Day 2 of the NFL draft could prove just as important to the Chicago Bears resurgence in 2014. Here are some prospects they might target.
Deone Bucannon – SS – Washington State
Drawing comparisons to Seattle stud Kam Chancellor is quite the praise. Deone Bucannon is indeed an interesting talent. He’s built like a classic strong safety: big, long, tough and excellent at delivering “remember me” hits. However, that overshadows how proficient he is at taking away the football via the interception.
Jimmie Ward – SS – Northern Illinois
The best way to describe the NIU product is a safety trapped in the body of a cornerback. Tackling and hitting are two things Jimmie Ward loves to do but his greatest assets are his instincts and his range in coverage. Whether his body can withstand the pounding of a pro safety is the only real question mark about his game.
Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State
His 2013 season wasn’t very memorable but Bradley Roby remains one of the most physically promising corners in the 2014 NFL draft. He’s athletic, fast, and has enough size and fluidity to match up with receivers in man coverage.
Bashaud Breeland – CB – Clemson
Phil Emery said he prefers tough corners because that signals how tough the rest of the defense is. Bashaud Breeland is a physical defensive back out of Clemson. He isn’t a pure cover corner but he plays tight pass defense, is a good athlete and shows his dual-threat ability by making regular plays against the run.
Kelcy Quarles – DT – South Carolina
Consistency isn’t quite there yet for Kelcy Quarles but he looks like a pro defensive tackle already. He’s got the size and length coupled with a knack for getting after the quarterback, collecting 9.5 sacks in 2013 at South Carolina.
Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
Once considered a first round lock, weight and injury concerns threaten to drop Stephon Tuitt into the second round. The Chicago Bears can only hope. The Notre Dame product is immensely versatile with the size and strength to play inside but the speed and quickness to play outside. A rare type who can play anywhere on the defensive front.
Scott Crichton – DE – Oregon State
Nobody ever said you have to be a great athlete to be a great football player. Scott Crichton isn’t going to confuse defenses with where he lines up, but if a team puts him at defensive end and tells him to go get the quarterback, he will do it and do it very well.
Kyle Van Noy – OLB – BYU
A more natural 3-4 outside linebacker, Kyle Van Noy is nonetheless a gifted athlete with great speed and elite instincts. He can easily make the shift to a 4-3 and use his abilities in coverage and in blitzing to help the Bears in a variety of different facets.
Trent Murphy – DE – Stanford
If anybody can show Trent Murphy the way to success at the pro level, it’s Jared Allen. The two are remarkably similar types of players. Both are big guys but not quite athletic enough for outside linebacker and not quite big enough for defensive end. Yet both are proven pass rushers. Allen can show Murphy how to best use his long frame and relentless motor to get after quarterbacks at the pro level and Chicago may have another Allen in waiting.
Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Somehow, someway the Chicago Bears front office has made it so that taking a receiver is not out of the realm of possibility in this NFL draft, even as early as the second round. Donte Moncrief is one they have to at least consider. He’s another Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery type who boasts great size, deceptive speed and that above-the-rim mentality to go get the football.
Paul Richardson – WR – Colorado
By that same token one thing that is missing somewhat from the Bears passing game is a home run threat. Somebody who can take the top off a defense. Paul Richardson has good height and legit 4.4 speed. He really needs to bulk up but putting him on the field with Marshall and Jeffery would be a game changer.
Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
The same can be said for finding another tight end who can catch passes. Martellus Bennett was brilliant last season but there really isn’t a lot of quality depth behind him. Jace Amaro is definitely a possibility. He’s big, strong, adept at finding holes in coverage and boasting the hands to snare the football in contested moments.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TE – Washington State
However, if the Chicago Bears are looking for another “Bennett” type they may have to seek out Washington standout Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Where Amaro is more of a pure receiver, “ASJ” is a big athlete who can run and catch but also shows loads of potential as a blocker.
Gabe Jackson – OG – Mississippi State
Speaking of blocking, Marc Trestman has said his top priority is safeguarding the quarterback. That is done with pass protection and running the football, which require good offensive linemen. Chicago is pretty much set there but that should not stop them from adding to the well. Gabe Jackson is a powerhouse from MississippiState who can drive open running lanes but has good enough feet and quickness to stonewall pass rushers.
Ja’Wuan James – OT – Tennessee
How often can a team realistically find a left tackle beyond the first round of an NFL draft? Something to remember is that Jermon Bushrod turns 30-years old in August. There is no telling whether he might start to taper off sooner than later. The Bears would be smart to prepare for such an eventuality. Ja’Wuan James played his entire Tennessee career at right tackle but is a gifted pass protector, making him an ideal projection for the left side in the pros.
Tags: Austin Seferian-jenkins Bashaud Breeland Bradley Roby Chicago Bears Deone Bucannon Donte Moncrief Gabe Jackson Ja'wuan James Jace Amaro Jimmie Ward Kelcy Quarles Kyle Van Noy NFL Draft Paul Richardson Scott Crichton Stephon Tuitt Trent Murphy