be The Chicago Bears are among the large group of NFL teams that are looking to trade down in Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
They only have five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft since they traded away two third round picks (2012, 2013) for former Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall and traded away a seventh round pick for former Bucs DT Brian Price last off-season.
Looking to move down and accumulate more picks would be a smart move for the Bears.
A move out of the first round would help the Bears add more young potential to their team.
Here’s a look at the top needs for the Bears.
The Bears will be looking to add more competition and depth to the their offensive line. Free agent pickup Matt Slauson is the projected starter at left guard. Gabe Carimi is currently competing with second-year undrafted OL James Brown for the right guard gig. Eben Britton isn’t a guarantee to make the team after he signed with the team a couple weeks ago. At center, 34-year old Roberto Garza enters the last year of his contract. The Bears would be wise to add a player who could play both the guard and center position. Alabama’s G/C Barrett Jones could be that player if he is available in the second round when the Bears are on the clock.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the Bears selecting Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o at No. 20 in their mock drafts. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says the Bears are “in love” with Te’o. The Bears need to add a future starter at linebacker, but I would be disappointed if they chose Te’o in the first round. Long-time Bear Lance Briggs and free agent additions D.J. Williams and James Anderson are the projected starters at the three linebacker positions. The depth is lacking however as third-year West Virginia product J.T. Thomas, special teams star Blake Costanzo and inexperienced Jerry Franklin sit behind the current starters. Georgia’s Alec Ogletree could be available at No. 20, but he had a DUI a week before the NFL Combine and has other character issues. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown would be a great addition, but he likely won’t be on the board late in the second round.
The fact that all five Bears cornerbacks are free agents after this season means they need to plan for the future. Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden are the top three cornerbacks. But Tillman and Jennings aren’t getting any younger and Hayden could use some legitimate competition at nickelback. The Bears surely will look to add a future starter at cornerback. Will they add a cornerback in the first two rounds, who knows? A possible steal for the Bears could be William & Mary’s B.W. Webb possibly in the fourth round.
The depth behind starters Henry Melton and Stephen Paea is almost non-existent. Nate Collins and Andre Fluellen are the only other defensive tackles currently on the roster. They’re nothing more than rotational guys. Melton is a free agent after this season and they will be looking to sign him long term this off-season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Bears add a defensive tackle either in the first or second round. North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams could be available at No. 20. I can promise you that they will add a defensive tackle in this draft. The Bears’ defensive tackle depth has to be improved.
Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett are the top three receivers for the Bears, but the depth behind them is very weak. Eric Weems and Devin Hester will be used almost exclusively on special teams. Joe Anderson and Brittan Golden went undrafted a year ago. They both flashed potential during the 2012 pre-season, but the Bears need to add some speed to their wide receiver core. With Johnny Knox out last season, the Bears were lacking a legitimate deep threat. Now that Knox is officially retired he finally needs to be replaced. Texas Longhorns WR/KR Marquise Goodwin and TCU’s Josh Boyce could be solid options in the fourth or fifth round.
Martellus Bennett and Steve Maneri are in while Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth are out. Bennett is a huge upgrade over Davis and will finally give Jay Cutler a solid option in the middle of the field. Maneri is mainly a blocking tight end who is a younger and cheaper version of Speath. Second-year Temple product Evan Rodriguez lined up at fullback in 2012 and yet again during the Bears’ voluntary mini-camp last week. He is a little undersized at 6’2″ to be a real tight end, but the Bears could try to use him as the hybrid player that Aaron Hernandez is in New England. The first round is probably too early to draft a tight end, but Stanford’s Zach Ertz is a great talent. The Bears could add him in the first round if available which would lead to more two tight end sets in the 2013 season. The drafting of a tight end all depends on the Bears confidence in Rodriguez.
Jay Cutler is a free agent after this season. His current backup is Josh McCown. The Bears seem to be content with letting Cutler play the year out and deal with the issue after the season. Second-year undrafted Wisconsin-Whitewater product Matt Blanchard is currently the third quarterback. Phil Emery stated last week that he would “like to select a quarterback every year in the draft.” I don’t think they’ll look to add a quarterback until the end of the draft. A possible pick for them would be Duke’s Sean Renfree in the sixth round.
Jermon Bushrod was signed early in free agency to protect Jay Cutler’s blindside. J’Marcus Webb was moved to the right side and Jonathan Scott was re-signed to the be the swing tackle. Webb, a seventh-round pick in 2010 is still a liability on this Bears’ offensive line. A tackle won’t be a priority, but they could opt to use a late-round pick on an offensive tackle. Louisiana Tech’s Jordan Mills could be a solid option in the sixth round.