At the beginning of the off season, it was pretty much given that Phil Emery would have his work cut out for him in the draft. We needed a legitimate threat at wide receiver, the defense was losing a bunch of guys to free agency, the offensive line was an embarrassment, and Matt Forte was a free agent. However, three weeks before the draft, the Bears have addressed most of those concerns. Emery traded for Brandon Marshall (far more cheaply than anyone thought possible) and signed some depth at the wide receiver position. A few of the defensive free agents on the line have re-signed with the Bears, though Okoye seems to be on his way to the door. Although we lost our cornerback depth, the Bears signed 2 new depth corners this past week. The offensive line is still the same as it was last season, although Gabe Carimi is coming back from Injured Reserve. Matt Forte was given the franchise tag, so he's no longer a free agent (but he's still being a whiner).
The Bears have positioned themselves well enough that they can draft the best available player on April 26. Here's my take on why:Wide Receiver- The Bears now have 2 good wide receivers in Brandon Marshal and Earl Bennett. They have Devin Hester, who can play wide receiver but hasn't been panning out as the elite WR they were hoping he could be. After Hester, they have 3 back-ups in Dane Sanzenbacher, Devin Thomas, and Eric Weems, none of whom have shown themselves to be starting WRs in the NFL. There is certainly room for improvement in the Wide Receiver corp (I'd like to see another good 6 ft.+ wide receiver), but the depth of this year's WR draft class means that we don't need to reach for one in the first round if Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd have already been taken.
Offensive Line- The offensive line has been offensive for the past few years. However, this year we will get a couple of first-round picks back from injury in Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. I expect some improvement on the line simply because of the addition of Carimi. J'Marcus Webb leaves something to be desired at left tackle (like decent performance), but Tice still holds out hope for him. The revolving door at the interior spots isn't the best, but it can survive. Bottom line: We need help, but the OL class is also deep enough that we don't need to reach for Adams if Kalil, Reiff, and Martin are off the board and they don't think that Adams is their guy in the first.
Tight End- Now that we have an Offensive Coordinator who will utilize tight ends, it would be nice if we had a good tight end or two. I hope that Kellen Davis will be able to become that tight end in Tice's system, and that Matt Spaeth will develop into a good tight end also. Even still, if they think Coby Fleener is an elite TE, and there isn't any top talent left at positions of greater need, I think he would be an improvement over our current TEs.
Running Back- Our back-up running backs didn't exactly pan out last year. However, I don't think that will be a problem with Bush. Assuming that the Forte situation gets settled, we should have an awesome RB tandem. If Trent Richardson were to fall to us, however, we should certainly take him; there's always room for another elite RB, and he would give them leverage in the Forte negotiations. But RB isn't a need in the draft.
Quarterback- Last year, we didn't have a single back-up for Jay Cutler. Now we have 3 (including Enderle). We don't need to draft any QBs this year, and I doubt any elite QBs will be left on the board at #19.
Defensive Line- The defensive line will be losing some depth without Okoye, but I'm hoping that Stephen Paea will be able to step up. Peppers could use another beast opposite him, but re-signing Israel Idonije makes it less pressing for us to draft a top Defensive End. If our guy isn't there in the first round, there are at least a few developmental players we could pick up in later rounds.
Linebacker- With 2 future Hall of Famers banning the backfield, I don't think we have anything to worry about. Our depth at the position isn't exactly up to Urlacher and Briggs' level, but how many players are? If a top LB talent like Luke Kuechly falls to us, we can draft him and put him in the third LB slot and groom him as Urlacher's successor, but we don't need an elite LB in the first this year.
Defensive Secondary- Better play from the D-Line will improve the play by our corners and safeties. We have the depth we need, and our starters are pretty good (especially if we see further development from Major Wright). We don't need to draft for depth, though we can certainly take an elite DB if he is there.
So while we have needs (my opinion: WR, OL, DL in that order), there is enough draft depth at those positions that we don't need to reach for someone in the first round.