With the 2012 NFL Draft less than three weeks away, draft speculation is officially in full swing.
Lots of people have an opinion on what the Chicago Bear will do with the #19 pick in the first round, but I wanted to focus on what I believe they will NOT do in Round 1 of the upcoming draft. There are always surprise picks and unexpected trades during the draft, but regardless of what happens, I feel confident that the Bears won't be doing the following:
Three people seem to be content with the Bears LT situation: Lovie Smith, Mike Tice, and of course, J’Marcus Webb.
Unfortunately for Bears fans, the first two guys mentioned are the ones that matter. They have repeatedly praised Webb in public, including making some comments that are simply baffling.
It's worth noting that the Bears' last two first round picks were spent on offensive tackles, and it's unlikely that they'll use three straight first round selections on the same position
.....or anyone else with a drug arrest in their background. I get a chuckle out of mock drafts saying the Bears will draft Jenkins.
First of all, the Bears have been a pretty conservative organization when it comes to drafting players with criminal backgrounds.
Secondly, with the Sam Hurd fiasco last year, I can’t fathom the thought of Phil Emery using his first ever draft pick as a GM on a player with a drug history, let alone someone with three drug arrests like Jenkins.
Other players in this category include Dre Kirkpatrick (although charges later dropped) and Mike Adams (charges also dropped). I don’t see Emery drafting any players with a drug arrest in their background in any round, so cross off Bruce Irvin too.
With one pick in each round, the Bears don’t have a surplus of picks to trade. The Bears have a history of trading down in the draft, and coupled with the fact that they have used several high round picks in other draft deals (Cutler, Gaines Adams and now Brandon Marshall), I would not be surprised to see them drop back again if there are multiple options they like and the right deal is on the table.
They don’t appear to have a glaring need that requires a move up for a shot at a major difference maker. Trading back may be the best approach if their top guys are off the board.
The recent success of players like Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski has Bears fans clamoring for a tight end upgrade. Mike Martz's philosophical belief that tight ends are little more than blockers forced Greg Olsen out of town and has left a sizable hole at the tight end position.
Coby Fleener had an extremely good pro day where he turned in an impressive 4.45 40 yard dash time. But while he would certainly be a weapon for Jay Cutler, I still think 19 is too high for a tight end.
More importantly, Lovie raves about Kellen Davis, who proved to be a valuable target in the red zone despite being raw.
While I am still hoping Michael Floyd falls to 19, the chances of that appear to be very low. Even if he did, this draft is setting up to be defensive-heavy. Lovie knows what he needs to win and being the defensive-minded coach that he is, he will push for multiple defensive upgrades.
A case could be made for any of the defensive positions. A pass-rushing defensive end, an outside linebacker that could play strong side and be a replacement for Briggs or Urlacher down the road, a shut down corner, and an upgrade at safety could all be considered needs.
However, with the recent signings of Hayden and Wilhite, I don't think the Bears go CB first round. I also don't see a linebacker as a big need, even if someone like Kuechly falls. Lovie also seems to be satisfied with Wright and Conte as his starters heading into 2012.
So that brings us to the defensive line, where, in Lovie's tenure, the Bears have invested heavily in free agency and through the draft. Since Smith's arrival, the Bears have drafted 13 defensive linemen, and eight in the first three rounds. Lovie is certain to be pushing in that direction, so whether it be Mercilus, Coples, Perry, Brockers, Still or someone else, look for the Bears to make it nine defensive lineman in the first three rounds this year.