Chicago Bears' Initial 2014 Round-by-Round Draft Big Board
The draft season is beginning to heat up. The East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl are in the books, and teams are starting to formulate their draft boards.
Still ahead is the combine, pro days and free agency. These three events will drastically change the Bears' draft boards. Based on need and talent, we put together five players in each round the Bears will realistically look at.
Here is the first round-by-round draft board for the Bears.
First Round, 14th Pick
The Bears figure to go defense in the first round. They have holes along the defensive line and in the secondary. Expect Phil Emery to look for an impact player. If a guy he loves falls, he will draft him over a more pressing need.
1. OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr is the most dynamic edge-rusher in the draft. He figures to go in the top five, but if by some chance he falls to 10, look for the Bears to trade up and get him. He's the kind of impact player this defense needs.
2. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Not far behind in the edge-rushing category is Mack. He dominated the MAC with 75 tackles for loss and 16 forced fumbles in his career. He will likely not get out of the top 10 but will be on the Bears' radar if he does.
3. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St.
Gilbert is the best shutdown corner in the draft. The Bears should be interested in him given the unsettled situation with Charles Tillman. Gilbert is a big-time playmaker with return skills to match. He's in the mode of Patrick Peterson.
4. DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St.
The Bears were dead last in stopping the run last season. It makes all the sense in the world to plug in a run-stuffing tackle like Jernigan. He will likely be on the board when the Bears draft. The Bears will have to decide between him and the next player on the list.
5. DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
Injuries might scare the Bears and other teams away from Nix, but he was still a highly productive player. It will be interesting to see if the knee injury from which he's recovering takes away from his agility and athletic ability.
Second Round, 19th Pick
Alshon Jeffery and Jon Bostic were both surprises in the second round for the Bears. Phil Emery will look at every option available and take who he feels has first-round talent.
1. DE/DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
The Bears will likely show multiple looks on defense next season. Hageman is the perfect versatile player who can play in any defense. The hybrid defensive lineman has explosive ability that often has him on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
2. DE Michael Sam, Missouri
Julius Peppers might get released, and Corey Wootton is a free agent. The Bears need some depth at defensive end. Sam is the prototypical hand-in-the-ground pass-rusher. He has the size and speed to beat offensive tackles in the NFL.
3. FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville
There's no way Chris Conte will ever be allowed back on the Bears as a starting safety. The Bears will look to replace him, and Pryor would be the perfect choice. He tackles well and patrols the back end with precision.
4. CB Bradley Roby, Ohio St.
Roby is known for his great speed and ability to close on the football. The Bears could use another corner who forces turnovers and can keep up with the league's speedsters.
5. SS Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
Dixon offers immediate support in the box against the run. He's a hard hitter who will be an upgrade over the departing Major Wright.
Third Round, 18th Pick
The third round is where Emery likes to gamble. Brandon Hardin didn't work out. Who's the next player he will take a chance on?
1. WR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Thomas is slated to be a slot receiver who can do some special things in the backfield as well. With so much attention going to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears could look to take the pressure off them with a much different receiver.
2. RB Andre Williams, Boston College
Williams is suffering through some nagging injuries, but when healthy he's a strong and potent running back in college football. The Bears will likely turn to Michael Ford as the backup, but it could be tough to pass on the potential of Williams.
3. OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
Did you see the Senior Bowl? Ford had himself quite a ballgame with two sacks. He would be a great situational pass-rusher, especially if the Bears can't bring back Corey Wootton.
4. OG Anthony Steen, Alabama
Steen is coming off an injury to his shoulder, but he's a smart interior lineman who could be a starter down the road.
5. C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
The best center in the draft might be gone by this point, but he could be a great replacement for Roberto Garza.
Fourth Round, 17th Pick
Depth is the name of the game at this point. The Bears are looking for quality second-string and special-teams options. They drafted Khaseem Greene here last year who still needs time to develop.
1. DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles is a big run-stopper with some surprising pass-rushing skills. He had a team-high 9.5 sacks.
2. TE Xavier Grimble, USC
Grimble is a big target who could develop into a quality weapon opposite Martellus Bennett.
3. S Anthony Harris, Virginia
Harris is a value player who can play both safety positions.
4. QB David Fales, San Jose St.
Fales showed people he can throw the deep ball. In the Senior Bowl he took more chances than any other quarterback and played well.
5. LB Yawin Smallwood, UConn
Smallwood is an inside linebacker who was asked to rush the passer and cover wide receivers. He would be a great depth option and special-teams player.
Fifth Round, 16th Pick
When you get to the fifth round, you are looking to add more depth and hope you find a diamond in the rough.
1. OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami
Once a highly sought-after prospect coming out of high school, Henderson is looking to get past some off-the-field issues and prove he's mature enough for the NFL.
2. CB Keith McGill, Utah
McGill has the size and build similar to Richard Sherman. His heart and desire aren't Sherman-like, though.
3. DE/OLB DeMarcus Lawrence, Boise St.
Do the Bears dare take another pass-rusher from Boise?
4. FS Ty Zimmerman, Kansas St.
Zimmerman seemed to be at the right place at the right time. His 13 career interceptions rank third in school history.
5. DT Caraun Reid, Princeton
The Ivy League standout held his own against bigger-name players at the Senior Bowl.
Sixth Round, 7th and 15th Picks
When you get into the last two rounds you are looking for a player with heart who will push for a roster spot in training camp.
1. S C.J. Barnett, Ohio State
Barnett is a tackling machine who could provide some value on special teams.
2. LB Max Bullough, Michigan St.
It will be interesting to see how Bullough grades out when he talks to teams. The suspension situation is a curious one.
3. CB Ross Cockrell, Duke
Cockrell has a little Jason Seahorn in him. He's also not afraid to stick his nose in there and make a tackle.
4. QB Jeff Matthews, Cornell
Head coach Marc Trestman could fall in love with a cerebral quarterback with great NFL size and a big arm to match.
5. OT Billy Turner, North Dakota St.
Turner was a tackle in college but played mostly inside at guard during the Senior Bowl. The Bears are big fans of offensive lineman with flexibility.