In a little more than two weeks time, the Chicago Bears will quickly be on the clock with the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Bears fans had to suffer through a 3-13 season, the worst campaign in franchise history, for a shot at one of the top three players in this year's class.
Unfortunately, this draft is not heavy in elite talent. In fact, outside of Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett, there are no consensus slam-dunk prospects. That puts further pressure on Chicago's scouting department and GM Ryan Pace to get proper value at such a premium draft slot.
The Bears have holes throughout the roster, as one would expect from a three-win team. A number of those holes were patched during free agency, yet the top-tier veterans chose to sign elsewhere, which means no position is off limits in the first round.
With the short- and long-term fate of the NFL's charter franchise hanging in the balance, here are Bear Report's Top 10 prospect rankings for the Bears at No. 3 overall.
10 - ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Danny Trevathan ruptured his patella tendon in December, an injury that could take a full year to heal. Jerrell Freeman was great last year but he's on the wrong side of 30, while last year's fourth-round pick, Nick Kwiatkoski, is still a work in progress. If the Bears want a huge upgrade in the middle of their defense, Foster makes sense. He's a powerful hitter with great range and coverage ability. He's a Top 10 talent, although probably not in the Top 3.
9 - DE Derek Barnett, Florida
Barnett has the best hands of any pass rusher in this class. He uses swats and swims with precision timing, which led to his elite production. He had 10 sacks or more in each of the past three seasons, with 21.5 TFLs in 2014 and 18.5 TFLs in 2016. Barnett has the speed and agility to rush off the edge in Chicago's 3-4 defense. His potential presence on passing downs, either in a two- or three-point stance, puts Garnett into the conversation.
8 - QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Watson knows how to win, which cannot be taken for granted. He has a strong arm, good size and he's mobile, so there's a lot to like. Yet Watson is only on this list due to the value of the quarterback position. His accuracy issues, particularly on down-field passes, are concerning, and he's yet to show an ability to consistently work through his progressions. Watson may end up developing into a quality NFL quarterback but he might be too risky at No. 3.
7 - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
Howard is one of the best pass-catching tight ends to emerge from the collegiate ranks in quite some time. He's 6-6, 251 and was outstanding at the combine, testing well in nearly every drill, while also showing off his sticky hands and smooth route-running ability. Athletically, he's extremely gifted, and he could be an All-Pro tight end if used properly at the next level. Tight end is one of the Bears' biggest positions of need and Howard could help take Chicago's passing attack to the next level.
6 - S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
Hooker was one of the top playmaking safeties in all of college football last year, tying for second nationally with 7 INTs. The Bears desperately need a rangy center fielder, one who can make opposing offenses pay for throwing deep, and Hooker fits the bill. He'd be higher on this list if it weren't for my serious concerns about his open-field tackling.
5 - CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Lattimore is the closest thing this draft has to a "lock-down" cornerback. He has good size, speed and coverage ability, particularly in man-to-man sets. He shadows receivers well and has the physicality to win jump-ball situations. Lattimore is going to be a Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL but only if he can stay healthy. Hamstring issues robbed him of nearly all of his first two years at OSU, which makes him a boom-or-bust prospect at No. 3.
4 - DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Thomas is a slippery, athletic, powerful, fast and explosive defensive end who could line up at multiple positions for the Bears. The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (8 sacks, 15 TFLs), Thomas would be a Day 1 starter in Chicago, one who could have an immediate impact on passing downs. The one concern with Thomas is that he does not hold up well against double teams, which could make him the target of opposing rushing attacks, particularly if he's lining up at 5-technique.
3- S Jamal Adams, LSU
Adams is arguably the top all-around defensive player in this class, regardless of position. He's built like a brick wall, with top-tier explosiveness and on-field intelligence. He's an extra linebacker in the box with the range to drop back and play free safety in Cover 1. Adams is a pure leader with All-Pro talent at arguably Chicago's biggest position of need. Safeties usually aren't selected this high in the draft but Adams' overall skill set may too attractive to pass up.
2 - DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
On film, Allen is the most impressive defender in this year's class. He was exceptionally disruptive in 2016 (16 TFL, 10.5 sacks) demonstrating his ability to penetrate into opposing backfields. Allen is versatile and can play 0-technique, 5-technique and 3-technique. He can anchor inside against the run and has top-tier stack-and-shed ability. On passing downs, he consistently wins in 1-on-1 situations and can create havoc by pushing the pocket in the face of opposing quarterbacks. It was revealed at the combine he has arthritis in both shoulders but that won't affect him for 10 years, so that shouldn't be a concern. While Adams is my favorite player in this year's draft, Allen is the best player available for the Bears at No. 3 overall.
1 - QB Mitch Trubisky
If Trubisky is not selected by the San Francisco 49ers, then Pace is going to be hard pressed to pass on the top quarterback in this year's class. Mike Glennon is a Band Aid ... a Band Aid with upside but still a Band Aid. If Glennon falters, and Pace has no legitimate Plan B in place, he could be out of job next off-season.
Beyond Trubisky, every quarterback in this class is littered with question marks. Even Trubisky carries a lot of risk -- he's a one-year starter who has never taken a snap under center -- but he has all the tools to be an above average starting quarterback in the NFL. With his size, arm strength and mobility, Trubisky is the best option for a Bears team in desperate need a franchise passer.
If Pace believes Davis Webb or Brad Kaaya is the answer to Chicago's quarterback woes, then he might choose Allen, Adams or Thomas over Trubisky. But if he's just as concerned about the second and third tier of passers in this year's class as I am, then Pace might roll the dice with Trubisky, who could excite a dormant fan base and potentially stabilize the most important position in the Bears' roster.