Quenton Nelson

(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

Emma: Quenton Nelson May Not Be Sexiest Pick But Would Be Another Investment For Mitchell Trubisky

As draft night looms, the Bears may operate without a major surprise this time.

Chris Emma
April 16, 2018 - 4:28 pm
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By Chris Emma--

(670 The Score) Chicago wasn't expecting what happened when Mitchell Trubisky's name was called last April.

The few hundred fans at the NFL Draft party at Soldier Field were stunned -- as was veteran quarterback Mike Glennon, a guest at the event. Then-coach John Fox was caught off guard, too. The rest of the league never saw general manager Ryan Pace's move up to the second pick coming. It seemed only Trubisky himself wasn't surprised by what the Bears pulled off.

A scenario of that nature will be fresh in mind in 10 days, when Pace will conduct his fourth draft as general manager of the Bears. A young executive with a propensity to be bold could pull off something crazy once again, but I just don't see it this time around.

With the Bears slotted at No. 8, it seems fairly clear how this all could unfold. If four quarterbacks go in the first seven picks and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is selected in the top five as expected, that would leave the Bears with a choice of either NC State pass rusher Bradley Chubb, Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

The prospect of Nelson being the Bears' man with the eighth pick seems most likely more than week out. This isn't trying to read the tea leaves of Pace and his Bears brass -- an activity especially useless for a group that creates deception this time of year -- but rather linking the team to the best player who could be available.

An All-American at Notre Dame, Nelson isn't just the safest pick in this draft but the kind of player who can transform an offensive line. He's a Pro Bowl-caliber player in this draft class and seems to be universally loved by scouts. The Bears could ensure protection for Trubisky with an absolute mauler of a guard. Nelson may not be the sexiest pick, but it's yet another investment in the quarterback position. 

The Bears are a natural fit for Nelson given they hired Harry Hiestand, his offensive line coach at Notre Dame and the man Nelson credits for molding him. They also happen to have a starting spot at left guard open after declining an option on Josh Sitton this offseason.

The aforementioned Chubb and Fitzpatrick would both be quality additions for the Bears, too. Both project to be Week 1 starters and potentially impact players for years to come. It just remains to be seen whether either would be on the board for the Bears with the eighth pick (of course, the same could be said for Nelson).

Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith could both be intriguing picks and seem to fit the mold of what Pace seeks for his team -- loaded with upside and athleticism. Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward offers another option.

Heck, maybe Nelson isn't even the Notre Dame offensive lineman for the Bears. They could trade down with a quarterback-needy team and go for Fighting Irish tackle Mike McGlinchey instead. It's a safe bet that Pace will be working the phone quite a bit leading to the Bears' slotted pick.

With draft night nearing, the Bears and Nelson seem like the most likely match.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.