Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Chicago Bears Should Trade Back in NFL Draft


Who they take at #14 has been covered but many still believe the Chicago Bears should trade back in the upcoming NFL draft.  Here is why they should.

Aaron Donald and Justin Gilbert are not can’t-miss picks

Pick #14 is the highest Bears GM Phil Emery has had yet in his tenure with Chicago.  Obviously moving back would defeat the enterprise of possibly landing a truly talented player, but then again the common saying is that every NFL draft is different.  The 2014 version isn’t the same as the 2013 or 2012 version.  At present two names top the board for Chicago heading towards May as the most likely picks if they’re on the board.  There is defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a dynamic interior pass rusher from Pitt who can supplement the Bears’ free agent additions to their front.  Then there is OklahomaState corner Justin Gilbert, a top-notch athlete with the size and instincts to play tight press coverage as well as provide great return ability.  His addition would add some much needed youth to an aging secondary.    Here’s the problem.  Neither player is considered a can’t-miss pick.  Donald has questions about his length that could make him a liability against the run.  Gilbert is so athletic but he seems to carry a soft temperament and doesn’t play very physical, particularly when tackling.  They would make great additions, but are they good  enough to override a potential move down in a deep draft?  No.

In the first round alone the Chicago Bears front office might be able to find equally good solutions to their problems at corner and defensive tackle.  Stephon Tuitt of Notre Dame and Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota don’t quite have the tape of Donald but both have the upside for the pros he doesn’t.  Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller isn’t quite the athlete Gilbert is but he’s smart, instinctive and plays much more physical in coverage and against the run.  Getting any one of them plus extra picks for later would be most beneficial.

Depth concerns behind Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett

Beyond that though is a problem that dogged the Bears last season that they can’t ignore.  Depth.  Poor depth across the roster tended to hit them at the worst possible times, especially on defense.  Obtaining extra picks in the NFL draft grants them a chance to add more young, talented players.  It’s not just the defense that would benefit either.  At present Chicago has seven picks in their arsenal.  Given the defensive requirements it’s likely the first four selections will go to that side of the ball, meaning it won’t be until the fifth round before the team can consider adding some help to the offensive side.  It’s true that side of ball is set with the starting lineup and all its talent, but there are some very real depth concerns to take seriously.  Nowhere is that truer than at running back and tight end.

Matt Forte is 28-years old and had the second-most touches of his career in 2013 with 363.  Former backup Michael Bush is gone, leaving the cupboard rather bare behind him.  The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, who had a great season last year but really is the only legitimate offensive threat at tight end.  Dante Rosario is a special teams ace and Matthew Mulligan is a blocker.  One injury to either player could really unhinge the entire Chicago Bears offensive attack.  That’s not even counting lingering depth worries at receiver and quarterback.

The point is the team has an excellent chance to build their back end of their roster with serious talent for the first time in years.  Seven picks in the NFL draft won’t help that cause much.  Trading back would change that.

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Tags: Aaron Donald Chicago Bears Justin Gilbert Martellus Bennett Matt Forte NFL Draft

  • trinity

    Trading back is an excellent idea in my opinion. Can’t wait for draft day to finally arrive!

    • Erik Lambert

      No kidding.

  • Eddie Currie

    I really hope the Bears are able to trade back this year. Save for Clowney or Mack falling to 14 for some bewildering reason, I think the Bears’ top priority should be to trade back regardless of who is on the board. Even if they trade back with San Francisco, Donald, Mosely, Fuller, Verrett, Roby, and Tuitt could all fall in that range come draft day for one reason or another. If all of them have been selected, the Bears can go ahead and grab either Ward or Bucannon and get their safety locked up and still have multiple 2nd and/or 3rd round picks to use. I like Trent Murphy heading into the draft and trading back could allow the Bears to draft him given that they have more options now. It’s hard to imagine the Bears using a 2nd or 3rd round pick on Murphy as things stand now. But yeah, if they trade back and grab a safety, take Murphy in the 2nd, and at worst still have two 3rd round picks to use on a CB and DT, I’d be a big fan of the possibilities.

