In the next few days, I will be doing this series breaking down my top three prospects for each Bears pick. I tried to be as realistic with the options, so there will be no Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher here.
1. Arthur Brown - LB, Kansas State
While Brown might lack ideal size (6'0 241), he does not play small. He's one of the best in this class in getting off blocks, and shows surprising strength when matched up against bigger fullbacks or tight ends.
A great pass defender, Brown will be able to handle running backs and slot receivers in man coverage in the NFL, while also capable of playing zone coverage with discipline and good instincts. Brown lacks ideal strength to take on offensive linemen in the run game, but he often uses his speed to beat the blocks and make plays.
Brown needs to add more strength and weight to play middle linebacker in the NFL, so he might be best suited for an outside role in a 4-3 defense early in his career.
While linebacker is not a huge need for the Bears with the additions of DJ Williams and James Anderson, the Bears still need to get younger and deeper at the position, and both of those guys are only on 1-year contracts. Arthur Brown is my top choice at the position, and should compete for the starting MLB job right away.
2. Jonathan Cooper - C/OG, North Carolina
Cooper is the most athletic interior OL prospect to come out in the last few years. He has extremely quick and light feet and great hip flexibility. North Carolina's offense made the most out of his athleticism by often using him as a pulling guard.
Cooper was a great pass blocker in college, and that should be his biggest strength in the NFL. Speed rushers are nullified by Cooper. He has a strong lower body with the ability to anchor against bull rushes.
In the run game, his best asset is his pulling ability. He is so fast looping around to hit blocks on defenders and seems to catch them by surprise with how quickly he moves to the next level.
The guard position has been upgraded in free agency with the addition of Matt Slauson and Gabe Carimi played well at RG when needed, so the Bears should be fine there. However, the center position needs to be upgraded, and if Emery believes Cooper can play there effectively, he should be high on the Bears board.
3. Tavon Austin - WR, West Virginia
The biggest playmaker in this year's Draft, Austin is a unique player. He was used in a Harvin/Cobb-like role in West Virginia, and the team that selects him in April should do the same.
Austin looks like a deep threat receiver who will stretch NFL defenses. He can burn secondaries with his explosive speed and will be a threat to score on any touch.
After the catch, Austin is dangerous. He has incredible start and stop ability with the ball in his hands. His vision after the catch is rare. There aren't many defenders that can catch Austin from behind, his playing speed is legit and he gets up to his top gear in a hurry. He's difficult to jam at the line because his first move is so fast.
The Bears have a solid group of wide receivers with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett, so Austin doesn't really fill a position need. However, Austin brings something that none of those guys have: elite speed and playmaking ability. Since Johnny Knox's injury, the Bears are in need of a speedy WR who can stretch defenses like Austin does. Emery loves playmakers, so Austin might be tough to pass up if he gets to #20.