The way the 2015 NFL Draft is shaping up, the Chicago Bears will have a few home run chances at 7th overall. Whether they go with a defensive tackle, a pass rushing outside linebacker, an offensive lineman or even a wide receiver, the options at 7 are aplenty.
Dan Kadar, NFL Draft Editor of SB Nation, just revealed his latest mock draft and he takes it two deep. He has the Bears going in a familiar direction in the 1st round.
7. Chicago Bears: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
This pick will be a big debate on draft weekend. Do the Bears go for a top pass rusher or a big space filler like Shelton? I keep going back and forth. Seemingly, the Bears can't go wrong with this pick. Shelton is probably the safest choice of the options available.
While it's true that new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio hasn't utilized a 340 pounder on his line in the past, he still runs some 2 gap stuff up front, and a guy like Shelton would give him some options. With the Bears, Shelton would probably see a reduced number of snaps, which should make him even much more effective.
At Washington, Shelton played an obscene number of plays for a man of his size. His 922 snaps in 2014 were second most among defensive tackles in college and 2nd most among NFL defensive tackles. For even more perspective, Fangio's most used defensive lineman in San Francisco last year was Justin Smith with 715 snaps. Number two in his DL snap counts was Ray McDonald with 713.
Kadar's 2nd rounder for the Bears is one we haven't discussed much around here.
39. Chicago Bears: Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington
If the Bears take a nose tackle like Shelton in the first round, that would leave them open to taking a pass rushing edge player in the second round. It's just coincidence the best one on the board happens to be his college teammate. Some of the players coming out of a 4-3 like UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa are hard to project outside. Kikaha is a more natural fit.
Kikaha didn't participate in the on field stuff at the Combine because he was sick, but his pro day is April 2nd. He holds Washington's record for sacks with 36, and he led the nation in sacks in 2014 with 19. Scouts call him a high motor player and while many of the top edge rushers available are defensive ends being projected to 3-4 linebacker, Kikaha played linebacker last year.
He does have a medical red flag, missing most of 2011 and all of 2012 with a couple ACL injuries, but he was healthy the last two years.
Now you know the drill, take a look at how Dan's mock fell and let us know if this is the way you would have drafted if you were picking for the Bears.