    • Erik Lambert

      Murphy is interesting. At first I didn’t consider him because of his lack of his athletic ability but the more I watch him the more I compare him to a very specific player: Jared Allen. It really is crazy. They are similar in so many ways. Both are 6’6″ with large wing spans. Allen is a bit faster and heavier at 270 lbs but Murphy seems stronger and has more burst in his lower body. Neither beat blockers with speed but rather strength and relentlessness. Imagine putting Murphy under the wing of Allen. The old vet could show the kid exactly how its done, giving the Bears an ideal long-term replacement.

      • Eddie Currie

        That was my thought process exactly, haha. Comparing their combine stats is interesting. As far as learning from a professional goes, Murphy couldn’t ask for any better than Allen when it comes to refining his skill set. Plus if Houston ends up playing a majority of his snaps inside, then grabbing another DE early isn’t such a bad idea.

        • Erik Lambert

          It really comes down to whether Emery can look pas the lack of athleticism.

  • metalhead65

    while trading back sounds nice I don’t want them to pass on the chance to grab the best help their is for their secondary. for years they have waited until the later rounds and that got them guys like major wright. now is the time to get one of the best at safety or corner and they need to do it. they can pick up depth when other teams make their cuts and get experienced guys at those positions at a reduced rate. it is not like use the back up back to do anything more than run up the middle against a stacked line on third down anyway.

  • Buddy guy

    I don’t agree with trading back this year, I don’t want to trade back to get a second tier player in the first round I would hate to miss out Donald, Mosley, prior on the other hand I do understand this is a deep draft and there will be some diamonds in the second third and possibly fourth round but as usual we never know what Emery is going to do and I love that about this draft I can’t wait for me to get here

    • Erik Lambert

      You have to understand that for the first time in awhile the bottom of the first round players might be as good as the middle of the first round players. I understand Donald is the hot ticket, and for good reason. I also understand that for all his value he doesn’t have much upside, physically. Meanwhile I feel the Bears can get Tuitt or Hageman later on and their upsides blow Donald’s out of the water. Is it a risk? Sure, but that is what the extra picks are there for, to help compensate in case it turns into a bust. But if it works? Then not only do you have a winner in the first round but those extra picks to build the roster even further.

      • Buddy guy

        Maybe I’m just jaded because of the Jerry Angelo era as a life long Bears fan I can never remember a draft where we traded back and got multiple pics and had any of those pics pan out for us, I’m going to have to go back and research this I say get the best player available at one of our need positions I have a lot of faith in Phil Emery, just hoping for the best

        • Buddy guy

          I’m using Siri so forgive the miss spelled words

          • Erik Lambert

            Actually the most productive draft of the Angelo era was due to him having several picks at his disposal. In 2003 the Bears had 12 picks. Among them included Rex Grossman, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Todd Johnson, Ian Scott, Bobby Wade and Justin Gage.

            Another year was 2008 in which he had 12 picks. That year he got Matt Forte, Earl Bennett, Craig Steltz, Zack Bowman, and to a lesser extent Chris Williams.

            And Angelo didn’t have the scouting staff that Emery does. I just feel having extra picks will give the Bears a real chance to show what they can do.

          • Buddy guy

            Erik, I appreciate your knowledge for the draft but as you can see out of the 24 draft picks only about seven of the players and out this is why I say stay at number 14 and take the best available player! Don’t settle for a decent player when you can draft a great player

          • Buddy guy

            ****panned out

          • Erik Lambert

            Sure 7-of-24 sounds low but in baseball that’s a .291 batting average, which isn’t bad at all. And that was Angelo making those picks. Keep that in mind. My point is I’d like to see Emery, who clearly has shown he’s more aware than his predecessor, go to work with a similar situation. I’d bet good money he’d bring that average up considerably.

  • Buddy guy

    Sorry, I meant to say I can’t wait for May to get here

  • Jeremiah Collins

    You have to understand that there are no can’t miss picks in any sport. If the opportunity is there to infuse a team that was depleted with age and injury with youth and ability… The more the better… If we pass up on one player with ability to pick up five, why wouldn’t one do that.