The first two rounds of the first-ever Bleacher Report Community Mock Draft are now over.
This mock, where different B/R Featured Columnists play GM for each NFL team and then do a draft, is unique in that it allows writers to try their hand at improving their favorite team.
So instead of one writer guessing how every team in the league would pick, the B/R Community Mock Draft allows a Featured Columnist to run one team against other Featured Columnists and their respective teams.
If you're just joining us, follow these links to get caught up on this fascinating series from the Bears' perspective:
Bears' First Round Pick Is... (updated with the rest of the first-round picks)
Now as the Community Mock Draft heads into the third round, it's time to re-assess the Bears' needs and options.
Which 16 players will go before our turn comes up? What positions should we target and who? Do we gamble on upside or stick with safe bets?
Ah, the interesting world of draft scenarios.
With defensive end and wide receiver already addressed, I wanted to go offensive line next.
Zebrie Sanders is still available, though it's uncertain he'll last until No. 17.
And unfortunately, here's where my first—and so far, only—disagreement with my war room partner, Bears Featured Columnist Bob Warja, came up.
I suggested Illinois tackle Jeff Allen, regarded as a sleeper o-line pick in the draft.
At the Combine, he did a solid 26 bench reps and really impressed during drills. Athletic, fundamentally sound, incredibly quick and with good body control, Allen improved his stock after his impressive performance.
Bob, though, projected Allen would not remain at LT in the NFL and preferred to go cornerback, although his choice—Jayron Hosley—was already gone.
Since Bob was down on the remaining offensive tackles, I agreed to look at other positions instead.
For cornerback, I really like Josh Robinson. He was the Combine's statistical star, including the title of fastest man. He's more than just a Combine star though, having had 15 passes defended in 2011. In fact, in his three years at Central Florida, he's had an amazing 36 passes defended and 10 picks. But during drills at the Combine, Robinson was often stiff and off-balance.
I'd also consider Josh Norman and Dwight Bentley, whom Bob also liked.
Bob's other preference for our third pick was strong safety Antonio Allen. I like Allen too, though my hunch is he will last until the fourth round.
The other option was linebacker. Keenan Robinson heads the list, along with Demario Davis, Ronnell Lewis and Sean Spence as other possibilities.
So excluding offensive tackle, we have eight potential targets, with 16 picks before us.
Let the race begin!
And they're off!
Well, sort of. The Colts GM was MIA so the league office picked for him.
65. IND—WR Brian Quick
66. STL—OT Zebrie Sanders
The Rams made Sanders a moot point.
67. MIN—WR Tommy Streeter
68. CLE—CB Chase Minnifield
69. TB—LB Bobby Wagner
70. MIA—S Goerge Iloka
71. JAX—G Amini Silatolu
72. BUF—LB Audie Cole
73. WAS—RB LaMichael James
74. SF—RB Chris Polk
75. KC—CB Casey Hayward
76. SEA—QB Brock Osweiler
77. HOU—CB Josh Norman
78. NYJ—TE Michael Egnew
The 79th pick was used by Oakland in the supplement draft for quarterback Terrell Pryor.
80. SD—TE Dwayne Allen
There goes Allen, although realistically, I wouldn't have taken him. I did try to work a trade to unload Kellen Davis but couldn't make it happen in time.
So now it's our turn. With the players available, and given Bob didn't want to consider Jeff Allen, it came down to two players for me: CB Josh Robinson and LB Keenan Robinson.
It's a tale of two Robinsons.
I really struggled with this decision. I debated until the waning moments of my time on the clock, and finally selected...
What a tough choice.
Josh Robinson has big upside. But he's also somewhat raw and needs some developing.
Josh is an elite athlete and can make plays in pass coverage. But he also tends to shy away from contact, making him iffy on run support. Josh also tends to gamble and jump routes, which could hurt on double moves and fakes. And his performance during drills took a little luster off his Combine measurables.
The other Robinson is much more polished.
The Bears visited Keenan Robinson's Pro Day so there appears to be real-world interest in him, which also makes this a realistic mock draft selection.
Draft guru Mike Mayock rated Keenan as the fourth-best inside linebacker in the draft, although Robinson can play any linebacker spot.
Joining the Bears, Robinson would team up with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs to form one of the most formidable linebacker corps in the league. Robinson would also provide playmaker insurance in case of an injury to either Urlacher or Briggs, as well as insurance against any potential Briggs holdout.
Furthermore, Robinson could be groomed to eventually replace Urlacher or Briggs when their tanks go empty in the next couple years.
Robinson at 6' 3" and 242 lbs can handle the elite tight ends in the league as well as the running backs. Despite 4.7 speed, he even claims to have covered wide receivers—like Justin Blackmon and Michael Crabtree, no less.
While some fans hope Robinson can fall to the fourth round, the Bears' low position in the fourth (No. 16) makes it almost impossible to get Robinson there. If he is our guy, now is the time to take him. Some mocks and projections have him going before the Bears' third-round pick at No. 81.
Nick Roach goes from starter to depth guy on the bench.
In the end, I went with safe-and-solid (Keenan) over upside-but-maybe-bust (Josh).
So for the first three rounds, the Bears draft is:
- DE Whitney Mercilus
- WR Rueben Randle
- LB Keenan Robinson
All three of them can step in on Day One, start and make an impact immediately.
As for the rest of Round 3, here's how it finished...
82. PIT—LB James-Michael Johnson
83. KC—DT Josh Chapman
84. TEN—C Philip Blake
85. CIN—CB Josh Robinson
There goes the other Robinson.
86. GB—S Markelle Martin
87.DET—OT James Brown
88. PIT—G Lucas Nix
89. DEN—LB Tank Carder
90. PHI—LB Demario Davis
New Orlean's GM was M.I.A. so the league office made the pick for the Saints.
91. NO—DE Cam Johnson
92. ATL—C Ben Jones
93. BAL—LB Shea McClellin
94. SF—TE Orson Charles
95. NE—G Brandon Washington
96. DET—LB Sean Spence
The first compensatory pick (OAK) is CB Dwight Bentley.
And that wraps up Round 3.
With five linebackers taken after the Bears took Keenan Robinson—not to mention 15 more picks to go before we pick again in the fourth round, it's easy to see that Keenan Robinson would not have lasted until the Bears' fourth-round selection.
And based on the Best Player Available philosophy, Keenan Robinson was the choice over any other cornerback left in the draft, including Josh Robinson.
Now it's onward to the fourth round. More mystery and intrigue awaits, to be covered in a future article.