Another week closer to the highlight of the football off-season. Here is my latest Chicago Bears NFL mock draft.
Round 1 – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
The more and more I hear from the top draft experts, the more I’m convinced if that if the Bears want a difference-maker at safety they’ll have to get him in the first round. Those holding out hope to grab Deone Bucannon later on need to throttle back because it’s very likely he won’t make it past the top ten picks of the second round. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the best coverage safety in the 2014 class. He has the length to cover tight ends, the agility to change directions and the instinct to track where the quarterback will go with the ball. He’s a clear upgrade over Chris Conte.
Round 2 – Phillip Gaines – CB – Rice
Phil Emery loves athletes. That much has been made clear by his two previous drafts for the Chicago Bears. So he’ll definitely have taken notice of Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines. The kid had an outstanding scouting combine and shows on tape that he plays equally well in a zone or press scheme. He’s got good height and length and makes it difficult for quarterbacks to throw his way. Teammates respect him and he has a great work ethic to go with his talent.
Round 3 – Ego Ferguson – DT – LSU
Taking any player in the third round means there are questions about him. The same is true for Ego Ferguson. From a pure talent standpoint he might be one of the best defensive tackles in this or any NFL mock draft. He’s big, long, explosive and powerful. Scouts agree he has the athletic ability to play either interior position be it nose tackle or pass rusher. Still, people are wary of his inconsistent motor and lack of development from a technique standpoint. He clearly needs work, but if the light goes on his ceiling is way high.
Round 4 – Christian Jones – ILB – Florida State
Sticking to the athlete principle, the Chicago Bears must have their eyes on Christian Jones. The FloridaState linebacker has everything going for him from speed to length to fluidity. He is an ideal fit for their defense in that he not only tackles and tracks ball carriers but has what it takes to drop back in coverage and make plays. The primary problems listed with him are regarding technique such as body position or hand usage.
Round 5 – Rajion Neal – RB – Tennessee
At some point towards the second half of the draft the Bears will likely start looking for depth help on offense. Matt Forte is turning 28-years old and comes off a season in which he had over 360 touches. Those are two facts that can often lead to a letdown, so the team must look to bolster the position with some youth. Rajion Neal has the skill set to fit their scheme. He’s big and strong enough to run between the tackles and plays like a natural as a receiver out of the backfield.
Round 6 (f/TB) – Marcel Jensen – TE – Fresno State
Emery has shown he doesn’t mind taking chances on raw talent late in drafts. Marquess Wilson was a perfect example from 2013. Given the depth concerns at tight end, Marcel Jensen of FresnoState represents another promising opportunity. Having played in a spread scheme, Jensen was primarily a blocker for the Bulldogs but further tape evaluation shows a big, gifted athlete with good speed and underrated hands. Properly nurtured by a good coaching staff he could become a surprise offensive weapon in the future.
Round 6 – Jeff Mathews – QB – Cornell
Jay Cutler is the man now but last year proved that having a competant backup is vital to competing. The Chicago Bears lost Josh McCown to TampaBay, leaving them with the unproven Jordan Palmer as the lone option behind Jay. That can and should change in draft. According to head coach Marc Trestman he wants a smart, team player who can step in right away and makes good decisions as his backup. Jeff Mathews out of Cornell has some questions about his long-term upside but scouts rave about his intelligence and his ability to command a huddle. His work ethic is outstanding and there is enough talent there to become a very capable backup at least.