The NFL draft is - finally - just around the corner. You may be a little mock drafted out by now but, for those of you who are brave enough to click on this article, we bring you a selection from this week which are a little different, whether multi-rounders or ones that throw different names into the discussion.
Hub Arkush's mock 3.0 sees the Dallas Cowboys trading up to the St Louis Rams' 13th overall pick to nab Aaron Donald. With Justin Gilbert already being off the board, he has the Bears' draft take an unexpected direction -
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Nobody sees this coming but the safeties just don’t fit this high and Emery knows this is a need, and possibly a steal at 14.
His scouting report from NFL.com lists him as an "accomplished, four-year starter vs. Big Ten competition" but also projecting as a finesse left tackle, albeit one "with the length, agility and temperament to hold down a starting job for a long time" - more than can be said for our previous finesse left tackle drafted at #14 overall, one Chris Williams.....
With how horrible our defense was last season and the need to get younger on that side of the ball, plus the presence of Jermon Bushrod anchoring his O-line mentor's group on the richest contract ever given by the franchise to an offensive lineman, how would you feel about this pick if he was highest-rated on Phil Emery's Big Board?
Dan Pompei thinks the Bears will take Donald in the first, which is nothing new, and in the second he sees them taking... Auburn running back Tre Mason?
Emery is more likely to take a player at a position that some do not consider a primary need than he is to reach to fill one. If Emery lands a DT in Round One, he might not like what is left in round two at defensive back. The Bears could use a second RB to pair with Matt Forte, and some think Mason is the best RB in the draft. His presence would give the Bears as much talent in their backfield as any team in the league.
NFL.com's scouting report notes that he is the son of one of the members of De La Soul - now, that I didn't know. The SEC Player of the Year certainly seems to have the production behind him and is described as "a compactly built, nifty-footed runner with a balanced skill set to merit 20 touches per game at the next level." NFL.com also notes he is "trustworthy in pass protection" (a key skill for backup RBs for Marc Trestman, as you'll recall), "flashes good hands", and can return kickoffs.
The Bears don't have much behind Matt Forte, who is only a couple of seasons from reaching what is historically the wall for NFL lead running backs; given current demands elsewhere on the roster, would you agree with a second-round pick being used on a backfield partner for him?
The other two participants in that SportsOnEarth two-round mock, Mike Tanier and Russ Lande, have the Bears taking S Calvin Pryor / DT Will Sutton and CB Kyle Fuller / DT Timmy Jernigan, respectively. See their full mock here.
Pryor is the forceful presence the Bears need to upgrade a secondary that has lacked a Pro Bowl-caliber safety for years.
...provided he can cut down on the reckless abandon as the last thing we need is Brandon Meriweather II. Brooks fills another need in the second round with Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir -
With Charles Tillman nearing the end of a distinguished career, the Bears would be wise to find his successor as the team's top cover corner. Desir is an exceptional athlete with intriguing physical tools that ideally fit the Bears' defensive scheme.
...although his NFL.com scouting report does note he's more of a zone corner than a man corner, and we really don't know at this point what the Tuckerfense (is that a thing yet?) will use.
In the third round Bucky Brooks doesn't take a defensive tackle; no, he goes with West Virginia RB Charles Sims -
Marc Trestman's offensive system [we call it the TCO - WCG] requires running backs to be excellent receivers out of the backfield. Sims was the top pass-catching back in college football and has a game that reminds some of Matt Forte.
NFL.com notes he has a tall, one-cut running style, is excellent at receiving and average at breaking tackles, and lacks top-end speed, which sounds like Matt Forte all right. Unlike Forte, they question his durability to be a bellcow back.
Come the fourth and final round of Brooks' draft, he once again visits the cornerback well. This time he has the Bears taking Duke CB Ross Cockrell, described as lacking physicality but is a "good-sized, smart, ballhawking zone corner who plays fast and could bring immediate value as a nickel back and contribute on special teams" ... in the fourth round, would he be the value pick?
How would you feel if the Bears follow Bucky Brooks' script and stand pat with the interior defensive line as it is, at least as far as the draft goes?
Finally, we revisit Mock Draft stalwarts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay in their latest three-round mock, in which they alternative picks. They make a point that the selections are made based on the player that they themselves want, not what they think the team will do. It's an ESPN Insider piece but we can bring you their choices for the Bears.
Kiper's pick: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Analysis: I know Todd thinks I'm making a mistake here, but Pryor is the best safety in the draft, and it's been a problem position for way too long. This is a little too early for the next best CB on my board, too.
Whether or not he's the best safety in the draft or is worth the 14th overall pick, it seems that Pryor would be able to start as a rookie and provide an immediate upgrade to the back end of our defense.
McShay's pick: Stan Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Analysis: We need to get younger at the cornerback position, and Jean-Baptiste provides very good size and length (6-3, 218 with long arms and good leaping ability).
A 6'3" converted receiver, NFL.com describes him as lacking in ideal speed and flexibility, and "warrants developmental consideration from teams employing press or Cover-2" ... which, as we've noted above, the Bears may or may not be doing.
Kiper's pick: Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
Analysis: With needed additions at safety and corner already added, I'm grabbing the fastest player in the entire draft, a potential big play when he touches the ball on offense, and he can take over for the departed Devin Hester in the return game. We're talking legit sub-4.3 speed.
Trestman would undoubtedly be able to use a dynamic playmaker like him as an offensive chess piece but, not projected as being a player capable of filling in for Matt Forte should the Bears' bellcow back miss time, would his addition be too much of a luxury pick for a team that, even with a safety and corner already taken in rounds 1 and 2, likely still needs to add to the defense?
Share your thoughts and comments on these mock draft selections below. Also, don't forget to laugh at the people who click on an article that they have no intention of reading just to bitch and moan about how much they don't want to read it. It'll happen.