2012 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Predictions for All 7 Rounds
This is the fourth mock draft I've written and each time, the names change to protect the innocent. Actually, there are more choices to consider now that Jerry Angelo has been relieved of his GM position.
Now, there is an actual, honest-to-goodness chance that the Bears could take a wide receiver in the first round. Not a good chance, mind you, but anything more than a snowball's chance in hell is good enough for me.
But receiver isn't the only area of need for the Bears. As I outlined earlier this week, the Bears need defensive linemen, secondary help, a backup QB (though that won't come from the draft) and offensive linemen, too.
There is also this nagging conflict between trying to get an immediate impact player in the first round vs. getting some youth to eventually replace the Bears aging core of star players.
No matter what, the new GM will have his hands full. Following the draft, he hopefully will have a roster full as well.
1st Round: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
With a hat-tip to reader Larry Zimont, I have changed my mind about the first pick for the Bears and will instead go with Melvin Ingram, a defensive end out of South Carolina.
I had toyed with the idea of picking an offensive lineman, but no true left tackles stick out and LT is the area in which I believe the Bears need the most.
I briefly considered center Peter Konz of Wisconsin as well as a corner, but in the end, I decided to go with improving the pass rush.
The Bears' pass rush was very inconsistent last year and if you're a team playing in the NFC North, you'd better do one of two things very well–either rush the passer or cover the wideouts like a blanket.
With Ingram, the Bears have a guy who should be able to step in and make an immediate impact. An off-year from Israel Idonije combined with a pick like Ingram could make unrestricted free agent Idonije expendable.
Meanwhile, Ingram's draft stock has soared following a terrific ending to his 2011 season. Dominant in the season finale vs. Clemson, Ingram displays an excellent closing burst and never takes a play off.
2nd Round: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
No, Nick Toon won't have the cachet of an Alshon Jeffery or Michael Floyd, but the Bears can go out and sign a guy like Vincent Jackson as a free agent if they'd like to be their No. 1 next season.
Meanwhile, Toon has good lineage, as his father, Al Toon, played with the Jets from 1985-1992. His size is decent, at just over 6'1", with good bulk and top-end speed.
Toon is not afraid to work the middle of the field, blocks well, and is a savvy and physical route-runner. Toon lacks breakaway speed, but uses a stiff arm to pick up yards after the catch.
He has good hands and sideline awareness, a good value pick in the second round.
3rd Round Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
Coryell Judie is projected to go somewhere in the third round, but has the skills of a second rounder, at least in my opinion. If he's on the board when the Bears pick at No. 74, they would be crazy not to take this guy.
Playing in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, the Bears need secondary help. Their only sure thing at cornerback is Charles Tillman and he is on the other side of 30. Tim Jennings is an unrestricted free agent.
So Judie, who has average height for a corner (though he would tower over Jennings), is said to be a good kid off the field.
On the field, he is a very confident player with good route recognition and anticipation skills and the mental toughness to rebound from mistakes.
Judie is a playmaker with great ball skills and a dangerous runner after an interception.
3rd Round (Pick from Carolina): Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
Kevin Zeitler is a former teammate of Gabe Carimi at Wisconsin and with Toon, they would form the combination of three, young ex-Badgers in the Bears' offense for years to come.
Meanwhile, Zeitler has above average size, bulk and speed for the position. He's a weight room warrior who won the Badger Power Award for his dedication to the weight room.
If he can play lower than he did in college, he will be able to gain better leverage in run support and can hold his own against power rushers.
4th Round: Keenan Robinson, OLB, Texas
Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are getting older and a young linebacker to compete with Nick Roach would be a great addition to this well-rounded draft.
The Sam and Will positions on the Bears could use an infusion of youth and Keenan Robinson's best attribute is his range vs. the run.
He is a gifted athlete who moves well for his size. Robinson changes direction easily and moves well from side to side and he shows an above-average closing burst when in pursuit.
Robinson is disciplined and reacts to the ball well. He sniffs out screens and recognizes draws well. He could use more strength, but has the kind of frame that could add bulk.
5th Round: Blake Gideon, FS, Texas
Blake Gideon recorded 64 tackles with four passes defended, one sack and one interception this season. He has been around the ball for Texas and was one of the few who battled well vs. Baylor.
He has good size for just average speed, at best. But he is a smart player who does a nice job of timing leaps and shows good hand-eye coordination to bring in interceptions.
His lack of athleticism will drop him to the fifth round, but he is not a bad value pick this late in the draft.
6th Round: Rhett Ellison, TE, USC
In the Mike Tice offense, the tight end will actually be able to catch some passes—imagine that. Meanwhile, Rhett Ellison projects to have better hands than Kellen Davis and blocks at least as well.
Ellison is not an explosive athlete, but has good lineage, as his dad played in the NFL. He has good toughness to do the dirty work catching balls over the middle of the field
7th Round: Nathan Stupar, OLB, Penn State
A team can never have enough linebackers, so the Bears might add another one in the seventh round.
Nathan Stupar won't wow anybody, but he is a blue-collar type of worker who is reliable and can play at the NFL level. And that is all you can ask of a seventh round pick.
Stupar recorded 68 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions and three passes defended this year.