After an exhausting and lengthy process, Phil Emery and his scouts are finally finished with the 2014 NFL Draft. On Thursday, the Bears came in with major needs to the following positions, listed in no particular order: Safety, DT, RB, and CB. In an effort to bolster the overall depth of the team, and add competition to positions of need, they managed to gain quality value in every player selected at Radio City Music Hall in New York, New York. Without further adieu, I shall now present my grades for each pick, and the draft as a whole.
Kyle Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech, Selected 14th overall - When the Bears re-signed Charles Tillman to a one-year deal, it was expected this would be the year an eventual successor would be selected to groom until the potential HOF CB's days are over. In comes Kyle Fuller, who many including the Bears feel is the best CB in this year's draft class, and will contribute immediately at both NB and Special Teams. Essentially, he's a slightly shorter but lengthy version of Tillman. And, coming from a program that has produced excellent DBs such as Kam Chancellor and DeAngelo Hall will only help his cause while he learns from being behind a pair of Pro Bowlers.
My Grade: A
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU, Selected 51st overall - Many people felt DT was one of the top two biggest needs before the draft started on Thursday. On day two, Phil Emery decided to go BIG while beefing up the interior, and selected an actual monster from the bayou. Immediately after the name was announced, this pick was criticized because some felt this was a reach, while other prospects with higher grades were still on the board. I never saw it that way, as he is a player the Bears absolutely need: a real space-eating NT that stops the run. He is also athletic enough to eventually play at 3-tech, but his best fit is as a 1-tech or even a possible 2-tech playing next to Jeremiah Ratliff, and potentially the Bears' next pick.
My Grade: B+
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State, Selected 82nd overall - Once again, Phil Emery pulled off a shocker in doing the double dip with the DT position, and selected a player that can turn into a serious steal. I had this player with a 2nd round grade, and had he came out for the 2013 draft, he could have even been a first rounder. In that same season, he recorded 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. That was also when he weighed around 285 pounds, and was then advised to gain weight. He ballooned to 320 pounds, and his production suffered greatly. Still, he is one of the most balanced DTs in this year's draft class, and a perfect fit for the Bears new-look defense.
My Grade: A+
Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona, Selected 117th overall - We've seen this before, talented prospects that fall in the draft due to off-field concerns, and are chosen by Phil Emery and his staff. In this case, the Bears needed to find a dynamic back to field behind star Matt Forte, and they hit a potential home-run with this pick. Carey has a unique blend of shiftiness and toughness that helped him shred defenses in the Pac-12 conference, in addition to being a dependable receiver from the back-field. Of course, there is risk in that he didn't have the best reputation with the law, and was once charged with assault on his pregnant ex-girlfriend. In addition, he was ejected from a basketball game following an altercation with a police office. The charges for assault were later dropped, though, and no other events have been reported recently.
My Grade: A-
Brock Vereen, Safety, Minnesota, Selected 131st overall - In an attempt to address a serious need at Safety, Phil Emery boldly traded back up into the 4th round to select the versatile DB from the Golden Gophers. Having played literally all four of the primary DB positions, he performed at a decent yet unspectacular level in his four year career. His production is low, and nothing about him makes me say "wow", but his intelligence and instincts are good enough to challenge for a starting job.
My Grade: B
David Fales, QB, San Jose State, Selected 183rd overall - This pick came in as a surprise to quite a few people, especially after the Bears' GM made statements in how he doesn't believe in developing late-round QBs into eventual starters. Well, with the first of two picks in the 6th round, a QB was indeed taken, one that will likely be in competition with Jordan Palmer to back up the Franchise QB, Jay Cutler. His arm strength isn't the greatest in the world, but his mobility and quick release will both fit quite well in Marc Trestman's system. He will definitely be a fun player to watch during the preseason.
My Grade: B
Pat O'Donnell, P, Miami, Selected 191st overall - If any pick made me say "WTF" this year, this one came pretty close to doing that. Normally, Punters are not drafted, period, and can be signed to contracts as UDFA. Once more, there is already a battle between Tress Way and Drew Butler for that position, so the thought of selecting a Punter at any point in the draft never once came up in my mind. Then again, Punters are people too, and his athleticism surely attracted Phil Emery. After all, he did do more reps on the bench press than first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, and comes in at an imposing 6'4" 220 pounds. Plus, he did pretty much lead the nation in forced fumbles from his position, so the title of "dynamic play-making punter" could be applied with this selection. I fully expect him to come in and win the competition at Punter.
My Grade: C
Charles Leno Jr., OT, Boise State, Selected 246th overall - To close out the draft, the Bears decided to pick up an additional player to develop on the previously re-built OL that can play any position in that group. Primarily an OT, he has the size to slide inside or out, even as a Center. Fortunately, we won't have to worry about him turning into a starter like what was tried with J'Marcus Webb, but it will be a major plus if he can eventually play himself into the line-up.
My Grade: B
Overall, after doing a great job in the primary waves of Free Agency, Phil Emery turned in what I feel is his best looking draft overall in his current career with the Bears. He never sacrificed value with his selections, and stuck to his board instead of trying to reach for a need. The additions of Fuller, Ferguson, Sutton, and Vereen will all bolster the defense in each of their respective positions, Carey will add another weapon to the offense, and O'Donnell should prove to be a major upgrade over Adam Podlesh. Leno Jr. and Fales will both add some quality depth to their respective positions as well. Simply put: a job exceptionally well done by Phil Emery and his staff,
My Overall Grade: A
You know the drill guys, sound off below and post your grades in the comments section. Bears Down!