second round. The first-round pick the Bears dealt to Oakland is No. 24 overall.
The Bears acquired the No. 222 pick in the seventh round last year from the Eagles in exchange for cornerback Deiondre’ Hall.
This is the fifth time in franchise history that the Bears do not have picks in the first two rounds. The last time was 2010 when they dealt their first-round selection to the Broncos to acquire quarterback Jay Cutler and sent their second-round choice to the Buccaneers in exchange for defensive end Gaines Adams.
The other times the Bears didn’t have picks in the first two rounds were 1970, 1978 and 2009.
Asked about the challenge in not picking until No. 87, general manager Ryan Pace said: “There’s so many variables and so many scenarios because there’s so much space before we pick. There’s a bigger pool of players. So you’re playing out every one of these scenarios: ‘Man, what if this player fell?’”
With no choice until No. 87, this marks the latest the Bears will have selected their first player in the draft in team history. Previously, the latest was No. 75 in 2010.
Talent still available
Recent history suggests that there will be top talent available in the cluster—or “cloud” as Pace refers to it—where the Bears are making their first selection. Over the last 10 years, eight players drafted at Nos. 85-89 have been voted to the Pro Bowl. That includes the 2017 Super Bowl MVP in quarterback Nick Foles (No. 88 by the Eagles in 2012) the NFL’s leading rusher in 2017 in running back Kareem Hunt (No. 86 by the Chiefs in 2017) and Bears standout defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (No. 89 by the Saints in 2012).
In the last 10 drafts, there have been 64 players picked after No. 87 who have been voted to the Pro Bowl. The list consists of nine running backs, eight receivers, six linebackers, six safeties, five tight ends, five defensive ends, four quarterbacks, four defensive tackles, four cornerbacks, four punters, three offensive tackles, two fullbacks, two kickers, one guard and one center.
Best available player
While there’s outside speculation that the Bears will draft a running back, Pace insisted this week that the team has no glaring needs and will select the best available players.
“I kind of know what the narrative is out there, but we feel fortunate with our roster right now,” Pace said Tuesday during his annual pre-draft press conference. “This press conference feels a little different in that there’s no pressing, huge needs. We can honestly select the best players. That’s a great spot to be in. I know running back’s been talked about a lot, but we feel good about that position.”
Pace’s draft history
In four drafts with the Bears, Pace has selected 27 players—14 on offense and 13 on defense. He has picked five offensive linemen, five defensive backs and five linebackers.
Pace has selected six players who have earned Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie honors: Second-round nose tackle Eddie Goldman and fifth-round safety Adrian Amos in 2015; first-round outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, second-round center Cody Whitehair and fifth-round running back Jordan Howard in 2016; and linebacker Roquan Smith in 2018.
Pace has made eight trades during his four drafts as Bears general manager, moving up five times and down three times.
He traded up to pick Floyd in the first round and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in the fourth round in 2016; quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the first round and Jackson in the fourth round in 2017; and Miller in the second round in 2018.
Pace traded down twice before taking Whitehair in the second round in 2016 and also moved down before selecting tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round in 2017.