The 2014 NFL draft is at hand the Chicago Bears seem ready for it to begin. Here is the guide every fan can use to keep themselves informed about what to expect.
Top Position Needs
Most Frequent Mock Draft Targets
Aaron Donald – DT – Pittsburgh
Easily the best interior pass rusher of the 2014 NFL draft class. He has rare explosion off the snap and quickness that allows him to beat blockers before contact is even made. His game tape and combine workouts line up perfectly. The stock has never dipped once and he fits an area the Bears could use help.
Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville
It took awhile but experts have warmed up to Calvin Pryor. While not quite the coverage man that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is, he’s at least comparable in that area and he’s a much better tackler, blitzer and above all, hitter. He can light up ball carriers with violent collisions that set the tone for games. Something like that hasn’t inhabited the Bears secondary since Mike Brown.
Part of the developing lore surrounding the notorious Chicago Bears draft strategy is thanks to GM Phil Emery. Through two drafts he has shown a clearly different way of thinking in regards to his picks, often catching experts and fans by surprise. This has led to several fans seeking out what they call “Emery” guys. What is an Emery guy? Put simply he has to be a great athlete, versatile, fast for his size and possess a rare trait about him that sets him apart from the pack. So with that in mind, here are some possible Emery guys the Bears could target in the first round.
Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
He is the best athlete of all he cornerbacks in the 2014 NFL draft, and that’s saying something given how deep the class is. He’s big at 6’0″, blazing fast (4.3/40) and has terrific agility and vision that is showcased by his excellent return ability. The kid is a multidimensional player who can help a team in a variety of ways, something Emery would covet big-time.
Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
One might as well call Ra’Shede Hageman the 2014 version of Kyle Long. Like the Bears Pro Bowl guard he comes out of school relatively raw and not fully developed. Yet also like Long he is an absolute physical specimen. Hageman stands a rangy 6’6″, weighs 315 lbs, brings loads of power and can run like a tight end. He’s a true marvel of athleticism at his size and has a higher ceiling than any other defensive tackle in the draft. That’s of course dependent on if a coaching staff can get it out of him, the same question that followed Long.
Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
Another Long-type who comes out of college with limited experience. Anthony Barr will instantly have Chicago fans screaming “SHEA McCLELLIN!” because the 2012 first round pick was questioned as well. Why? He was considered a much better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, the same position Barr played at UCLA. There is one key difference. Barr is a much better physical athlete than McClellin. He’s bigger, longer and has the strength to handle offensive tackles. To top it off he might be the second best pure pass rusher in the class behind Jadeveon Clowney. The possibilities are wide open for him.
Deone Bucannon – SS – Washington State
One of those quiet risers only the experts have taken notice of. Deone Bucannon hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the hoopla. That can be understood since most projections see him going somewhere in the second round. However, the 6’1″ safety from WashingtonState has that look of a pro. He’s just as big a hitter as Calvin Pryor but bigger, plays the run well, and is rarely out of position. A knock on him is limited ability in coverage, though that might be a nitpick considering he finished his college career with 15 interceptions.
Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
Unlikely as it sounds there is always the chance, however slim that the Chicago Bears go offense in the first round. If they do, there is really only one name that would go on the card. That is North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. He is one of those new era safeties in the style of Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham: big, athletic and fast. The hands are there to make big catches and he’s strong enough to not go down easily. Imagine what he would accomplish playing next to Martellus Bennett, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
Best Trade Options and the Bait
New York Jets – 18th pick – Bait: Odell Beckham Jr. or Eric Ebron
A popular team in trade circles of late is the New York Jets. They have picks to burn this year plenty of incentive to move up for a difference-maker. Smart money says they seek out an offensive weapon to continue their overhaul on that side of the ball. Two names that repeatedly get tagged to them are Eric Ebron and LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. If the Jets don’t move up to a higher pick, there is a chance one or both of those players could be available at #14.
Miami Dolphins – 19th pick – Bait: Taylor Lewan or Zack Martin
They don’t have quite the cache of draft picks that New York does but the Miami Dolphins also have incentive to move up if the right player is within reach. Given the beatings Ryan Tannehill took last year, the Dolphins could really use more talent on the offensive line. Adding a big, athletic left tackle like Taylor Lewan from Michigan or a versatile technician who can play multiple positions like Zack Martin of Notre Dame would fit the bill.
Philadelphia Eagles – 22nd pick – Bait: Odell Beckham Jr. or Kyle Fuller
There is a key factor in favor of the Bears regarding a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sitting there at #15 they seem to have eyes for the same two players that Philly does is Beckham Jr. and Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller. If one of them is gone by #14, it stands to reason the Eagles might fear the Steelers will take the other one, so that would make Chicago a prime trade candidate.
San Francisco 49ers – 30th pick – Bait: Justin Gilbert or Odell Beckham Jr.
Clearly Odell Beckham Jr. is a hot commodity among several teams, and the San Francisco 49ers are included in that group. They also have a major need to fill at cornerback with somebody like Justin Gilbert fitting their defense perfectly. Also, unlike other teams, San Francisco is the most capable of making a significant jump up the board for a player they want. If the Chicago Bears can do some good negotiating they could come away with a quality haul of draft picks.
– Phil Emery always like to team free agency and the draft together. So it stands to reason after signing three new safeties in March that he will strike early at that position to maximize the competition.
– Jay Cutler got his payday and the coaching staff seems quite content with Jordan Palmer as the backup. So if the Bears get a third quarterback, it will likely be via free agency after the draft.
– Running back should see a considerable spike in interest when the second round begins. Don’t be surprised if Chicago joins that fray in order to find a long-term backup and eventual successor to Matt Forte.
– The depth at cornerback behind the aging Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings is very poor. Expect the Bears to use two of their seven allotted picks to bolster that position heading into the season.
Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Aaron Donald Anthony Barr Calvin Pryor Chicago Bears Deone Bucannon Eric Ebron Justin Gilbert Miami Dolphins New York Jets Philadelphia Eagles Ra'shede Hageman San Francisco 49ers