Bears Draft Weekend Possibilities: Linebacker

After covering some potential free safety, offensive line, and wide receiver draftees for the Bears, I'm left not really sure which other positions the Bears are a sure bet to draft.  After adding a TE, TE/H-Back, FB, CB, DE, and RB so far this off-season, and with QB no longer an annual need in Chicago, my best guess is Jerry Angelo will look at a defensive lineman at some point, because he has every year except oneAnd quite possibly a linebacker, because he's drafted one of them every year except his first in Chicago.

Drafting a linebacker is usually a safe pick for teams (just disregard Michael Okwo), because they are usually your better athletes and even if they can't crack the starting lineup they're sure to be special teams contributors.  Bringing in a guy to compete with Hunter Hillenmeyer and restricted free agents Jamar Williams and Nick Roach is something Angelo will more than likely do.  It's a must to push the veterans.  If one of their RFA's end up signing an offer sheet, they may choose not to match and add the draft choice. In that case a LB will for sure be drafted.  While I don't think they will go linebacker with their third round pick, Angelo might throw a curve-ball and go with best player on his board.

Third Round - Dekoda Watson, Florida State OLB 6'1" 226 - He weighed in at 240 at the combine but got back down to the slimmer 226 for his pro day which resulted in an even faster 40.  At the combine he ran a 4.56 (2nd fastest of all LB's) and at his pro day he ran consistently in the mid 4.4's.  He's exactly the kind of undersized Tampa 2 type OLB the Bears would draft, and after his speed display it wouldn't surprise me if he were drafted here. 

Fourth Round - A.J. Edds, Iowa OLB 6'4" 246 - Edds has been called the best 4-3 strong-sidelinebacker in the draft by most scouts.  He didn't impress with his times at the combine, but he makes plays between the lines.  His good size makes it difficult to get balls around him when he's in pass coverage, as does his good hands.  The converted tight end had 5 interceptions last season.  He's getting a 3rd - 5th round grade on most mocks.

Fifth Round - Jamar Chaney, MIssissippi State ILB 6'1" 242 - He had the fastest 40 at the combine of all linebackers with a 4.56, and was a LB top performer in 6 of the 7 events at the combine.  He's an athletically gifted sideline to sideline middle linebacker that was named defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl.  He may be a better fit in a 2 gap defensive system where a couple big DT's could keep blockers off him, but he has the speed to thrive in the 1 gap D the Bears employ.  He also has experience playing weak-side OLB.

Sixth Round - Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota OLB 6'0" 230 - He was already regarded as fast enough for the NFL after his combine numbers, but then at his pro day he improved his 40 to a 4.56.  He thrived at running back in high school, played safety at junior college, then OLB at Minnesota.  Some scouts think he may move to SS in the NFL.  He's a very athletic high motor player.  He's good in pass defense but his lack of height lets the bigger tight ends get position on him.

Seventh Round - Matt Mayberry, Indiana LB 6'1" 235 - The Bears are already scheduling a meeting with the local prospect.  After his pro day where he ran a 4.45 forty he's seen his stock start to creep out of the undraftable range.  He played MLB in college, but could play OLB in the NFL.  His speed could lead to him being a core special teamer. 

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