Chris Conte is the last safety drafted by the Bears. He might be the team's best safety. Is safety a need position for the Bears yet again?
The Bears have had a pretty solid offseason, haven't they? But there's still plenty of work to do, especially with the draft coming up in about two weeks.
However, when it comes to the draft, we're usually focusing on the high rounds, and the obvious needs such as defensive end, defensive tackle, offensive line; is so-and-so worth a first-round pick, who's overrated, and how can we get the draft to fall so the Bears get Andrew Luck (Okay, so that one hasn't been done...). But let's take a look at some of the other positions and what else the Bears could do.
To start off... I think safety might actually be a bigger need than we think, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised to see a second or third round pick (again) spent on the position. Over the last two years the Bears have spent two third round picks on the position - Major Wright in 2010 and Chris Conte in 2011. Those are the two key survivors of a safety situation that saw the release of Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather, and are the only safeties remaining on the roster in addition to Winston Venable and Craig Steltz, who is serviceable playing up against the run but doesn't have true safety range and speed. With the position so thin, the Bears will add a few free agents, but they should also be looking for a draft pick here too. It's not a strong class for safeties by any stretch - but possibly Janzen Jackson or Markelle Martin in the 5th wouldn't be too bad.
I'd also expect them to add a linebacker in the draft. If may not be a Luke Kuechly in the first round, but another body able to play two downs or offer the ability to play the middle of the Tampa 2 couldn't hurt. It's been well documented that Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are getting older (hell, it was one of my first posts here), but while both are still high-caliber starting linebackers, the Bears don't need to draft one high.
Tight end's still a possibility, as I like Kellen Davis (led the team in touchdown catches) but I don't see a reason the Bears can't improve the position. Between Deangelo Peterson (fifth round), Ladarius Green, Orson Charles, and Dwayne Allen, there's some solid mid-round talent available. I'd expect the Bears to try to get in on that.
Cornerback isn't as big a need anymore with the signings of Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite, but the Bears could still use another pick at this position to further create competition for the number 2 spot and the nickel, and build depth for when Charles Tillman is eventually done. Omar Bolden or Josh Norman might be available in the fourth.
I don't see the Bears spending a pick at running back unless it's to provide insurance for Matt Forte and Michael Bush, or to provide a replacement for Kahlil Bell. There might not be a low-round pick that matches what Bell can do, and a high-round pick might be wasted on emergency-back duty. I would understand if they took a high-round running-back as depth/developmental (like a second-rounder), but for a club that's ready to win now, I don't see it.
And I don't see them spending a fifth or sixth round pick on a quarterback. The Bears will essentially have four quarterbacks for three spots going into camp, and only two of Jason Campbell, Josh McCown and Nathan Enderle will have the honor of holding Jay Cutler's clipboard.
What do you guys perceive as the most necessary of the less-publicized needs of the team?