With only two players at the linebacker position currently under contract, I can honestly say I have neglected the need of linebacker depth on this Chicago Bears roster. The Bears have two of the best LB in the league in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but those guys are getting up there in age. LB is not a pressing need compared to other positions like OL, DT, CB, and WR. Also with Briggs and Urlacher having maybe 2-3 years of high productivity left, and either Pisa Tiniosomoa or Nick Roach coming back along with Brian Iwuh and Rod Wilson makes it less likely the team selects a LB in the first 3 rounds. Even with the potential of 5 players being back at that group, the Bears will need one or two more players to compete with Roach at SLB or be Brian Urlacher's understudy at MLB.
This edition of the Chicago Bears draft board will focus on the top 15 prospects at OLB and MLB that can fill the void the Bears have at LB.
Akeem Ayers ILB/OLB UCLA- The best overall LB in the draft, Ayers will be on many teams radar in the 1st round and wouldn't be surprise if he's on the Bears. Akeem Ayers Highlights
Martez Wilson ILB Illinois- Like Ayers, Wilson can play in just about any defensive scheme either outside or inside. His glaring strength is his ability to get off blocks from lineman when blitzing, but he also has that sideline to sideline speed that would make him a fit in the tampa-2. Martez Wilson Highlights
2nd to 3rd round
Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina- Carter played in a 3-4 at North Carolina, but scouts feel that he's best suited as an OLB in a 4-3. In Lovie's scheme, Carter's athleticism and tenacity will fit at the strong side LB position. Bruce Carter Highlights
Greg Jones ILB Michigan State- Jones is an outstanding middle LB who's always around the ball. Jones would make a great heir apparent to Brian Urlacher when he decides to hang it up.
Quan Sturdivant ILB North Carolina- I honestly look at the talent North Carolina is producing in this year's draft and ponder if they would had stayed healthy and out of trouble could they have been in the National Championship game. Sturdivant struggles a bit in coverage, but his athleticism at the position makes him an intriguing prospect. Quan Sturdivant Highlights
Mason Foster OLB Washington- Foster plays with a very high motor and is one of the better tackling LB's in this class. Surprisingly fast at his size which will benefit him as both 3-4 and 4-3 teams will have him on their radar. Mason Foster Highlights
3rd round to 4th round
K.J.Wright OLB Missippii State- Not the fastest LB, but he is strong in run support. Wright might be better suited as an OLB or ILB in a 3-4.
Nate Irving ILB North Carolina State- Irving lack of size, speed, and range will get him abused by TE's over the middle of the field.
Colin McCarthy ILB Miami- I love this kid because I think he can be a solid pro if put in the right scheme and matched up with the right LB position coach. Pretty decent speed, but his instincts are lacking. Colin McCarthy Highlights
Casey Matthews ILB Oregon- Clay's brother is better suited in 3-4 schemes like the Packers or Steelers who don't put a big emphasis on their LB's range in coverage. Casey Matthews Highlights
4th round to 6th round
Lawrence Wilson OLB Connecticut- If you were ever looking for an ideal weak side LB to develop behind Lance Briggs its Lawrence Wilson. The athleticism only reminds you of a one time Briggs back up Jamar Williams. Lawerence Wilson Highlights
Ross Homan OLB Ohio State- Homan has decent speed, but his strength is getting off blocks from offensive lineman to make plays around the line of scrimmage.
5th to 7th round
Mark Herzlich ILB Boston College- Herzlich battled back from cancer in his leg. You can tell he's not all the back from recovery as he ran a 4.92 40 at the combine (He's a little more faster than that if you watched him play). Any team selecting him will have to be patient and develop him for a couple years. Mark Herlich Highlights
Adrian Moten OLB Maryland- Had an outstanding pro day and wouldn't be surprise if he moves up on most teams draft board. Adrian Moten Highlights
Mock Linebacker pick for the Bears: Lawrence Wilson OLB Connecticut
Wilson is one of the most underrated LB in this draft and has everything you would want from a tampa-2 LB. Athleticism: check, Speed: check, Instincts: check, The ability to play all three positions: check. The thing that hurts Wilson is although he has 2nd round talent, he has 5th round effort which means he leaves a lot of plays on the field. That's why I think he will be available in the 4th or 5th round where I think is the right time to draft a developmental LB. I wouldn't worry much about the inconsistent effort as the Bears have a pretty good coach in Bob Babich and establish vets in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs to coach that out of him