Pundits will always say the NFL schedule does not dictate the draft. For the Chicago Bears that cannot and should not be true. Looking at how things shape up, more and more they are drawn to getting Aaron Donald if he’s available.
Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady among schedule road blocks
Lack of pass rush killed the Bears last season, often at the worst possible time. Losing Henry Melton to a torn ACL in week 3 had a lot to do with that, but so did a sudden decline from Julius Peppers. That is why GM Phil Emery made wholesale changes to the defensive line that included signing Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Their additions solidify the defensive end position while the re-signing of Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins give the tackle area some stability. However, Emery himself has said in order to bring that scheme together they need a proven pass rusher at the three-technique “under” tackle spot where Melton played. That is why draft experts continue to link them to Pitt standout Aaron Donald. Based on his tape and workouts he is by far the best interior pass rusher in the 2014 class. His explosion and quickness are rare despite some size limitations. Nobody can match his ability to shoot gaps and blow plays up in the backfield. Simple talent is one reason to take him, but Chicago has another.
That is their NFL schedule. Analysts would have some believe they actually have one of the slightly easier roads to the playoffs than other teams but anybody with eyes can see that’s dangerous thinking. The Chicago Bears will have to face some of the best quarterbacks in the game throughout the season including Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady at the top of the list. That also involves Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Colin Kaepernick. Can the Bears really hope to conquer any of those guys without a consistent pass rush? The answer is obvious.
Justin Gilbert and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have talent but not experience
Here’s another thing to consider regarding the Donald Question. Veteran quarterbacks, especially the best ones like Brady and Rodgers absolutely love playing against rookie defensive backs. Nine times out of ten a rookie isn’t disciplined enough to handle the speed of the game and the savvy of a top quarterback to pick the precise moments to attack them. Justin Gilbert is the most athletically gifted cornerback in the 2014 NFL draft and has a bright future. That doesn’t dismiss the fact he’s not a polished gem. He has loads of upside but can he help the Bears in 2014? Probably not. The same goes for free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Physically speaking he has more speed, range and instincts than anybody else at his position in the draft. That’s all fine and good but he’s still a rookie and his production at Alabama doesn’t reflect the ability he has. Aaron Donald has everything. He has the talent, the work ethic and the production to prove he can contribute immediately.
That is what the Chicago Bears need if they’re going to complete their mission of reaching the playoffs this season.