Debates rage on about where the Chicago Bears will go in the first round of the NFL draft. Here is why defensive back should be the heavy favorite.
Aaron Donald is the only true option at #14 for defensive tackle
Defensive tackle is certainly at the top of the list of needs for the defense. With only three players at the position currently on the roster, all of them coming off injury-riddled campaigns in 2013, it makes perfect sense to see a need for another young body. The problem is there is really only one defensive tackle on the board who is worth the 14th pick, and that is Pitt standout Aaron Donald. While the Bears would likely take him if he were there, most experts agree the young interior pass rusher will be gone by that point. The remaining names at the position hover between the late first and early second round range.
C.J. Mosley and Anthony Barr have red flags
So what about linebacker? Two names that dominate the discussion for the 14th pick are C.J. Mosley from Alabama and Anthony Barr of UCLA. Mosley was an athletic, instinctive and consummate leader for the Crimson Tide who can do just about anything on the football field from tackle to play coverage. Barr is one of the most naturally gifted pass rushers in the entire 2014 draft class with great speed, agility, length and power. The problem is Mosley was dogged quite often by injuries in college, something that could get even worse in the pros. Barr meanwhile is extremely raw as it is, never mind the fact he played in a different scheme for the Bruins.
Mel Tucker was a defensive back as a player
Another reason the Chicago Bears could lean towards a defensive back is by nature of their defensive coordinator. Before entering the coaching ring, Mel Tucker played both corner and safety in college. After that he rose up the ranks of college coaching primarily as a defensive backs specialist at stops like LSU, OhioState, and Miami of Ohio before doing the same at the pro level with the Cleveland Browns. It’s only natural he’d see the value of having a strong secondary and would perhaps know how to better execute an effective defense in that manner.
Calvin Pryor and Kyle Fuller among a big list of options
Lastly, and perhaps most important, the Chicago Bears front office will see a much higher collection of quality talent to choose from at defensive back than any other position. Names like Calvin Pryor, Kyle Fuller and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are repeatedly shown to likely be available with the 14th pick. That is not only good because the Bears can pick the best available of that group but it also might enable them to make a trade back in the first round for more picks and still be able to get a guy they want.
Let’s not BS anybody. Bears fans know full well there is no winning the NFC North division unless a team can hold down the Green Bay Packers and their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. His nightmare hold over Chicago was perfectly captured in that fateful deep ball on 4th and 8 at Soldier Field last season, scoring the touchdown that once again ended the season just short of the playoffs. There will be no slackening of the explosiveness in the Packers passing attack. So that means doing the utmost to counter it. The Bears have already added pass rushers in Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. Now they need guys who can match up with Rodgers’ receivers.
If anything else, a compelling final argument is that the Chicago Bears franchise has not selected a defensive back in the first round of a draft since Walt Harris in 1996. He became a Pro Bowler.