Don't you just love NFL Mock Draft season? It's the time of year where fans get a renewed sense of hope for their team with the countless scenarios and speculations. I really get a kick out of the numerous rumors that are floated, the tests results leaked, and it seems that every draftnik has a reason for this guy to slip or for this guy to soar up draft boards. There's a lot of posturing going on by GMs and the draft itself is more often than not a crap shoot, but it's a fun one. I've loved the NFL Draft since the first year I realized it was televised. I'm talking back in the 80's with the solo ESPN coverage, where no one realized what a huge event it would become. So after pouring over some clips, the combine results, some scouting reports, and mock drafts, I've assembled what I believe to be a realistic 7 round mock draft for the Chicago Bears.
Now by "realistic", I of course mean the picks that I think Phil Emery will make, and I'm not going to get crazy and assume a guy like Matt Kalil will fall all the way down for the Bears to pounce on. I wouldn't be surprised to see Emery trade up or down and I do think he'll be active with some mid round trades. Acquiring more than 7 draft picks is probably in the cards, but I'll stick with the 7 general spots the Bears currently have for the sake of my mock.
1st Round - Quinton Coples , North Carolina, DE
I've seen mocks dropping him all the way to the 30's and others that are keeping him up in the top 10. I think he will slip a little, as teams won't want to take a top 10 chance on him, especially with other DEs that have 1st round grades. But this seems like a Lovie Smith kind of player. They swung and missed on Mario Williams, so I believe DE is high on their wish list. Coples has the athleticism, he has the skill set, and he would have a veteran team around him that could keep him focused.
2nd Round - Devon Still, Penn State, DT
I think this is a good draft for the defensive line, and that could push Still to the Bears in the 2nd. I've seen him mocked in the 3rd round, but this is a pro ready prospect that would fit in great on the Bears line. He has the size and strength to play the NT in the Bears D, but he does possess a good initial burst that would allow him to rotate at the 3-Technique DT at times as well.
3rd Round - James Brown, Troy, OG
Emery calls the NFL a big mans game, so I think he stays in the trenches and plucks an offensive lineman in the 3rd. Brown, a college left tackle, isn't even listed as a tackle by some scouting sites. Most project the 6'3" Brown to be a better fit inside at guard. He has the strength and athleticism to make the switch, but he may not be ready as a rookie. If the Bears can get his technique down at guard he can add solid depth as a rookie and push to start year two.
4th Round - Tommy Streeter, Miami, WR
Staying with the big man theme, the Bears could find a use for the 6'5" 219 pound Streeter. He's getting a 4th-5th round grade, but his measurables make him an ideal pick at this point for the Bears. There should be more polished receivers that are available at this spot, but none that has the size/peed/potential trifecta that Streeter has. He's a stretch the field, go up and get it, red zone threat that would contribute as a rookie.
5th Round - Michael Egnew, Missouri, TE
This pick might be a little wishful thinking, as he has a 4th round grade by some publications. But he's a receiving TE that may struggle getting off the line as an inline TE. His blocking needs work, but he did show a willingness to block at Missouri. He has value as a situational TE that can line up split out or in the slot ala Dallas Clark.
6th Round - Antonio Allen, South Carolina, SS
Allen wasn't a true safety at S.C. and that might hurt his draft stock. He played a hybrid safety/linebacker type rover position in college and is very good against the run. He played close to the line of scrimmage, but excelled in covering tight ends, so he has some coverage ability. At this point in the draft, the Bears would be getting a core special teamer that they could work in at SS.
7th Round - Garth Gerhart, Arizona State, C
I've seen him ranked as high as a 4th rounder and as low as a 7th, but centers have a tendency to slip in the draft unless they have the skills to play guard as well. Gerhart is limited athletically, and that probably keeps him at center in the NFL. He's a high motor player with good football savvy that will endear him to which ever team drafts him.
Be sure to check out Sam's post from yesterday where he takes an in depth look at a few 7 round mock scenarios for the Bears and make sure you stay tuned to Windy City Gridiron for all the Draft chit chat that you can stand.
And in case you missed it, the Bears awarded the Brian Piccolo awards today.