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.
Chris Borland – MLB – Wisconsin
Round 3 could be the point where the Bears start to look at less needy but still important positions. Linebacker certainly qualifies, especially in the middle. Jon Bostic was a bust at that position and D.J. Williams is at best a temporary solution. Chris Borland gets knocked on a lot for not having the ideal size or speed, but the Wisconsin product retains enough athleticism coupled with elite instincts and leadership to compensate. His motor never stops and he has a knack for making big plays when needed most.
Yawin Smallwood – MLB – Connecticut
New defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni should know all about Yawin Smallwood. He was his head coach at Connecticut after all. Smallwood is a good athlete with the straight-line speed to be a factor in coverage. He also showed he could impact the passing game by blitzing too. His instincts aren’t the greatest but his upside and versatility are good.
Jordan Tripp – OLB – Montana
“Tone-setter” is a good word to use with Jordan Tripp. He comes from a small program at Montana but plays like it’s the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama. Great motor, work ethic and instincts. He has a special teams temperament and long snapper experience. The intelligence is there to play the middle but he also has the length and smoothness to kick outside. Highly versatile.
Telvin Smith – OLB – Florida State
People get on Telvin Smith about the fact that he weighs just 218 lbs, which is light for a linebacker. Newsflash: Jack Lambert weighed just as much and he wasn’t the athlete Smith is. The FloridaState sleeper is a natural. He flies sideline to sideline and makes plays in coverage and against the run. Brings loads of energy and leadership. In a pinch he even has enough speed to play safety.
Kareem Martin – DE – North Carolina
A raw but impressive-looking talent out of North Carolina. Kareem Martin has the length and size the Chicago Bears are looking for in their defensive linemen. He flashed constantly as a pass rusher and has the strength to improve as a run defender. What he needs is coaching. Talent is not the problem.
Ego Ferguson – DT – LSU
One of those rare defensive tackle types who double as a run defender and pass rusher. Ego Ferguson has the size and strength to plug running lanes but the bend and closing burst to shoot a gap and sack the quarterback. Loads of potential in his game. Also in need of a lot of polish.
Marqueston Huff – FS – Wyoming
Phil Emery seems to gravitate towards athletes, especially ones who stick out at the Senior Bowl. Wyoming safety Marqueston Huff fills both requirements. Coaches were impressed with his agility, intelligence and range during the Bowl week, often referring to him as a cornerback who played the safety position.
Rashaad Reynolds – CB – Oregon State
Instincts, fluidity, speed and athletic ceiling are all key to finding a good cornerback. Hawaii Bowl MVP Rashaad Reynolds has it all. He’s a complete player, flashing equally well against the run and pass. Special teams success is part of his profile as is smarts and durability.
Bruce Ellington – WR – South Carolina
Star power is not lacking for the Chicago Bears at wide receiver, but depth is. At present they have no real reliable substitutes if one of those studs goes down, let alone a quality option in the slot. Bruce Ellington can help solve both problems. Yes, he’s only 5’9″ but that didn’t stop Wes Welker from dominating. Ellington is even faster and more athletic than the All-Pro. Ridiculously dangerous with the ball in his hands.
C.J. Fiedorowicz – TE – Iowa
Another depth concern for Chicago is tight end. Martellus Bennett was great in 2013 but one injury to him and the team has really no body to replace him. C.J. Fiedorowicz can. The Iowa standout mirrors Bennett because the only thing that overshadows his good receiving traits is his blocking ability. A true two-way threat who would thrive in the Trestman offense.
Jack Mewhort – OT – Ohio State
Jordan Mills was a solid find for Chicago in the previous draft and deserves another year to maintain his hold on right tackle. Still, there is never harm in adding competition, especially some that might be more talented. Jack Mewhort is bigger and stronger than Mills. He played left tackle at OhioState but has the athletic versatility to kick inside to guard or over to the right side. Also quite vocal and a leader in the locker room.
Terrance West – RB – Towson
Finding depth and perhaps even a successor to Matt Forte can’t be ignored by the Chicago Bears in this NFL draft. Finding quality running backs in the third round or later is much easier than other positions. A great one to start with is Terrance West. His sheer will, along with talent propelled the Towson to domination in the FCS. He’s a power runner despite his 5’9″ size but retains good agility and the hands to factor in the passing game.