Dec 16, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) makes a catch against Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Chicago Bears 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears: Does Chris Conte Loss Invite Trading Back?

Chris Conte being out until possibly the regular season has altered the NFL draft landscape for the Chicago Bears.  Does this further the idea of the team moving back via trade?

M.D. Jennings hardly adequate insurance for Conte

Conte being out for the next 4-5 months following shoulder surgery won’t cause Bears fans to lose much sleeper.  After all it wasn’t like he was the backbone of the defense but considering he was a key player for an already struggling position group, the news is not the most welcome.  Put simply the Bears have nobody of note to replace him aside from recent free agent signing M.D. Jennings.  The former Green Bay Packer started 26 games over the past two seasons but recorded just one interception and deflected just three passes.  He’s hardly an adequate fill-in for Conte, let alone an upgrade.

Phil Emery needs more young blood for defense in NFL Draft

The easy answer to this question is for the Chicago Bears front office, led by GM Phil Emery to find the replacement in the NFL draft.  The problem is simply taking a safety in the first round might not be conducive to the strategy Emery has planned.  After all, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the best name on the board at the free position and several experts believe he will be gone before the Bears pick at #14.  That would leave Louisville safety Calvin Pryor as the last true first round talent on the board.  While his ability is unquestionable, Pryor projects much better as a strong safety given his toughness, strength and ability to tackle and deliver fierce hits.  Besides that the Bears have lingering needs at defensive tackle, corner and even linebacker as well.  By shifting their primary focus to replacing Conte it could force them to miss a better player at another position.  This is where trading back might help the situation.

Extra Day 2 pick would allow Bears to fill two positions instead of one

The key to trading back in any NFL draft is about sacrificing favorable position for more picks.  Sitting at #14 the Chicago Bears have the luxury of a choice.  Based on projections they have an excellent chance to land a difference-maker if they stay put, but also might find some teams interested in moving up with a deep draft class waiting in the later rounds.  They could move back, get a solid talent such as Timmy Jernigan at defensive tackle or Kyle Fuller at corner and have an extra third or even second round pick waiting for them on Day 2.  That would allow Phil Emery to then address both the safety issue and whichever other key defensive position he deems necessary.  Top options like Marqueston Huff and Brock Vereen should be there for the Bears to scoop up in the second or third rounds while at the same time the defensive tackle and corner positions will also have gotten some needed attention.

Chris Conte was expected to at least keep the safety position stable for the Chicago Bears heading into the draft.  That is no longer the case, and a subsequent move should be expected.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Chris Conte M.d. Jennings NFL Draft Phil Emery

  • JadenStar

    I think it depends on who is there at 14. If Donald or Gilbert is there at 14, I think they just might be too good to pass up, even if trading down may be a good option.

    • Erik Lambert

      Really hard to determine. The more I heard the more I realize the quarterbacks might not be going as high as expected. That could impact whether Gilbert or Donald are there.

      • Jon feigenbaum

        Erik, A real sleeper at QB is Tom Savage from Pitt. He has the strongest arm of all the QB’s on the board.. Aaron Murray may still be around in the fourth round. He’s have been a first round pick , if he didn’t hurt his knee. Mettenberger from LSU may be available as well in 4 or 5.

        • Erik Lambert

          I’d be open to getting Savage for sure. I would take him in the 5th if he’s there. I also like Mettenberger and Murray along with Garrett Gilbert out of SMU. Don’t forget Jeff Mathews from Cornell either. Any of those guys would jump at the chance to learn under Trestman.

      • Big Swede

        The more you “hear” the QB’s won’t go high, probably means that they will. All the teams float hints and stories opposite of what they really intend to do, in hopes that it will influence other teams to change strategy or make a trade.

        This time of year, the NFL is full of more liars than a Chicago City Council meeting full of politicians. Don’t believe anything you’ve “heard”, because it’s probably some misdirection planted by some team hoping their preferred QB will fall right into their hands.

        • Erik Lambert

          On most cases I would totally agree with you Swede but in this case I just don’t know if we can expect more than two quarterbacks to go in the top 10 at most. Obviously it only takes one team, but at this point I just don’t know.

    • Jon feigenbaum

      Jaen, there WILL be a STUD waiting for the Bears at 14. At least 8 of the teams picking ahead of the Bears will be going offense.. YES they need a safety, but a solid one will be there for them in the second round. ONE of these players WILL be waiting for the Bears at 14 ;Anthony Barr, Kory Ealy, C.J. Mosley-probably the best overall athlete in the draft, Stephon Tuitt, Dee Ford, Timmy Jernigan, Aaron Donald (not crazy for him myself), -How do you pass on one of those guys for the line, if one is there at 14? Pretty hard not to. In the second round, the Bears should be able to snag Ed Reynolds, Jimmy Ward, Ahmad Dixon, Deone Bucannon, and a few others. If one of the impact linemen, or if by some miracle Mosley is still there, while he’s a linebacker, just TOO good to pass on. Briggs isn’t going to play forever. After the first 2 rounds, the Bears can go after a CB, QB, another backup lineman, and maybe a punter like Hornsey from Memphis.

  • Mike Flannery

    Hey Erik, why do you consider Brock Vereen a “top option” at safety? I also noticed you had him going to the Bears in the 3rd round of your last mock? I haven’t seen Vereen projected higher then the 6th round (CBS) anywhere else and most sites I’ve seen have him in the 7th-UFA range. Quite a few sites don’t have him listed at all in their safety rankings (Optimum Scouting, WalterFootball, SBNation, etc). I have Vereen going late in the 7th round and I see a guy that is too small (5’11 5/8, 199) to play his college position (SS) in the pros. He’s decent in coverage, but nothing special and not a strong tackler or hitter(imo). Vereen’s combine performance was impressive, but he looks like a special teams guy at best to me. Just curious why you are so high on him?