John Fox and the Chicago Bears struggled once again in the 2017 NFL season, finishing the year with a 5-11 record and once again dead last in the NFC North division race. Unfortunately for Fox, another down season cost him his job, as Sports Illustrated reported, and the Bears are now hiring Matt Nagy to be their new head coach.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason for the Bears, there are quite a few ways that they could improve their roster. They could make some moves in free agency and also currently hold the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Chicago seems to be set at the quarterback position for the first year in a long time. Mitchell Trubisky showed flashes of stardom as a rookie, and the Bears are all-in with him. Now, they can focus on improving different areas of their team on both sides of the football.
There are quite a few players that the Bears could target with the eighth pick. They could improve their offense around Trubisky or add another playmaker on the defensive side of the football. Either way, they should be able to get a major difference maker in the first round of the draft this year.
All of that being said, which prospects should be considered early targets for the Bears in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft?
Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama
First and foremost, the Bears could use some help at the wide receiver position. Kevin White has been unable to stay healthy and it was an obvious need last season. Calvin Ridley would be a huge addition for the Bears’ offense and would give Trubisky a legitimate go-to No. 1 receiver.
Arden Key, Defensive End, LSU
If Chicago decides to go with a defensive player, defensive end Arden Key out of LSU could be their guy. Key finished the 2017 season with 33 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and a forced fumble. Chicago would boost their defense in a big way by taking Key.
Joshua Jackson, Cornerback, Iowa
Joshua Jackson will be a name on most teams draft boards at the top of the 2018 draft. He racked up 48 tackles to go along with eight interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, 18 defended passes, and a forced fumble. Chicago could use some help at the cornerback position, and Jackson would be the best guy to fill that need.
Derwin James, Safety, Florida State
Safety may not be the biggest position of need for the Bears this offseason, but Derwin James has true superstar talent. James was a standout at Florida State and could be the next defensive leader for the Bears if they choose to bring him in. If Ryan Pace decides to go with the best talent available, James could end up being their guy.