Long time NFL personal man Gil Brandt, who now works for NFL.com, went over the top three needs for all 32 teams in the NFL. Here's what he wrote about the Chicago Bears who are currently slotted into the 7th overall selection in the NFL Draft.
2014 record: 5-10 (.531)
Top three needs: Pass rusher, LB, DB
Analysis: The Bears spent so much money on offense in free agency that their defense was mostly ignored, and now it's showing. They became the first team since 1923 to give up 50-plus points in consecutive games. The problem is, the defensive depth chart is full of good, but not outstanding, players, and that rears its ugly head against talent-rich offensive teams like Green Bay. The free agency swap of Julius Peppers for Jared Allen has been a downgrade, and LB Lance Briggs is nearing retirement. I'm not sure the Bears don't need a quarterback, too. It will be interesting to see what they do with Jay Cutler in the offseason.
I'm in agreement on the needs, although I think safety is a higher priority than corner at defensive back.
I disagree with his assessment that the defense was ignored last off season. Defensive ends Lamarr Houston (5yrs/$35M), Willie Young (3yrs/$9M) and Jared Allen (4yrs/$32M) were all brought in and had varying levels of success. The Bears also gave over $20 million to extend corner Tim Jennings, they brought back Charles Tillman and they drafted defense with four of their first five picks.
And about that free agency swap, 2014 Jared Allen is playing much better than 2013 Julius Peppers. The Packers may have found a way to re-energize Peppers, but the Bears couldn't justify bringing him back at such a high cap number.
Here are the draft eligible players the Bears could be looking at according to Brandt.
Top-rated seniors at positional needs: Pass rusher: Vic Beasley (Clemson), Alvin Dupree (Kentucky), Owamagbe Odighizuwa (UCLA); LB: Jake Ryan (Michigan), Eric Kendricks (UCLA), Denzel Perryman (Miami); CB: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon), Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest), Byron Jones (UConn); S: Derron Smith (Fresno State), Kurtis Drummond (Michigan State)
Of the six teams currently drafting before the Bears, four also have a need for a pass rusher, five are also looking for a defensive back, but he lists none as in the market for a linebacker.
Once the defensive scheme is established we'll have a better idea which direction the Bears could go on draft weekend.
What are your thoughts on the Bears' needs?