With still another two weeks to go until the Draft itself, it's perfectly understandable if you're Mock Drafted out. We've discussed the merits of candidates at each of the three major positions of need - defensive end, safety, cornerback - and it wouldn't surprise most of us to see all three positions taken early, perhaps even encompassing the first three picks.
With that said, there are other positions of need on the team which, while at first glance may not appear as urgent, will no doubt be weighing on Bears General Manager Phil Emery's mind. FoxSports.com analyst Peter Schrager's latest mock draft has the Bears going in a slightly different direction; with Justin Gilbert, Aaron Donald and Calvin Pryor already off the board he sees them taking Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley:
In a conversation at the League Meetings back in March, Mosley was compared by one league personnel man to Patrick Willis and DeMeco Ryans. The Bears could use someone like that in the middle of their defense.
He goes on to explain further this selection, reasoning that:
Linebacker play is a tradition in Chicago. Butkus, Singletary, Urlacher '¦ big shoes to fill, but Mosley could be handed the torch. I like this fit for Chicago. Mosley could play inside or outside and should be a tackle machine at the next level.
Schrager is not the only pundit to think Mosley could be the Bears' first-round selection, with Arthur Arkush also handing in his draft card on behalf of the Bears in his 7-round Bears mock draft. His reasoning goes:
Is anyone else as concerned as me about the prospect of Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic battling for the starting "SAM" linebacker position? Both are being asked to learn a new position and, frankly, neither was very good at the one they performed last season. They certainly can’t match the instincts and overall presence of Mosley, a three-down player with big-game experience and loads of playmaking ability.
Arkush highlights the fact that Lance Briggs - who is entering the final year of his current contract - isn't getting any younger, either:
Mosley is ready to start immediately. His ideal position likely is in the middle, but he’s scheme versatile and could handle strong-side duties until the expiring contracts of D.J. Williams and Lance Briggs must be addressed after the season. True, the Bears desperately need help in the secondary, but Mosley has the look and feel of a perennial Pro Bowler, and a special linebacker has been in the middle of so many great Bears defenses. They’ve yet to find a replacement for Brian Urlacher, and are on the cusp of needing to replace a second all-time franchise great in Briggs.
SBNation's Matthew Fairburn's Draft scouting report on C.J. Mosley says he grades out as one of the top 10 players in this draft class, and by far the best middle linebacker. You can see SBN's scouting [Video] on Mosley below. [EDIT: Also, Football Outsiders' breakdown of his game here.]
How would you feel if the Bears added the 2013 Butkus award winner to their linebacking corps with their first-round pick?
Arthur Arkush goes on to address the Bears' other needs, selecting Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, and Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum in rounds 2-4, respectively. Check his full mock draft for his thoughts on each of his selections.
ESPN's Todd McShay also has a mock out and, although it's an ESPN Insider article, we can at least bring you whom he has the Bears taking at #14 overall. Fear not, fans of the trenches:
14. Chicago Bears: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
This is a sprint-to-the-podium pick. Donald is a great value, as he's my 12th-ranked prospect still available at No. 14, and he's a perfect fit for the Bears' Tampa-2 defensive scheme as a 3-technique defensive tackle (which is the most important position in that scheme). He has very good snap anticipation and first-step quickness. Not only is he disruptive against the run and as a pass-rusher, but he also shows great finishing ability once he reaches the backfield.
Of course, nobody outside of Halas Hall knows if the Bears will be sticking with the Tampa-2 defensive scheme, but Phil Emery did say earlier in the offseason that the base defense would remain a one-gap one that makes use of quick-penetrating linemen to attack and disrupt... and Donald has shown himself to fit the bill.
Share your thoughts on these picks in the comments below.