Jan 3, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) lines up during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT

Separating the Chicago Bears 2014 NFL Draft Wants and Needs


Not every team has clear intentions for the 2014 NFL draft.  The Chicago Bears are among them.  What are their needs vs. wants?

Wants

Corner – Best available:  Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert

Chicago was smart to lock up Tim Jennings before the regular season was barely finished.  The reason being that four other corners on the active roster, including Charles Tillman are free agents.  However, given the nature of the scheme they play the Bears don’t require cornerbacks who must play constant press coverage.  As Jennings proves, smaller but tougher and smarter players not only suffice but excel.  Taking a corner early wouldn’t be bad, but it’s not the biggest need on defense.  Still, if a Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert were there and the other options were limited, there is absolutely no harm in pulling the trigger.

Linebacker – Best available:  C.J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier

The same goes for the linebacker position.  Yes, the Bears are getting old at that spot and youngsters like Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene looked very inconsistent when they got chances to play.  Obviously they deserve more time to develop though and like it or not linebacker wasn’t the primary problem facing them on defense despite the loss of Brian Urlacher and his leadership clearly being felt.  If a talent like C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier is there, both of whom bring excellent speed and athleticism to the position, then taking them would be a great help.  Otherwise the Bears should look elsewhere.

Speedy WR – Best available:  Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks

While not a problematic area Chicago did not get much consistent production from the slot receiver position.  In general the Bears have an outstanding receiving corps with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett.  However they do suffer from a lack of game breaking speed.  Adding that dimension to the offense with a player like Marqise Lee or Brandin Cooks would be cheating, but be mostly serving the selfish aims of an already proven offense.  Taking such a position early in the draft would have to happen only because there is no other realistic talent available.

Needs

Defensive Tackle – Best available:  Timmy Jernigan and Ra’Shede Hageman

Make no mistake.  Things began to go south for the Chicago Bears defense the moment they started losing defensive tackles.  In actually began in the preseason when key free agent signing Sedrick Ellis, who was expected to become big part of the rotation, abruptly retired.  That was soon followed by both Henry Melton and Nate Collins tearing their ACLs in a three week span.  That forced the team to sign the rehabbing Jeremiah Ratliff off the street and the unit never really recovered and was the biggest reason the team struggled to stop the run the rest of the year.  They have to infuse some life into the position.  Adding Florida State beast Timmy Jernigan or mammoth athlete Ra’Shede Hageman from Minnesota would be monumental helps.

Defensive End – Best available:  Kony Ealy and Trent Murphy

Julius Peppers is aging and in doubt with a bloated contract.  Corey Wootton is a free agent and Shea McClellin is clearly not a defensive end in the Bears system.  That is too much instability to ignore.  The 2014 NFL draft looked a little light on ends at first but a number of quality options have since surfaced.  Trent Murphy out of Stanford is the leading sacker in the nation and Kony Ealy from Missouri dominated down the stretch, particularly in the Cotton Bowl.  Either one would be a huge boost to the pass rush and alleviate some of the stress on the rest of the defense.

Safety – Best available:  Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor

Fans certainly lost all their patience with the Bears safeties after the debacle at Soldier Field in week 17 against Green Bay.  Indeed Chicago has lived for a long time without consistency or superior play from the safety position.  Now Chris Conte and Major Wright are in serious trouble.  Wright is a free agent and Conte is viewed as the goat for surrendering the winning touchdown against the Packers.  Finding replacements for both would be ideal to fans.  The options in the draft are intriguing.  Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix is a tall, rangy center field from Alabama who can read quarterbacks like a book.  Calvin Pryor is not only tall but big and athletic with a tough minded approach to tackling.  Either would grant so much more versatility and range to the back end of the defense and with that more playmaking potential.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Chicago Bears Ha'sean Clinton-dix Kony Ealy Marqise Lee

  • Jeremiah Collins

    Bears should trade first round to Cleveland no. 26 to gain their second and maybe a forth…

    Trent Murphy with first, Kyle Van Noy with Clevelands second, and with our second pick up Aaron Dotson, Calvin Pryor, or DT Johnson or of LSU…

    • Erik Lambert

      It would depend on who Cleveland is trading up for. However, based on pick value charts, a 2nd and 4th together with the 26th is actually more expensive than the 14th. More likely they could demand both of Cleveland’s third round picks in exchange since the point values are practically identical.

      Trent Murphy is a questionable pick to me. Not because he’s a bad player. Far from it, but because he doesn’t fit the Phil Emery profile. Murphy is a great pass rusher but he’s not a great athlete. Emery loves athletes and said in the final news conference of the season that he planned to get more athletic on defense. Van Noy and Pryor on the other hand are perfect Emery picks, fast and tall with good range. Johnson would be a huge help to their run defense and tackle depth. Who is this Dotson? I’ve never heard of him. Looked up the name and it says he plays basketball.

      • Jeremiah Collins

        I meant Aaron Donald, or even using those later picks on Chris Whaley or the free safety from Washington State

        • Jeremiah Collins

          You think it’s possible Van Noy can be our version of Cushing… The new MLB…

          • Erik Lambert

            He’s got the range and instinct. My question is does he have the bulk to take on and shed blocks? A definite possibility but given he’s been in a 3-4 in college, I’m not sure how he would handle the transition. The last time Emery tried that (Shea McClellin) it failed.

          • Jeremiah Collins

            I would love for us to pick up Stanley Baptiste in the third out fourth, but i don’t know if he’ll be available in the later rounds

          • Jeremiah Collins

            Or the other corner from Utah

          • Erik Lambert

            I assume you me Keith McGill. Big 6’2″ guy with decent athleticism. Fits the profile of the new age corner.

          • Jeremiah Collins

            Yes that’s him. So of my prospect list, how many future bears can you see.

          • Jeremiah Collins

            One last comment… Is there a chance we pick up Chris Boyd from Vanderbilt

          • Erik Lambert

            He’s an Emery type guy at 6’4″ with good speed but I would say it will depend heavily on when the kid is available. Fifth round or later I would venture it but not before.

          • Jeremiah Collins

            You think emery would gamble earlier in the draft on a player like Pierre Desier or Tyler Starr

          • Erik Lambert

            One thing Emery prides himself on is covering every possible basis, no matter where the talent is be it free agency, the draft or other leagues. His scouting department is huge, so you can bet he knows about those guys. Desir has great height and length for his position and though he plays at a small school is clearly a man amongst boys. He comes from a tough background, so he is dedicated to his craft. Starr on the other hand projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The news just came in that the Bears are retaining Mel Tucker, so don’t expect a switch.

          • Erik Lambert

            Well based on your first rounders, I would say Calvin Pryor makes the most sense but only if they trade back first for more picks, which I expect them to do. Then Aaron Donald in the second round and then Keith McGill could be a perfect option in the third provided his stock doesn’t go up too far.

          • Erik Lambert

            Kid is a ball hawk for sure. A lot will depend on how he does at the combine and pro days. Good performances may drive up his stock.

        • Erik Lambert

          Donald would be an ideal fit at the three-technique. The guy comes off the snap with an attitude and knifes into the backfield before the offensive line is usually ready.

          I haven’t heard much about Whaley in regards to this draft. His injury will impact his stock though it seems he had a strong impact on the Texas defense. If the Bears could get him later then I’d accept it. I believe the other one is Deone Bucannon who I have seen listed as strong safety at Washington State, another I’ve projected the Bears taking in the second or third round.