Every GM around the league will form a big board of players they want going into a draft. For the Chicago Bears it’s no different. Here is an early list of college prospects they must target in the 2014 NFL draft.
Ideal Picks: Stephon Tuitt and C.J. Mosley offer the most
The players that top a board are always the ones who bring more than one thing to the table. Those prospects that can not just rush the passer or tackle but can do it all, and do it better than almost anybody. Considering 2014 figures to focus almost entirely on the defense, the Bears board will likely be inhabited by the best prospects on that side of the ball. Based on their current draft position it’s easy to rule out names like Jadeveon Clowney or Anthony Barr who are well out of range unless team trades up, which also isn’t likely. So keeping that in mind, some names that have to top their wish list include Stephon Tuitt out of Notre Dame and C.J. Mosley from Alabama. Tuitt is a versatile defensive end for the Irish with a rare blend of size and speed that makes him almost impossible to block when his motor is running hot. Mosley is the leader of the Crimson Tide defense, an athletic inside linebacker who displays intelligence, toughness, range and instincts. Either player could bring so much to the Bears defense.
Back Ups: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Blake Bortles nice consolations
More often than not a team that pick in the middle or near the end of the first round usually doesn’t get the player they want, so it’s important to pinpoint other names on the board they can shift to when those become unavailable. Chicago could really use an infusion of youth at the cornerback position. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is an explosive defender for Oregon, athletic enough to mirror receivers in coverage and fast enough to cut off passing routes when he diagnoses them. His size is not ideal but in a zone defense his ability to react and tackle are coveted. Then there is the elephant in the room. Chicago knows they would like to take a quarterback at some point in the 2014 draft. The question is when. If a rising talent like Blake Bortles is available, they can’t pass on him. Bortles has all the measurables of a pro quarterback with a good arm and accuracy. He also exudes a calmness under pressure, which is reflected in his frequent comeback victories this year. Marc Trestman could do a lot with him.
Last Resorts: Ra’Shede Hageman and Brandin Cooks bring upside
If at the end of the day the Chicago Bears can’t catch any breaks, then they must have a short list of players they’re willing to settle for who exhibit high upside but aren’t immediate helps to the team. Given their problems at defensive tackle, Ra’Shede Hageman would be a great pick out of Minnesota. Scouts are in love with his physical dimensions, and he flashes the ability to dominate on more than one occasion. He needs work on his technique though and could use some motivation in terms of effort. Another option is wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Chicago has some instability at the third receiver spot, and they also lack a degree of speed on offense. Cooks brings burst and acceleration out of OregonState, able to get vertical awfully fast and is an advanced enough route runner to frighten defenses wherever he lines up. Putting him on the field with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery would be cheating. Such is how the 2014 NFL draft could go for the Bears.