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Draft needs: Chicago Bears

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Last year the Bears looked like they had all the pieces in place for new head coach Marc Trestman’s offense, but a shaky defense ended up keeping Chicago out of the playoffs. This year look for the Bears to make a concerted effort to get better on defense in the draft. We look at the Bears’ draft needs here:

Defensive back: There are question marks at both cornerback and safety for the Bears. Although they brought back Charles Tillman, who at his best was among the top cornerbacks in the NFL, Tillman is 33 years old and struggled through an injury-plagued 2013 season. But even as Tillman ages, he still may be the best player in a secondary that also includes cornerback Tim Jennings and safeties Anthony Walters and Chris Conte.

If the Bears are going to upgrade the secondary with their first-round pick, No. 14 overall, a good option could be Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who would improve the Bears’ pass defense and their run defense. Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert could also be a first-round option for the Bears. Although Gilbert may need some time to develop, he’d provide secondary depth and could instantly step into the return man role that’s been vacant in Chicago since Devin Hester left for Atlanta.

And the Bears won’t be done drafting defensive backs on Day One. Expect the Bears to add depth to the secondary on Day Two or Day Three of the draft, when an intriguing option would be Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir, a Division II All-American who reportedly impressed the Bears at his Pro Day workout.

Linebacker: Last year the Bears used their second draft pick on linebacker Jon Bostic and their third draft pick on linebacker Khaseem Greene, but both of them struggled as rookies. Throw in the fact that Lance Briggs won’t be around forever, and that it still remains to be seen whether 2012 first-round pick Shea McClellin can make the switch from defensive end to strongside linebacker, and the Bears have a lot of question marks at the position.

C.J. Mosley, an inside linebacker from Alabama, would make a lot of sense for the Bears in the first round. Other than Khalil Mack, who definitely won’t be available when the Bears make their pick, Mosley is the best linebacker in this year’s draft. Great middle linebackers have been a staple of football in Chicago for decades, and Mosley could be the next one.

An option at outside linebacker could be Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who has excellent speed and would benefit from some time around Briggs before eventually developing into Briggs’s replacement.

Defensive tackle: The Bears’ run defense was rough last year, and they need a talented defensive tackle to add to the current rotation of Tracy Robertson, Stephen Paea and Jay Ratliff. The good news in Chicago? This looks like a good year to grab a defensive tackle in the middle of the first round.

Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh won the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college football and the Nagurski Award as the best defensive player in college football last year. The knock on him is that he weighs 285 pounds, but if he falls to the Bears at No. 14, they’d probably take him.

Other potential first-round defensive tackles in this draft include Timmy Jernigan of Florida State, Louis Nix of Notre Dame and Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota. Nix, who had a pre-draft visit with the Bears, would provide a significant upgrade to Chicago’s run defense.

Later in the draft, Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, who also visited Chicago, could be an option for the Bears. Sutton was outstanding in 2012 but gained weight and was less effective in 2013, and after a disappointing Pro Day his stock appeared to be on the decline.

Running back: The Bears are in good shape with Matt Forte as their starter, but finding a change of pace for Forte would be helpful. A running back has to be versatile in Trestman’s offense, and Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas or Wisconsin running back James White are two who could make sense. The Bears won’t draft a running back in the first round (and neither will any other team), but keep an eye on Thomas and White as a potential mid- to late-round selection.

Quarterback: Last year, when Jay Cutler got hurt, the Bears’ offense didn’t miss a beat thanks to a very good season from backup quarterback Josh McCown. This year, McCown is in Tampa and the Bears would be down to Jordan Palmer or Jerrod Johnson if Cutler had to miss time. The big contract the Bears gave Cutler this year shows that they’re fully committed to him as the long-term franchise quarterback, but it would make sense for Chicago to draft a young quarterback who can learn Trestman’s offense, function as a capable backup and perhaps develop into a starter some day.

One quarterback to consider for the Bears is Tom Savage, who has all the tools but needs a lot of refinement as a passer. If there’s a coach who could turn Savage into a future star, it’s Trestman.

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31 Responses to “Draft needs: Chicago Bears”
  1. garyman1 says: Apr 27, 2014 9:05 AM

    Last year was the first time in a decade that the Bears didn’t have an outstanding defense…and it prevented them from getting into the playoffs. They’ve definitely upgraded their D-line but REALLY need more safety and linebacker help.

  2. alshonbrandontandem says: Apr 27, 2014 9:35 AM

    Trade down; maybe Cleveland panics a little and moves up from the 26th spot to land their qb. Grab a DT there & then stock up on the secondary and linebacker positions.

  3. footballtalk1 says: Apr 27, 2014 9:50 AM

    Get a real QB. They could have the first 10 picks and still choke after starting 7-0 like they have every year since 1985

  4. metalhead65 says: Apr 27, 2014 9:50 AM

    the defense was awful last year but how could it be any good with most of it’s starters on ir? they upgraded it during free agency but they need help in the secondary and drafting guys in the later rounds has proven the way not to go. if a top safety like dix is there or corner like dennard they need to grab him! they get d-line help later but nust fix those positions now. the defense does not have to be the great one of old just 1 that can make a tackel and they will be good to for thr division and playoffs. Bear Down!

