With the NFL Draft being a month away, I decided to start the first of four mock draft series this week. With the CBA in the air, this draft is probably one of the more important ones for Angelo to find a couple or more prospects who can produce significantly enough for the Bears to take that next step. Like I stated in my "How far are the Bears from Greatness?" post, this year and next year will be very important years for this franchise. Angelo has to put together two solid off-seasons in order to catch up with the Packers, and keep the Vikings and Lions off their heels.
The road to be a perennial contender starts with this draft, and in this 6 round mock draft series I will try to piece together prospects that have the potential to make the Bears perennial contenders in the NFC.
The Bears having glaring holes on the offensive line and in the first round will be targeting OL. If a defensive tackle is available and all the top 5 OT or Penn State C Stefen Wisniewski is off the board, they will go in this direction.
Round 1 selection OT Derrick Sherrod Mississippi State
Analysis: One of the top 5 tackles will fall to the Bears, and the guy that has a good chance to is Derrick Sherrod. With this selection the Bears get a very solid LT that can come in and contribute immediately on the line. Sherrod is a very good athlete at 320, and relies a lot on his technique to get the job done. Pairing a talent like Sherrod with a offensive line guru like Mike Tice will only speed up his development.
Bears make the obvious choice in the 1st round with their investment (Jay Cutler) on the mind. The second round will most certainly be focus on the defensive side of the ball, specifically DT and CB. The Bears will have a lot of good prospects to choose from in the 2nd round with guys like Stephen Paea, Drake Nevis, Marvin Austin, and Ras-I Dowling all available.
Round 2 selection DT Marvin Austin North Carolina
Analysis: With the departure of Tommie Harris, the Bears don't have a true 3 technique DT on the roster. Marvin Austin had a great combine showing displaying great athleticism (ran a 4.80 40) and great strength (38 reps benching 225lbs). Now all he just needs is a great teacher that can help him reach his full potential and Rod Marinelli might just be that guy.
The Bears have addressed two of their most glaring needs on the team with LT and DT in the first two rounds. Bears can go anywhere with the 3rd round selection. CB is the 3rd most pressing need on the team, but the team can also use upgrades at OL and WR.
Round 3 selection CB Rashad Carmichael Virgina Tech
Analysis: This pick came down to Carmichael or Abline Christian Wide Out Edmond Gates. I give the slight edge to Carmichael who while fills a need, if available when the Bears pick in 3rd would also be the best player available. Carmichael is a very athletic corner who excels in man coverage and is also physical enough to come up and make the tackle on backs and receivers. If Joshua Moore pans out, the Bears can quite possibly have their starting corners of the future in Carmichael and Moore.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th round selections I can see becoming best player available. They can still address interior line on offense, but don't need to reach for needs this late in the draft.
Round 4 selection WR Terrance Toliver LSU
Analysis: This pick can wined up being a late round steal for the Bears. The Bears passed up on a wide receiver last year with Tampa Bay Mike Williams, and lets just say that we could have used a Mike Williams type in the NFC Championship game. Toliver has 1st round talent, but because the LSU Quarterback play was very inconsistent, the low production will drop him to the late rounds. I like his size at 6-4 206 pounds, and he's a pretty good route runner with good hands. The late round success the Bears have had recently with Wide Receivers (Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox) should help Angelo and Ruskell not be scared off from selecting a receiver at this point in the draft.
With two more picks in the draft, the Bears most likely will continue using the Best player available strategy.
Round 5 selection LB Lawrence Wilson Connecticut
Analysis: Wilson is a very athletic line backer with good sideline to sideline speed. Both Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach are free agents this year and one of these guys most likely won't be back. Wilson while also the best player available would fill a need which is depth in the linebacker department. The Bears need some youth at the linebacker position that can develop into one of the 3 linebacker positions.
Round 6 selection OG Alan Pelc North Carolina
Analysis: For the second year and a row, Mike Tice gets another late round project with a lot of upside. At 6-6 325 pounds, Pelc has the size that Tice loves from his interior lineman. I can see Angelo signing a veteran RG and Tice giving Williams one more shot at LG, but Pelc can be a guy Tice can groom and eventually compete for a starting spot on the line in the future.