October 13, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) tackles Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears Must Pair Aaron Donald With Jared Allen


Aaron Donald was a favored target for the Chicago Bears in the NFL draft.  Now they have to add him to pair with Jared Allen.

Henry Melton and Julius Peppers losses almost already covered by Bears

Going into the off-season all anybody could talk about was how Chicago planned to cover the possible losses of their two primary mainstays on the defensive line in Julius Peppers and Henry Melton.  It certainly stung for Bears faithful when Peppers went to Green Bay while Melton reunited with Rod Marinelli in Dallas.  Apparently these losses, which might’ve crippled other teams, didn’t phase GM Phil Emery.  Carefully and methodically he began to enact a plan to rebuild a defensive front that finished dead last against the run and rushing the passer.  Most expected the additions of Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, two young, quality defensive ends would be the primary maneuvers for the Chicago Bears front office as they looked ahead to the draft in May.  Then, rather curiously, news broke the team had adjusted the new contract of quarterback Jay Cutler to clear up $4 million in salary cap space.  Nobody understood why.  Chicago was comfortably under the cap at the time, sitting around $7 million available.  With no rumor in the winds it was puzzling why they decided to create more space.  Experts believed it was merely insurance space for the months to come.  Apparently not.  Just days later the news struck that the team had reached an agreement on a four-year deal worth $32 million with defensive end Jared Allen.  The move brings an All-Pro pass rusher to Chicago.  Allen has posted double digit sacks in eight of his ten seasons.  More importantly though, it creates an outstanding opportunity for the team come May.

Donald is the best interior rusher in NFL draft

Even before the Allen signing most experts saw the Chicago Bears as a perfect fit for Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the NFL draft.  The loss of Henry Melton created a void at the three-technique position, which is the primary spot for the interior pass rusher.  Donald, unquestionably, is the very best of the 2014 class at that job.  His explosion off the line and quickness showed up on tape in every game last year.  It was a big reason why he had 11 sacks and a staggering 28 tackles for a loss.  Nobody was better at getting into the opposing backfield.  So it’s not hard to see why the Bears would be interested.  Suddenly though the addition of Allen changes things.  Chicago has ever so slightly shifted from wanting to take Donald to feeling morally obligated to take him.  Can one imagine what a front of Allen, Lamarr Houston, Jeremiah Ratliff and Donald could do?  That’s not even counting the highly underrated signing of Willie Young.  Chicago would not only improve their run defense, as was the primary goal but they could undergo the largest turnaround of any team in the league in terms of defensive ranking.  Young and Houston led the league in pass disruption stats last year despite not posting many sacks while Allen had 11.5.  Throwing an explosive cannon ball like Donald into that mix borders on being unfair.

The Chicago Bears wanted to rebuild their defensive line to respectability.  They succeeded.  Now they must make it into terror.  Adding Aaron Donald will do it.

Tags: Aaron Donald Chicago Bears Henry Melton Jared Allen Julius Peppers NFL Draft

  • http://www.goodshepherdamericanbullies.com Goodshepherd Americanbullies

    agreed

    • Erik Lambert

      Yes.

      • brian mckendry

        why do people want a cb this year when he will sit on the bench we are not that good where we have the luxury to have our first round pick siiting on the bench, get one in the third and look next year, Donald would start right away, and we would have a dominant dl, we can get a starting safety in the second, I like d. buchanon, I don’t see us being a better team with a cb on the bench and quarles, who would you like donald and buchanon, or ha ha and quarles?

        • Erik Lambert

          Yes Donald would start right away, but it’s a fair argument to say that Justin Gilbert has way more athletic upside as a professional. Don’t forget the top three corners on the roster are over 30-years-old. The best young corner they have is Isaiah Frey, which is frightening. By grabbing Gilbert or Dennard they sacrifice an immediate producer for future security down the road. After their free agency moves they can afford it.

