1. Chicago Bears
The defending division champions sit atop the power rankings following the draft. And despite not owning a pick in the opening two rounds, Bears GM Ryan Pace did a good job in the final five rounds.
Is it possible third-round pick David Montgomery is an upgrade over Jordan Howard in Matt Nagy’s offense? Absolutely. Does the wide receiver corps of Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and fourth-round pick Riley Ridley have the potential to be the best in the NFC North? You bet.
The Bears finished No. 1 in scoring defense last season, and they should again have one of the league’s best defenses this year led by superstar edge rusher Khalil Mack, second-year linebacker Roquan Smith and All-Pro defensive backs Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson.
The offseason has been far from perfect for Chicago, however.
The Bears did lose two key parts of their secondary — Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan. And while Montgomery could be a better fit in Nagy’s offense than Howard, that’s far from a guarantee, and Howard has twice been a 1,000-yard rusher in Chicago.
Perhaps the biggest concern for the Bears is that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is now the head coach of the Denver Broncos. I’m sure Chuck Pagano will do a good job — and he has no shortage of talent to work with — but Fangio played a huge role in the Bears’ defensive success.
For the Bears to reach the next level, they’ll need Mitch Trubisky to also make a third-year jump. That could be the difference in turning an NFC North title into a Super Bowl.
But make no mistake, the Bears are the defending division champs for a reason. This is a very talented team.