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.