At this point in the draft process, Aaron Donald has done everything in his ability to quiet naysayers. Earlier this week ESPN quoted the prospect as saying, "I thought I was a better player but making the choice, I felt I wasn’t 100 percent ready for the next level. I think I had not dominated enough on the college level." This is after a clean sweep in the post collegiate season award categories.
Aaron Donald is hard not to like at 14. What are the possible risks to this pick?
1a. Donald is not available
It would definitely be hard to put Donald in a Bears uniform if he's already been selected. The Giants look like a good fit for Donald's services and any team might find it beneficial to trade up and nab the playmaker before our pick.
1b. A trade down. ESPN Feb
Phil Emery was supposedly shopping picks at the combine. Unless Phil has recently fallen in love with Donald at 14, the prospect of more picks might be more enticing than the undersized spark plug at DT.
2. Safety taken instead.
Chris Conte might be the answer for the Bears current hole at FS. That was hard to type. Conte is a risk at this point and the best way to manage risk is by hedging exposure. Taking a FS like Clinton Dix or Pryor creates a preseason competition where Conte must not only prove to be reliable, but outstanding. Ranging safeties fall off sharply after the top two options in my opinion.
3. Cornerback selection
I think the probability of taking a corner early are smaller in comparison to an interior lineman or safety. There is some talent available early, but it might be worthwhile to choose a corner later that can be groomed to replace Tillman in a year (hopefully two).
4. The Murky Unknown
There exist an infinite number of outcomes for the Bears first selection. Perhaps Emery gets the an offensive player fall that is irresistible, Sammy Watkins? Greg Robinson? or defensive in Clowney or Mack? Perhaps Emery gets the urge to troll our fanbase and takes a player much further down ESPN's infallible draft board. Perhaps, Phil gets a Hamilton Bartholomew worthy trade offer! In any event there exists plenty of options for Phil at 14, but as a relatively knowledgeable fan Aaron Donald looks like the best option.
With the 51st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears select: Jimmie Ward
Assuming that an interior lineman is selected in the first round, the second round might present the Bears with a few enviable selections in the defensive backfield. Jimmie Ward was a playmaker at NIU. Had he played in a better conference, he'd be a surefire first round selection. I like his playmaking abilities as an in the box safety and I'd rather the free ranging safety position be a contest between Mundy and Conte. I believe Phil and Trestman were both at NIU's proday and hopefully it wasn't to just check out Jordan Lynch.
Risks to this pick:
1. Not available
Jimmie Ward might be taken by this point. Safety is definitely weaker compared to DT or WR and there are a lot of teams looking for safety help.
2. A different Safety is taken
Let's face it, I'm not a profootballscout. I have no insider knowledge of what the Bears intend to do. There are plenty of safeties that can be attractive in the second. Deone Buchanon, Ed Reynolds, Terrance Brooks, Dion Bailey, Craig Loston, and Ahmad Dixon are all names that come into play as Bears safety prospects in the second round. Each have interesting aspects to their game and each have weaknesses as any draft page can tell you. The only thing those sites or I can not tell you is what Phil Emery and his scouting department think.
3. Draft Board BPA becomes too desirable.
This can easily qualify as the number one risk, because if the team isn't high on Ward's grade there is no reason to draft him, but if a player like Ryan Shazier or Kony Ealy free fall and they grade out more favorably than Ward, then the pick might be easy.
4. Cornerback (or ILB)
There might be some nice picks available here in terms of corner. This matches a need as long as the value is there.
5. Offensive player selected
This starts becoming a reality for a pick in the second round.
In the third round of the NFL Draft the Bears select: Keith McGill
Keith McGill is big and grades out well with the bigger scouting sites.
At this point in the third, an offensive player starts to make a lot of sense for the Bears. Actually any player that grades out the highest makes sense, be it QB, DE, LB, RB, WR, etc. This pick doesn't need to start, hopefully, and can develop into a playmaker.