  • Dr. Johnny Nacho

    Things could get very nasty for that D-Line……A devastating front four makes the back four look better any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    • Erik Lambert

      Agree 100%. Add Donald in the 1st and then fortify those linebackers and secondary in the later rounds and you might even be able to save a pick or two for the offense.

  • joe

    Wow. North beware.

    • Erik Lambert

      That’s the idea.

  • Abiss

    Wow Erik. I’ve got wood.

    • Erik Lambert

      The fun is just getting started.

  • Dakota

    Honestly, whoever we pick I’ll be ecstatic about. Whether it’s Donald, Jernigan, Dix, Pryor, Gilbert or Dennard.

    • Erik Lambert

      Emery has made to where we can’t really lose with any of the picks. In fact we can feel much safer trading back if we wanted. My top four are Donald, Gilbert, Dix and Pryor.

      • Dakota

        Yeah he’s given himself a lot of flexibility. You like Gilbert over Dennard?

        • Erik Lambert

          I do. Much more fluid. Also faster with plenty of instincts in coverage. He also has the bonus ability to return kicks. Reminds me of Patrick Peterson.

          • Dakota

            Yeah he does bring more big play capability. I’d really like to see Dix, but Donald would make the d-line flat out scary. If they went with Donald, I’d like to see Joyner in the 2nd

          • Erik Lambert

            Donald is a nightmare to block one-on-one. If you don’t get a hold of him early, he’s on his way to wherever the ball is. I really like Joyner, but I’m not sure Emery would. He likes athletes with good size. That being said, the success of Tim Jennings and Tyrann Mathieu in Arizona would signal that there’s no reason Joyner can’t play if he’s protected up front, which he would be. The kid makes plays. I also like Deone Bucannon, Pierre Desir and Bashaud Breeland.

          • Dakota

            The knock on Donald is if he doesn’t beat the o-lineman off the snap, he has the tendency to get stood up and can’t get off blocks very well due to a lack of strength. I like Pierre. They could get him around the 4th or 5th too

          • Erik Lambert

            I doubt that. He’s had a good run of the Senior Bowl and combine. He’s 2nd-3rd in my mind. That is true about Donald, which is why they could go for Gilbert or Dix and then target Kelcy Quarles in the 2nd.

          • Dakota

            I’ve read that he’s falling back a little bit after his big surge up the boards. But I like Quarles a lot. He’s a stud in my opinion.

          • Erik Lambert

            You don’t get 9.5 sacks from the d-tackle position by accident. The guy has the size and length you look for. Another guy you can’t block one-on-one.

          • Dakota

            Yeah exactly. He’s notably bigger than Donald too if I’m not mistaken. He’s the reason I’m leaning towards wanting the Bears to take Dix in the first and then get him in the second

          • Erik Lambert

            Don’t forget the Bears had an extensive interview with him during the pre-draft process. He said so himself.

          • Dakota

            Yeah I remember reading that. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything frankly

          • Erik Lambert

            The beauty is the flexibility. Emery does this every year. He wants to get the team into a position where he can take the best players on the board.

  • SummontheStorms .

    Brilliant piece. If Donald is there, grab him! If not, then maybe Gilbert or Clinton Dix.

    • Erik Lambert

      Those are my top three. Can’t lose with any of them. With Gilbert you get an instant return threat who can learn from two Pro Bowlers in Peanut and T.J. With HHCD we finally get somebody on the back end who has instincts in coverage. With Donald we get a pest who will frustrate blockers every time they drop back to pass.

  • JadenStar

    It would almost be unfair, lol.

    • Erik Lambert

      All is fair in war.

  • Leo Mrls

    I say we get gilbert if the lions don’t get him or clinton dix or pryor. In the second sound we get DT and in the third we get another DB.

    • Erik Lambert

      Not at all opposed to that idea. Gilbert in the first, Kelcy Quarles in the 2nd and Craig Loston or Terrance Brooks in the 3rd would be most beneficial.