I tried to get a different starting point for my Chicago Bears mock draft this week. With defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh being the obvious choice for the Bears, I simulated about 20 mocks in hopes he would be gone by 14. No matter which board I used, Donald was still there at 14 every time I ran a sim.
And speaking of the sim, just like last week I used Fanspeak's On The Clock Premium for my mock draft. The best part of mocking out an entire seven rounds is it allows me to research in detail players I normally wouldn't, and it gives us all a better look at some potential draft targets of the Chicago Bears.
With Donald still available at 14 in all the sims I ran, I figured I could chance trading back a few spots and still grab him. I was offered a couple trade packages before the draft, and accepted the one offered by the Miami Dolphins. The 14th overall for the 19th, plus the 18th pick in the second round. Of the teams between 14 and 19, I thought only the Dallas Cowboys could be in play for Donald, but after signing Henry Melton they could also be in play for a defensive end.
My gamble paid off as Donald was still there at 19.
I also traded back in the third round by moving the 18th pick of that round for the 27th pick in the third and the 26th pick in the fourth.
Here's who I ended up drafting with my nine total picks.
Round 1 - Pick 19: Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Donald isn't a flawless prospect, but he fills a need for the Bears and he's the best available as well. I could have gone with safety Calvin Pryor, but Donald was too good to pass up.
Round 2 - Pick 50: Marcus Roberson, Cornerback, Florida
The secondary is a need position for the Bears, and I didn't like the value of the available safeties at this time, so I went with corner. Roberson has good speed, good length, and good instincts. From a physical standpoint, he could have benefited from staying in school for his senior year. In my original mock I ended up picking Roberson in the 5th round, but I don't think he falls that far on draft weekend.
Round 2 - Pick 51: Marcus Martin, Center, USC
I was hoping to address center at some point in the draft, I just didn't think it would be so early. But when the top center prospect is still on the board, and you added an extra 2nd rounder, you have the luxury of scooping up a player like Martin. The 6'3", 320 pound early entrant into the draft would be able to back up Roberto Garza for a year, work on his strength and technique, then take over in 2015.
Round 3 - Pick 91: Deone Bucannon, Strong Safety, Washington State
Bucannon is the third and final player that shows up in each of my mock drafts. He has good size (6'1", 211) and speed (4.49 40), and the widest wingspan (78') of all the safeties. He also had a very productive senior season with six interceptions, three forced fumbles and 114 tackles.
Round 4 - Pick 117: Charles Sims, Runningback, West Virginia
The first time I heard about Sims he was being compared to Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte. Upon further inspection I concur. As a freshman at Houston he had 70 receptions out of the backfield, and he finished his three year career there with 158. He transferred to West Virginia for the 2013 season to play with the coach that helped him to those 70 catches, and he went over a thousand yards rushing while adding 45 more receptions.
Round 4 - Pick 126: Marcus Smith, Defensive End, Louisville
I liked the value of Smith with this pick, mainly because of his versatility. He played all along the defensive line at Louisville, plus he played some OLB. I think he best projects to a pass rushing DE, but he could become a flexible part of a hybrid D down the line.
Round 5 - Pick 156: Justin Ellis, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana Tech
Defensive tackle was a problem area for the Bears in 2013, so adding some competition makes sense. Ellis looks like a space eating NT (6'1", 334), but he played all over the interior of the d-line in college.
Round 6 - Pick 183: Crockett Gilmore, Tight End, Colorado State
Tight end depth is needed as the Bears roster is currently constructed, so why not grab a guy that stood out at the Senior Bowl. Gilmore isn't an elite athlete, but he has soft hands and has shown to be a good blocker.
Round 6 - Pick 191: Preston Brown, Linebacker, Louisville
The Bears have one solid veteran starter at linebacker in Lance Briggs, and question marks at the rest of the position group. Brown played the middle in college and that's probably his best pro position. He looks to be a 2 down MLB unless he can improve his coverage skills.
Check out the full mock draft, and let me know if you would have gone in a different direction with any of my picks.
One thing to keep in mind, all the picks (except mine) were made by the simulation. Don't try to rationalize why Player X went to Team A in the 2nd round, when you read he had a 5th round grade. Once the real draft takes place we'll have plenty of surprises it that as well.
It is what it is...