I'm not even going to bother looking at the strong safety types. Not because I think Jerry Angelo won't draft one, I'm sure he will, but because I just think there are enough on the roster right now. I forget who said it and where, but someone commented in a thread about the Bears scheme having interchangeable safeties, and to paraphrase the comment, 'in the Bears system you do have interchangeable safeties, but you'd like them both to have free safety skills, not strong safety skills.' That about hit the nail on the head.
Finding a safety that can cover some ground is critical for the 2010 season. The effect of Julius Peppers and an improved pass rush can hide a lot of warts in the secondary, but not all of them. They need a player with good straight line speed, but athletic enough to quickly change direction and to make a play on the ball. Someone with experience and the instincts of playing away from the line of scrimmage would be nice too.
Again this isn't my mock draft for the Bears, just a round by round look at some potential players they may target.
Like I did with the offensive line, I'll only spotlight some fresh prospects. Before the NFL Combine I looked at Kam Chancellor & Myron Rolle HERE, and Jonathon Amaya, Robert Johnson, Nick Polk, & Eddie Hicks HERE. Then after the Combine I touched on Chancellor & Rolle again briefly (both ran like strong safeties), and Major Wright & Myron Lewis HERE. Wow, I already looked at 8 possibles in the talent pool, now on to some new prospects.
Third Round - Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech S, 6'1" 209 - Another player that is being talked about at both safety positions in the NFL. He didn't do the drill work at the combine due to a hamstring injury, but at his pro day he ran a 4.45 forty. That number moves him into the FS column on most scouts clipboards, and unfortunately it may move him into the 2nd round. If he's available in the 3rd, he's the kind of guy the Bears would take.
Third Round - Darrell Stuckey, Kansas S, 5'11" 205 - The NFL combine listed him as a FS, Walter Football lists him at S, and fftoolbox.com lists him as a SS, most scouts are torn on where to pu thim, some even dropping the "tweener" label on him. Knowing Jerry Angelo like we all do, this makes Stuckey a prime candidate to become a Bear. He has the physicality of a strong safety and he erased questions about his speed when he ran a 4.49 forty. His stock is rising after running well, and he may shoot out of the Bears reach, but if he's there in the 3rd he could be the pick.
Fourth Round - Donovan Warren, Michigan CB/FS, 5'11" 193 - Played mostly corner at Michigan, but as soon as he ran a 4.67 forty at the combine all scouts saw was a free safety. I've seen some reports calling him a 1st round talent had he stayed for his Senior year. As it is he'll be a mid round pick. If he ends up with a team that prefers zone coverage from their corners he might end up staying at CB. One thing every scout agrees on about him is his toughness. He a physical player that will work hard to improve at the NFL level. His Godfather is former Bears safety Mark Carrier.
Fifth Round - Kurt Coleman, Ohio State S, 5'11" 192 - Most scouts think he's too small to play strong safety in the NFL, and a bit slow for corner, so his natural fit should be as a free safety, even though he had three years starting at SS in college. Coleman ran a 4.52 forty at his pro day, which now has many scouts firmly thinking free safety. He had 9 picks the last two years and is thought to have good ball skills in zone. His teammates voted him the 2009 Ohio State MVP.
Fifth Round - Terrell Skinner, Maryland FS, 6'3" 214 - He only put up a 4.62 forty at his pro day, but his height and 6'9" wingspan has scouts keeping him at FS. He gets the 'jack of all trades, master of none' label from some scouts, as no part of his game really stands out. He struggled when asked to cover a WR man to man at the Senior Bowl practices, but that isn't his game and wouldn't be what the Bears ask him to do in their defense. The converted wide receiver is a willing tackler and on film at least, is quick to react in run support and in zone coverage.
Sixth Round - Chris Maragos, Wisconsin FS, 5'11" 200 - No NFL Combine invite for Maragos, so he had to impress at his pro day to leave his mark in scouts eyes, and he did just that. His 4.47 forty was the biggest eye opener, although scouts like his positional work as well. Before his pro day he would have been lucky to get drafted, so now teams will need to go back and re-watch some of his film to see what they may have missed.
Seventh Round - Kendrick Lewis, Mississippi, FS 6'0" 198 - Before the combine he was tabbed around the 4th round range, then after running a slow 40 (4.72) he's seen his stock plummet. This is a perfect example of the combine being an inexact science. Scouts say he plays fast on film, then his times say otherwise. Scouts like the leadership skills of the '09 team captain, but that just doesn't translate in a combine setting. If he does last til round 7, he'd be worth the pick.