  5. nastyn8770 says: Apr 27, 2014 10:00 AM

    We need to address the fact that Briggs won’t be around forever. We failed to do that with Urlacher and we all see how that worked out for us. Then I think we address the aging secondary,but we definitely need to address that defense in this draft.

  6. alshonsmeathooks says: Apr 27, 2014 10:01 AM

    what’s the difference between Conte and Major Wright looking good 2 years ago and worst in the league last year?

    A good DL

    Donald, Jernigan, or another DT needs to get grabbed in the first. Allen, Ratliff, Donald, Houston will get the job done

  7. wnstonchill says: Apr 27, 2014 10:14 AM

    They really need to go DB with that first pick!
    Safety, Calvin Pryor would be a nice fit with this defense.
    I can’t see taking a LB like many are predicting. That would indict Emery for taking Bostic last year. This draft is a huge mystery in regards to what teams will do in RD 1 .

  8. beardownnation says: Apr 27, 2014 10:34 AM

    While I don’t disagree with much said here. I think it will get down to who is available at 14 and who does Emery like further down in the draft. Personally they don’t need a DT until the second or third round. CB/S or S/CB in the first two would be cool. However, it’s not how we see it it’s how Emery and the Bears see it. Wouldn’t surprise me if he went TE (if Ebron is there) then CB, DT, S, QB, DT/CB etc.

    Remember this is a deep draft, so it almost makes no difference who and when. We don’t even know who they really like.

  9. hodous says: Apr 27, 2014 10:37 AM

    You have to get a DT no matter what… You get a stout front four with one of the 3-Technique guys up front and everyone behind the goes from bad–> serviceable, serviceable–> good, and good–> pro bowl.

    Any other position upgrade would have less net effect than a DT who could make a difference on day 1.

  10. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 10:49 AM

    The Bears DL was the worst in the league last year and it wasn’t even close. Emery has made a lot of moves on that unit in FA but even with all that it has only improved to slightly above average. The Bears MUST come away from this draft with a young DT who brings impact from the get go or else any other additions they make in the back 7 will be largely moot. I am also waiting to see evidence that Mel Tucker has anything on the ball at all as their DC.

  11. alshonbrandontandem says: Apr 27, 2014 11:12 AM

    Is anyone worried that Donald is going to get tossed around like a rag doll by these 300+ pd offensive lineman in the NFL? I would love to see the Bears move down, grab an addtl 2nd rounder and take Rashede Hageman later in the first. With their first pick in the 2nd take the safety from Wash St. And then a corner with your second 2nd rounder.

  12. danno1212 says: Apr 27, 2014 11:22 AM

    Tracy Robertson? In the rotation?

  13. richardmb52 says: Apr 27, 2014 11:37 AM

    A lot of these posts point to taking a DT in the first round if available , couldn’t agree more it all starts up front, look what happened when they fixed the offensive line. All of a sudden Cutler isn’t on his back all the time and ther offence suddenly is explosive . Fix the line than add to secondary

  14. hisslyness22 says: Apr 27, 2014 11:49 AM

    We all know what the Bears need and who will/won’t be available at #14. Enough of this nonsense. Bring the Draft back to April!

    I meant to say “…who SUPPOSEDLY will/won’t be available at #14″.

  15. gridassassin says: Apr 27, 2014 11:57 AM

    For me it’s Donald. If he’s gone then it’s Pryor or Dix – whichever Emery feels is the better safety.

    If they use a first round pick on a linebacker, I’ll be livid – given that 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks from the past two years are fighting for LB jobs: McLellin, Bostic and Greene.

    They need to address DB depth in the later rounds, and would love to see them take a flyer on a developmental QB in Rounds 3 or 4.

  16. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 12:12 PM

    Why would the Bears draft a CB in the top 15 who won’t even play this year unless Tillman or Jennings go down? While at the same time the are short on quality starters at DT and S? It boggles me when teams spend high draft picks on depth rather than targeting guys who can immediately upgrade weak positions so I hope the Bears don’t go down that path.

  17. shorttracknews says: Apr 27, 2014 1:39 PM

    I think what a lot of people are missing is the Bears will probably play Lamar Houston inside at DT with Ratliff and have Young and Allen playing DE. Maybe Donald is to good to pass up if he is still there at #14 but I still think you need to go S in the first round. I think they need CB depth (with Tillman’s past injuries) more then they need DLine depth. The Bears brought in a ton of DLine guys this year.

    S – CB – DE – LB – QB – RB are probably 6 for sure picks. The other pick could be more Defense depth, a WR, TE or maybe even a C

    All I know is the Draft moving back 2 weeks sucks. Move it back to April!!!

