The NFL Draft is coming up soon, and just because the Chicago Bears don’t have a first round pick this year doesn’t mean they won’t be studying hard to find potential stars.
Here is the list of the Bears’ Areas of Concern going into the NFL Draft:
1) Wide Receiver—The Bears desperately need a big time receiver.
They have converted cornerback Devin Hester slated at the No. 1 spot, Rashied Davis, Earl Bennett, and Brandon Rideau in the mix at receiver.
The Bears should look at UNC receiver Hakeem Nicks, Ohio State receiver Brian Robiskie, Penn State receiver Derrick Williams, Florida receiver Louis Murphy, Cal Poly receiver Ramses Barden, or Georgia receiver Mohamed Massaquoi with the 49th pick.
2) Safety—The Bears let veteran safety and locker room leader Mike Brown leave this offseason. They brought in veteran Glenn Earl, who hasn’t played since 2006, and former second round pick Josh Bullocks.
Bullocks fell out of favor in New Orleans, where he started his career in 2005. Earl was a nice player with the Texans from 2004-2006.
The Bears really like last year’s fifth round pick, Zackary Bowman. He was injury-prone in college and he only played in one game last season with the Bears. They like his playmaker ability. If he can stay healthy, expect him to be a big help at the free safety position.
At free safety, Josh Bullocks is listed as the starter, while Zackary Bowman is his backup. At strong safety, Kevin Payne is listed as the starter, while Craig Steltz is his backup. I don’t know where Glenn Earl fits in.
Look for the Bears to go after a free safety in either the third or fourth round in the draft.
3) Cornerback—The Bears could use some depth at a position that was hit hard by injuries last season.
Charles Tillman is clearly still a starter, Nathan Vasher has been involved in trade rumors and is on a short leash, Danieal Manning will probably be the starting nickel back, Corey Graham really shined last season taking over for the injured Vasher, Trumaine McBride and Marcus Hamilton are reserves at best.
The Bears should look at loading up the cornerback position in the third or fourth round.
Players to look at are Brandon Underwood from Cincinnati, Jairus Byrd from Oregon, Sherrod Martin from Troy, and Domonique Johnson from Jackson State.
4) Defensive End—With the Bears having two fifth round picks, expect them to find a gem at defensive end. They found Mark Anderson there. He was good a couple of seasons ago, maybe Rod Marinelli can fix that.
Anyway, the Bears have Alex Brown, Israel Idonije, Adewale Ogunleye, Mark Anderson, Ervin Baldwin, and Joe Clermond at the defensive end position.
Expect Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye to start and Idonije and Anderson to come in with the rotation. Many were disappointed with the play of Ogunleye, but expect him to be much improved come the start of the season.
Israel Idonije slimmed down from his defensive tackle size to help out not only at the defensive end position, but also on special teams. Mark Anderson will hopefully have more than one sack. Alex Brown will continue his pro bowl style of play once again. I don’t know much Ervin Baldwin and Joe Clermond, but I know they both spent last season on the practice squad.
Players to look at the defensive end position are Kyle Moore from USC, Will Davis from Illinois, Phillip Hunt from Houston, and Orion Martin from Virginia Tech.
Other positions the Bears need to address are OT, DT, TE, and G.