The nightmare 2011 season has ended for the Chicago Bears, and it is now time to look forward to upgrading the team's roster through the draft.
While it may look like this team has a lot of holes to fill, they really don't.
The offensive line has looked a lot better since early in the year, and while the defense is getting old fast, they still have a lot left and only need a few upgrades to continue their dominance.
The offense needs some playmakers, and this draft could be the place to find them.
Here is a list of five players the Chicago Bears should target with their first-round pick in this April's draft.
While this might not be the sexiest pick the Chicago Bears could make, drafting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard would definitely fill a whole in the roster.
Aside from Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman, the Bears lack talent in the secondary and desperately need help covering receivers in a league that is getting more and more passing based each year.
After an inconsistent year from Tim Jennings, the Bears need to seriously consider drafting a corner to start opposite Tillman and shore up the secondary for the next five to seven years.
Dennard has good top end speed, and while he is a little undersized, he is a bigger corner. He is a tough player who played through some injuries in college and would fit right in with the Bears.
He needs to work on his tackling, but that is something that can easily be worked on when he turns pro and is being coached by one of the better defensive staffs in the league.
His coverage skills are good, and he would allow the Bears to play a lot more man coverage on defense, which is needed.
The first play maker the Chicago Bears should look into drafting is Alshon Jeffery, the wide receiver from South Carolina and a guy with a lot of potential.
Jeffery is 6' 4", 234 and would fit the role of the "big target" Jay Cutler can throw the ball up to, letting him make a play.
Jeffery doesn't have exceptional speed but his ball skills are as good as anyone's in this draft and his pass catching radius is outstanding.
He isn't afraid to go across the middle which is huge in becoming a successful NFL wide out.
The Bears should have other, better options where they are drafting but if Alshon Jeffery is the fall back option, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
While taking Alshon Jefferey at pick No. 19 could be a little bit of a reach, landing Justin Blackmon at that spot would be almost impossible.
The chances of the stud wide receiver from Oklahoma State falling that far are really low, and the only shot the Chicago Bears would have at taking him would be to trade up in the draft.
The Bears aren't usually a team that likes to trade up, but if they like Blackmon enough, it could happen.
Blackmon is easily the best wide receiver prospect in this year's draft and would be perfect for Chicago.
Blackmon is a great route-runner and has a nice combination of speed and size. His ball skills are awesome, and he can catch almost anything with his nicely-sized hands and overall catching ability.
I would be surprised if the Bears actually ended up in a position to take Blackmon, but if they had the chance and didn't take it, it would be something they would regret for a long time.
My favorite player on the list, Vontaze Burfict would be a great fit on the Chicago Bears.
Burfict has all the talent of a top five overall player, but his character issues have him falling to the late teens or early 20s area of the draft.
The Bears could greatly benefit from adding some youth to their defense, and with Brian Urlacher getting older, Burfict could very well be the next part of the chain of great middle linebackers who play for the Chicago Bears.
His only knocks are his possibly immaturity and sometimes losing composure and causing penalties at the wrong times. But in a locker room laced with veteran players on defense, he would easily be kept under control and work out perfectly for the Bears.
Michael Floyd would be a great fit for the Chicago Bears and is right now the most realistic option for the Bears where they are picking.
Floyd has great size at receiver, and while he needs to improve on his route-running, he can catch almost any ball thrown near him.
He is fast for his size, which allows for him to create separation and get open against defenders—something that is very important in the NFL.
Floyd could develop into a great weapon for Jay Cutler and one of the better receivers in the NFL—something the Chicago Bears need badly and something they have never had.