In just 25 days, the NFL Draft will start in Kansas City.
The Chicago Bears will get on the clock, a little bit later than they were originally supposed to, but will make a selection.
The offseason moves from general manager Ryan Poles have set them up nicely so that they have some flexibility with the pick.
At the same time, they also have enough needs to go in almost any direction and hit a need.
What are the big spots that they need to address? Where do they stand after free agency has dried up?
Needs: Right tackle, defensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback, center
Poles added a lot of talent this offseason, but that wasn’t hard to do with the holes that this roster had and considering that they were the worst team in the league last season.
There’s nowhere to go but up.
Here’s a breakdown of the positions that the Bears still have needs at, as well as what they’ve done so far.
Additions: OG Nate Davis
Remaining needs: Center, right tackle
Breakdown: The Bears need at least one more starter and arguably two.
The options here are that Nate Davis will slot into left guard, even though he’s only ever played on the right side, Cody Whitehair will slide over to center and Teven Jenkins will stay on the right.
The other option is since Davis has only played on the right side, he would slot in there, Jenkins would switch over to the left and Whitehair at center.
All we can do right now is speculate. But to me, asking a career RG to switch sides seems...odd. Asking a third-year player who was just getting comfortable at a new guard position to switch sides again and play a fourth position in four years, also seems odd.
The Bears need an RT. There’s no doubt there. Could a move for Jenkins be in the works? I think it would depend on how the draft falls to them at nine. Finding a center of the future seems like a slam dunk.
Whitehair is serviceable but hasn’t been himself and has had injury concerns the last couple of seasons. Maybe drafting his replacement and letting him keep the spot warm to start the season and just kind of be the veteran captain presence is enough? I don’t know, again, all we can do is speculate, but OL is big-time in play at nine and then again in the second and third rounds.
Additions: DeMarcus Walker, Andrew Billings
Remaining needs: Everywhere
The Bears had the worst defensive line in the NFL last season and have done little to change it.
Walker has some upside but is hardly an every-down, put fear in opponents, pass rusher. Billings is an average NFL starter. He’s been a starter for the majority of his career but is by no means a game-changer.
This is, along with tackle, the number one need and most likely to be targeted at number nine.
They definitely need a true 3-technique DT for head coach Matt Eberflus’s Tampa-2 style defense.
Remaining needs: Nickel cornerback
The modern NFL passing game demands that the third cornerback be starting caliber and more important than ever before.
The nickel position used to be a sub-package but is now nearly every down. The Bears made huge strides to their LB corps and added players that can cover there, but it isn’t enough.
Kindle Vildor improved last season but remains a player that can be upgraded or at least get some competition.
They should target this with one of their day two picks.
These are just the biggest needs, but the team could still use depth all over the place and could fill out other position groups to upgrade what’s there. This is particularly true for positions where it never hurts to have too many good players, such as tight end, receiver or safety.
Which positions of needs have you most concerned ahead of the draft? What’s your number one need with the draft just over three weeks away?