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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

This is the second to last NFL Thoughts before we can actually have real thoughts about actual NFL rookies and their brand new teams. Just ten more days until the Draft!

Streeter Lecka

1) It's a given that the best way to build sustained success in the NFL is through the draft. Team that fail on their draft picks are forced to overspend in free agency, and the salary cap ends up hurting their ability to re-sign players they truly want.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert took a look at which teams have the most draft picks still on their team, and the best and worst shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

The Green Bay Packers, led by general manager Ted Thompson, has 33 picks still on their roster, the best in the NFL. Thompson has one of the better track records when it comes to the draft, and the proof is in the make up of his roster. They have been in the playoffs in six of the last seven years, with a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

The Chicago Bears, who are still trying to rid themselves of the Jerry Angelo era, is last with only 15 draft picks on the current roster. The Bears have only one playoff appearance in the last seven years.

Current Chicago GM Phil Emery had a shaky initial draft, but every rookie from his 2013 draft class made the team. In just two years Emery has nine drafted players among the 15 on the roster.

2) The NFL outlawed dunking over the goalpost last month (the No Fun League strikes again), but Detroit Lions wide out Calvin Johnson still plans on doing his post TD celebration. He claims he simply won't touch the goalpost, but the rule prohibits using the ball as a prop, and a gentler dunk is still using the ball as a prop.

Is a penalty really worth it?

I don't think so.

3) Sticking with the Lions for one more thought, I wonder if the leak about them shopping Ndamukong Suh will cause their best defensive player to be even more unstable?

4) The latest brilliant idea from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is having the NFL Draft last four days.

No thanks...

Also keep in mind that playoff expansion could happen as soon as this season.

5) I loved the acquisition of Terrelle Pryor by the Seattle Seahawks. Pryor will be working in an offense that fits his skill set, he's heading into a situation where he's clearly the back up, and it's a veteran locker room coming off a Super Bowl victory. Even if he can't win the #2 QB job, his athleticism will be put to use somehow by head coach Pete Carroll.

6) The Chicago Bears have traditionally locked up their entire rookie class as soon as anyone in the NFL, and I expect this year to be no different. I do wonder with the draft being pushed back, if this will cause some teams to struggle in having all their rookies signed for their off season workout programs?

7) The two players most affected by the long wait until draft day seem to be Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald. There has been no new game tape revealed since their last collegiate game, only boredom from the mock drafters and internet scouts.

Donald who was thought to be a mid to late first round talent a couple months ago, is now being called a top 10 player in the draft. And Bridgewater who once seemed a lock for a top 3 selection, is now falling out of the first round on many mock drafts.

Mike Mayock, who is actually one of my favorite draft guys, now has Teddy Bridgewater as the 5th QB on his board tied with LSU's Zach Mettenberger who is receiving 3rd round grades by other draft pundits.

8) I saw a theory floated somewhere last week that kept gnawing on me. I can't remember if it was on Twitter, Facebook, sports radio, the newspaper or here on Windy City Gridiron.

But what if Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery is being so active in free agency, plucking depth chart guys to fight it out for a roster spot, essentially grabbing prospects that he could have filled in the draft, because he is planning on trading up?

The Bears currently have seven draft picks, one in each round except the 7th plus an extra sixth rounder, so a huge splash is unlikely. But what if they could move up in the 2nd or 3rd round to nab an extra top 100 player.

Would you like to see the Bears trade up?

9) If the Bears do stay put at 14, I don't think they can screw it up. There should be five or six legit talents at that spot that could come in and contribute as rookies. If I were in charge my thinking would be: draft either Aaron Donald or Ha Ha Clinton Dix, but if they're gone, try to trade back a few picks.

Bonus points to me for rhyming...

Trading back is obviously easier said than done, so here are a few other names I'd be fine with Phil Emery drafting at 14, in no particular order.

Calvin Pryor, safety
C.J. Mosley, linebacker
Justin Gilbert, corner
Darqueze Dennard, corner
Kyle Fuller, corner
Jason Verrett, corner
Ra'Shede Hageman, defensive tackle
Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle
Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle
Eric Ebron, tight end
Kony Ealy, defensive end

Some of those players would be considered reaches, and others may not fit a need, but like I said last year when Emery picked Kyle Long in the first, you can't fault a GM for taking his guy when he's available.

Emery's board could have the corner backs listed in a different order than some of the mocks we've dissected. He could have high 1st round grades on a few DTs after Donald. And stranger things have happened, so If a player slips that is ranked high on his board, can we fault him for taking the best player available?

10) Now that we've got some of that draft chatter out of the way, let's dive into the latest SB Nation mock draft from NFL Draft Editor Dan Kadar. Here's his pick for the Bears at 14;

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Donald to Chicago is another choice that's become a regularity. The risk, though, is that Donald may be off the board before Chicago picks. There is some buzz about Donald as a top-10 player. If he's not here for the Bears, a defensive tackle like Louis Nix or a safety makes sense.

Kadar isn't the only one still mocking Donald to the Bears, the latest mock on has Donald at 14 as well. Brain Baldinger must not be buying the Donald top 10 buzz either.

I think Donald is the best DT in the draft, and in any other year he would be a lock for top 10. But this year the draft has so many good prospects available in the first round, that him being there at 14 is plausible.

Now it's your turn to sound off on my thoughts...