The NFL draft is just a month away, and with a very active and productive free agency period winding down for the Bears (Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush! Hurrah! Re-signing Idonije! Okay! Bringing back Craig Steltz…Wait just a goddamned minute..) it’s time to move our attention on to the main event of the offseason. Now, while Iggins, Mrs. Code Red, and I are preparing mock drafts for a special NFL Draft Prog Bukakke, I figured I’d discuss in a more general nature what I think the Bears should do. My opinion is totally important, because I have a blog, so I figured everyone would want to know.
The Bears are sitting at #19, one of the “cocktease” spots, since they’re about as late in the draft as your team can get without the sweet reward of a playoff appearance. I’d say a trade up is unlikely since the Bears don’t have a surplus of picks to bargain with and there’s really no need for it. I’d rank the teams greatest needs accordingly:
Defensive End: I suppose greatest “need” is a bit of a stretch. I don’t know that the Bears can’t get by with another year of Izzy playing opposite of Peppers, especially with Henry Melton building on a 7 sack season. That said, Lovie’s got one year to make a deep playoff run and the best way to improve the entire defense is to upgrade the pass rush with a true bookend to Julius Peppers. Quinton Coples is the best defensive end in the draft, but there’s no way in hell he’ll make it to 19. Melvin Ingram would be very nice and a slight possibility. I would also accept USC defensive end Nick Perry.
Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall was an excellent pick up. Everyone knows how much I love the BBE, but he’s an expert slot receiver. Devin Hester at this point is a gimmick and a situational deep threat. Johnny Knox may not play at all this year. Eric Weems is less of a receiver than Hester. Dane Sanzenbacher is a white guy with bad hands. A true #2 wide receiver, would be nice. This is a deep draft at that position, and a guy like Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery could slip into the 2nd round.
Offensive Line: Could be either a tackle or a guard. Just another guy with some potential to throw into the mix, as the only lock right now is Garza at center. Chris Williams, Gabe Carimi, and J’Marcus Webb will all compete at tackle, while Edwin Williams, Chris Spencer, Lance Louis, and hopefully INSERT ROOKIE HERE will compete at guard. The Bears offensive line looked bad in the second half thanks to Caleb Hanie’s epileptic pocket presence, but when Cutler went down they had allowed just five sacks in their last five games, were 6th in the NFL in scoring, and they cleared the way for over 2,000 rushing yards last season. With a less idiotic blocking scheme, some help on the outside, and health from Carimi and C. Williams, the line will be better. One more body would help, though.
Then again, Frank Omiyale is gone, so maybe all of the world’s problems went with him. Fuck you, Frank.
Linebacker: They need someone who can push Nick Roach but also has the potential to slid over to MLB down the road. The time for an Heirlacher is nigh. Vontaze Burfict is batshit crazy and reckless and he’s sliding down draft boards. If the Bears can nab him in the middle rounds and train him next to Urlacher and Briggs, that could be a relatively risk-free pick with huge upside down the road.
Safety: It might surprise some reactionary folks that PRO BOWLER Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, and Chris Conte performed pretty well last year. It’ll surprise no one that the other safety spot was a disaster. I’m not saying the team needs to give up on Major Wright just yet, as he had a good stretch in the middle of season where he was, for the first time in his career, both healthy and effective. They just need another option that’ll let Brad Biggs tweet some more snarky comments about Lovie’s revolving door at safety. And yes, I’m aware Craig Steltz was surprisingly not that awful at times last year. He’s still Craig Steltz.
Cornerback: Charles Tillman is coming off the best year of a career where he’s been very good and I don’t really give a damn if you disagree. That said, the team needs an insurance plan, as he’s not young and has had injury issues in the past. Tim Jennings should be fine for a few years, and you can pencil in DJ Moore at nickel for a long time. This is just a position where you can never have enough depth.
Tight End: I think Kellen Davis is a fine player who allowed just five pressures (none in the last 11 games) and no sacks despite spending more time blocking than damn near any other tight end in the NFL. He’s a great red zone target and I think he’ll be a fine receiving threat in a new offense. No, I do not miss Greg Olsen. That said, the Bears may look for more of a pure receiver at the position to complement Davis, but that’s very, very low on the priority list.
So with all of that, my strategy would be:
1st Rd: Best available DE.
2nd Rd: Best available OL or WR, whichever is higher on their board
4th Rd: Whatever you didn’t address in Round 2 (maybe a guy like Marvin McNutt would appease Iggins!)
5th Rd: Best Available DE
6th Rd: Who
7th Rd: Cares?
Next month we’ll SKOscast the entire draft and you can all mock how incredibly wrong I am both here and in my mock draft. It’ll be grand. I’m just looking forward to seeing whether or not we can continue our Phil Emery boners or if we’ll have tone it down a notch.