ESPN has been covering the NFL draft since 1980. Back then no one except The Worldwide Leader In Sports believed there would be an audience for the event. Everyone was wrong. The Draft is must see TV and the anticipation for the event has been the driving force behind page views and TV ratings ever since.
ESPN added draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. to their coverage in 1984, then added guru #2 Todd McShay in 2007. They've been putting their expert analysis behind a pay wall for years now, but Windy City Gridiron has gained access to their latest mock drafts.
We won't bring you all the details, but we will spotlight their selections for the Chicago Bears. First we'll spotlight Kiper's Mock 5.0. He has both Aaron Donald and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix off the board, so he mocks this guy to the Bears at 14th overall, and I would be A-OK with this selection.
Justin Gilbert Chicago Bears (8-8)
COLLEGE: Oklahoma State Class: Sr HT: 6-0 WT: 202 POS: CB
Analysis: Maybe the Bears won't get their first choice among some pretty big need options, but in Gilbert, they certainly check off one. I like Donald here if he's around, and I also think the Bears can't go wrong if they add a safety, as that's been a problem position going back beyond 2013. They have to add a corner, maybe two, and Gilbert gives them a special athlete who could learn the finer points of physical football from the position by practicing with Charles Tillman. Gilbert is also a weapon in the return game, which is worth noting now that Devin Hester is no longer around.
Gilbert has been the top corner on most boards all off season. If the Bears can't get the top defensive tackle or the top safety, getting the top corner would be a fine consolation prize.
Todd McShay is also on his Mock 5.0, and he has the Bears snagging a popular choice.
Aaron Donald Chicago Bears (8-8)
COLLEGE: Pittsburgh HT: 6-0 WT: 285 POS: DT
Analysis: Donald could be off the board by the time Chicago picks at No. 14, but in this scenario, he's an easy choice. He'd be a perfect fit as a 3-technique defensive tackle in the Bears' Tampa 2 scheme due to his ability to disrupt opponents' backfields with his snap anticipation, first-step quickness and ability to finish off plays. Chicago can address its needs in the secondary on Day 2.
I can't imagine Bears fans being unhappy if Donald is the choice at 14. Experts keep pointing to the Bears' Tampa 2 scheme, but we all know that they may not keep that as their base D. We do know however, that the defense will still be a one gap scheme, making Donald a perfect fit.
Clinton-Dix is off the board in McShay's mock, making Donald the obvious pick.
What are your thoughts on these latest mocks?