  18. whiskeyditka says: Apr 27, 2014 1:53 PM

    Speaking as someone who was at the Week 17 game in Chicago last year (We all know how it ended), I think the Bears need to go safety in the 1st round. I think Clinton -Dix would be an immediate impact player that the bears desperately need in the secondary. Also concerned that Donald is undersized to play DT at the NFL level. Whichever way the Bears decide to go, in Emery we trust! Really lookin’ forward to the season you guys ! Bear Down!

  19. masher1965 says: Apr 27, 2014 1:56 PM

    Personally, I would like to see the Bears get a DT if a real good one is available at 14, the problem , is of course, who will be available. I certainly would not reach . As for a linebacker , I can’t see a 1st round pick on one , considering the 2 from last year, McClellin going to linebacker and the needs at line and secondary. It just makes little sense unless all the top players are off the Bears board .

  20. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 1:56 PM

    Emery himself said in a postseason press conference that he failed to provide enough depth at DT last year. He is a guy that doesn’t make the same mistake twice so you can take it to the bank he will draft a DT this year. Right now the Bears DTs are Lamarr Houston playing out of position, Nate Collins coming off an injury, an aging Ratliff and Stephen Paea, a holdover from the former regime who has never played up to his 2nd rd draft pick and was flat-out terrible last year. So that’s bodies, but still enough of question marks among them to say the work at that position is not done yet.

  21. wnstonchill says: Apr 27, 2014 2:27 PM

    Another thing to ponder. The Bears don’t need a “great” defense to win right now. The offense has proven last year that it can match firepower with most teams in this league. (something we’ve not seen here in a long time) Last year, the defense was a travesty, true. Had it been simply average, we’re talking about a playoff team right now because of the effectiveness of the offense. I’d love to be a “great” defense, however, Rome wasn’t built in a day! They need to do what they can to win now, while still building for the future. Emery has put some nice pieces in place on the D-line to make at least average if not better! The position that’s going to bite them this year and beyond if it’s not addressed is SAFETY and CB. They need to draft an impact DB who can start from day one, with that first pick.

  22. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 2:31 PM

    Also keep an eye out for my left field pick, Anthony Barr. On the surface as a pure 3-4 OLB he doesn’t look like a good fit at all… but the Bears have been reported to have interest in him dating back to at least March. If they feel he is hands down the best defensive player on the board at 14 and they cant trade down they may pull the trigger on him and task Tucker with coming up with some way to use him.

  23. thedano says: Apr 27, 2014 2:33 PM

    The biggest need is DT. Not sure who Tracy Robertson is….but Ratliff, Paea, Collins isn’t enough at DT. Houston will kick in to DT only on some passing downs. He’s not an every down DT. S is next. A lot of the S struggles was due to horrid DL play. Depth at CB DE LB is also needed. A speed WR and backup RB late, maybe developmental QB but it’s not a necessity this year.

  24. tonyc920 says: Apr 27, 2014 2:45 PM

    The Bears have sooooo many holes on “D”, the best strategy would be take the highest rated defensive player on THEIR BOARD, not the so called draft experts boards.

  25. td30 says: Apr 27, 2014 3:47 PM

    i dont get what happened to bostic. i remember him being REALLY good in the preseason, thinking in one season they replaced urlacher.

  26. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 3:56 PM

    I think Bostic has a lot of talent but may be over his head in the role of MLB who is essentially required to QB the defense. Against the vanilla offenses in preseason he did fine but when the games counted he was exposed. As it stands now he is competing qoth McClellan at SLB so basically you’ve got two guys angling for a position neither was drafted to play.

  27. larryboodry says: Apr 27, 2014 6:45 PM

    I am leaning away from Donald due to his size, and would love to see them draft one of the impact safeties at 14.

  28. bassplucker says: Apr 27, 2014 7:26 PM

    The only thing being if the Bears pass on Donald, the Cowboys are certain to take him a couple picks later. Considering that the Bears seem to play the Cowboys pretty much every year anymore, do they really want to face an inside tandem of Donald and Henry Melton coached-up by Marinelli? It’s been widely speculated that the biggest reason Emery drafted Shea McClellan was to keep him away from the Packers. If that m.o. is in play again I can easily see Donald as the Bears pick at 14.

  29. lionsdraftguy says: Apr 27, 2014 8:12 PM

    Regardless of what they draft, theyll still have the most classless fans. Well, 2nd to the Niners anyway.

  30. annunaki77 says: Apr 27, 2014 9:42 PM

    Draft a YOUNG Quarterback for Trestman to develop, his own guy. When Cutty starts throwing those INTs like in Philly and Detroit Bears fans will regret it, or when he gets INJURED again and you have Nobody there to step in. They would be wise to draft a RB also in case Forte suffers another injury. If any of these 2 players go down Cutty or Forte the Bears are screwed big time. If Cutty throws INTs every other game they are screwed again also.

  31. 11dancingditkas says: Apr 27, 2014 10:37 PM

    Wake me up when the draft happens. Thanks, Goodell. The extra two weeks don’t lead to increased excitement, it leads to a spike in fans irritation!

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