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Draft Bytes: Bears Needs Edition

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A "Then & Now" look at Chicago's needs on the eve of the NFL Draft.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Looking back at what the Bears needed when the season ended and what they need on the eve of the NFL Draft, you gain a distinct appreciation for the job Ryan Pace and his staff have done over the past few months. When the 2015 season ended the Bears had a lot of decisions to make and a ton of holes to fill. Their initial needs chart probably looked something like this:

Offensive needs: Tackle or Guard (dependent on the decision regarding where Kyle Long would play), TE, G depth, TE, RB, WR depth

Defensive needs: ILB (2), CB (2), 5-tech DE's (2 - 1 starter, 1 depth), Safety (starter), OLB (speed rush threat), NT (depth behind Eddie Goldman)

A few months down the line and Pace has erased a good number of those concerns. Attacking the defensive holes with vigor, he signed 2 quality starters at ILB (Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman), a starter at 5-tech (Akiem Hicks), and resigned Tracy Porter to compete for starting spot at CB.

On offense the Bears focused on the line, signing Bobby Massie to anchor the right tackle spot which allowed Kyle Long to slide back to his more natural position inside at guard. Chicago didn't stop there, adding veteran guards Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen to ensure that fans would not have to endure another year of the Vlad Ducasse experiment. Once former starting TE Martellus Bennett was swapped for draft choices the Bears resigned Zach Miller, Rob Housler and tried to sign Josh Hill away from New Orleans; but the Saints dipped into their seemingly never-ending reserve of salary cap funds and matched the offer.

All of that work leaves Chicago with the following needs on the eve of the premiere event on the NFL team-building calendar, the draft:

Offense:

  • RB (competition for the starting spot)
  • TE (depth/future starter)
  • LT (starting competition for Charles Leno or swing tackle depth)
  • WR (depth, if the board offers up value)

Defense:

  • CB (Starting competition for Tracy Porter/future starter)
  • OLB (speed rush threat)
  • S (starter)
  • 5-tech DE (starter [if the board offers up value], or depth later on)

While that still seems like a great deal of needs, when it is compared to the situation Chicago faced at the end of the season, it's very clear Ryan Pace is earning his paycheck. He and his staff still have a lot of work to do but their early returns have improved the Bears without a doubt.

So what do you think about the Bears needs on the eve of the draft? Tomorrow I'll take all the needs listed above and rank them based on my perception of priority. Those results will be the Draftwatch Spectacular dropping on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, it's your turn to play GM. Sound off in the comments section below about where you see the Bears needs and how you would prioritize them.