The Bears decided that they needed a new coach, despite winning 10 games. To win more, they need better players. Here’s a look at their effort to find some in the draft.
What they needed: Linebacker, offensive line, quarterback, tight end, defensive end.
Who they got:
Round 1: Kyle Long, G, Oregon.
Round 2: Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida.
Round 4: Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers.
Round 5: Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech.
Round 6: Cornellius Washington, OLB, Georgia.
Round 7: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.
Where they hit: See ya later, Brian Urlacher. If the door for a return by the 2000 first-round pick was open a crack, it’s now slammed shut, thanks to the arrival of Bostic in round two. Arguably a bit of a reach with the 50th overall pick, Bostic fills the most glaring need on the roster. Two outside linebackers — Greene and Washington (who may end up at defensive end) — will help fill the void created by the departure of Nick Roach, and lay the foundation for the eventual end of the Lance Briggs era. The selection of two offensive linemen, including the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, shows that the Bears finally are serious about improving their blocking.
Where they missed: Every new coach wants his own quarterback, and the Bears should have burned a mid-late round pick on one of the signal-callers who slid. Marc Trestman needs to develop a youngster, if only to provide the Bears with some leverage against Jay Cutler’s looming contractual demands. Wilson is a red-flag pick in round seven, given that he walked out on the Washington State team and accused coach Mike Leach’s staff of being abusive.
Impact rookies: Bostic will be penciled in as the starting middle linebacker, and Long will be expected to become one of the starting five linemen. For Bostic, he’ll be trying to fill much bigger shoes than Long, who has a low O-line bar to clear in order to be regarded a Chicago success.
Long-term prospects: Between free agency and the draft, the Bears have made a major commitment to improving the offensive line. The defensive line may need similar attention by next year. For now, though, the future looks bright for a team that isn’t too far away from returning to the playoffs — if Cutler and Trestman click properly. And if the offensive line can keep Cutler on one piece.