Chicago Bears Mock Draft 2012: Who Are the Experts Projecting to the Bears?

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  A general view of the Draft stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Yesterday we looked at who the experts are saying will be the first round pick of the Detroit Lions, and today we'll move onto the next team on our list: the Chicago Bears

To keep it simple (and consistent) I'm using the same group of analysts from the Lions article.

They are the following: Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Scott Wright of, Wes Bunting of National Football Post, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sportsline, Shawn Zobel from Draft Headquarters, Bleacher Report's very own Sigmund Bloom, Chad Reuter of and Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football.

As they did yesterday, all of the links above go to the analyst's mocks, save Kiper/McShay who are both behind the ESPN pay wall.

Unlike with the Lions, there is no real consensus as to which position to look at for the Bears. The picks are quite honestly all over the place.

Does that mean the Bears have so many holes they can't go wrong? Does it mean analysts are falling into traps?

Let's see what they said and I'll tell you what I think on each pick.


McShay: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Here's what he said:

Martin needs to add some strength, but he could pair with 2011 first-round OT Gabe Carimi to give offensive coordinator Mike Tice a pair of bookends to coach up. Tice's scheme will help keep QB Jay Cutler upright, but the Bears desperately need a left tackle.

My take: I have two opinions on this pick. From a need/talent standpoint, it's a great pick. Martin protected Andrew Luck's blind side and if it's good enough for Luck, it's good enough for Cutler.

From a "what the team says" standpoint, though, it's off. I don't know I buy the "we're fine on the offensive line" mantra being spouted in the Windy City, but it's what they're saying.

Here's what every analyst (myself included) struggles with when mocking. There's the way we think the team will pick and the way WE would pick. There's a more than subtle difference there. I do think McShay feels that whatever the Bears say, the pick is the best OT on the board. I'm just not sure the Bears see it the same, for good or ill.


 Kiper: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois 

Here's what he said:

Quick off the edge, Mercilus utilizes great anticipation and some natural gifts as a pass-rusher, with closing speed and long arms once he has the quarterback in sight. He's coming off a brilliant final season for the Illini, and Rod Marinelli could do wonders with him. The Bears could use some pass-rushing insurance with Julius Peppers not getting any younger.

My take: In general, I like the pick. Mercilus has some question marks, but is a very good player with upside who could go anytime in the second half of the first round. It's not the most pressing need for the Bears, in my opinion, and I have a hard time believing this is the pick they make with cornerbacks like Dre Kirkpatrick and Stephon Gilmore on the board still.

It's a decent pick, but isn't pressing enough a need.


Wright: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina 

Here's what he said:

There are actually bigger issues at cornerback in the Windy City, where there really isn’t much to speak of beyond the 31-year-old Peanut Tillman. There is a chance that LSU’s Morris Claiborne will be the only cover guy off the board at this point so if Chicago wanted to go in that direction they could have their choice of South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore, North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins or Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick. Of that group Gilmore would be the best fit and offers the most long-term potential. Checking in at 6-0½ and 190 pounds with legit 4.40 speed, Gilmore certainly has all of the physical tools that you look for and is also a ballhawk in the secondary.

My take: I only took the middle chunk of Scott's analysis, but he agrees that for good or ill, the Bears seem happy to move forward with their current group of offensive linemen.

That said, I like the nod to Gilmore over Kirkpatrick. Both are fine players, but Gilmore is closer to a true cover corner and has more dimensions to his play, so I would give him the edge over Kirkpatrick.


Bunting: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech 

Here's what he said:

Hill is going to need to become a more consistent route runner. However, at 6-5 he showcases some natural short-area quickness to his game and knows how to go up and get the football vertically. He’s one of the draft's elite size/speed combos at the receiver spot and his stock is on the rise.

My take: I don't love the trend of placing wide receivers early to the Bears in mocks right now, for a couple of reasons.

Of course, Brandon Marshall fills the immediate need for a big-play wide receiver, but more importantly is the rumor that the Bears may remove Devin Hester from kickoff duties in order to give him a bigger role as a wide receiver. I think it's nuts, but if that's the plan, I believe it pretty clearly shows the Bears are not looking to add a high-pick wide receiver to the mix.

I believe they are looking to add one later—especially considering the pure depth of the wide receiver class this year. I like Hill a lot, but I don't think this is a pick I see happening.


Rang: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama

Here's what he said:

Despite the fact that the Bears boast one of the NFL's top defensive ends in Julius Peppers, don't expect the early run on pass-rushers to slow down. Upshaw lacks the height and speed of some of the other highly regarded edge rushers, but his power and well-honed technique should make him among the more immediate impact defenders of this draft.

My take: I have the same issues with this defensive end pick as I do McShay's Mercilus pick, though I really like Upshaw. With Peppers on the other side, he could see a lot less attention, which could, in turn, free him up to do a ton of damage.

Again, though, both Gilmore and Kirkpatrick are on the board and I can't say I like passing on them for a position at which the Bears are actually OK. 


Brugler: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Here's what he said:

Despite being the top non-rush linebacker prospect in this draft class, Luke Kuechly could slip a few picks because teams in the top-20 don't generally value the position high. However, he would be an excellent fit for the Bears to start immediately at SLB and eventually take over for Brian Urlacher in the middle. Kuechly, who patterns his game after Ray Lewis, is bigger but very similar to Zach Thomas, who was a perennial Pro Bowler in Miami.

My take: This one's a bit off the reservation, isn't it? Not that it's a bad pick—I love Kuechly and would be a bit shocked if he dropped here—I just haven't seen this particular choice before.

Again, not a need pick and Gilmore and Kirkpatrick are on the board still. I do think that Kuechly would be awfully hard to pass up here.


Zobel: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

My take: As I said in the Lions article, Zobel doesn't have a description for his mocks, so I'm guessing here but he's clearly as concerned as I am about the Bears line.

Again, I like the pick and feel it is the right pick, I just don't trust the Bears will do it given what they've said.


Bloom: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor 

Here's what he said:

The Bears can't count on Johnny Knox's return, and a speedy wide receiver to open things up for Brandon Marshall to operate is a must.

My take: As I said for the Stephen Hill pick, I suspect they think they have their speedy receiver option in Devin Hester. I don't believe it's a well thought-out plan, but it's what the tea leaves seem to be saying.

Also, there are some good players they can get to fill the need a round or so later. Kirkpatrick and safety Mark Barron are both available and I would see them going that route first.


Reuter: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina 

Here's what he said:

Gilmore is highly talented, but team needs and talent at other positions could cause him to fall in the same area as second-ranked cornerbacks in recent drafts: Vontae Davis (selected 25th by Miami in 2009), Kareem Jackson (20th, Houston, 2010) and Prince Amukamara (19th, Giants, 2011).

My take: There's a reason I love Wright and Reuter and it isn't just because they buy me beer when we see each other in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. I often find we think similarly when it comes to prospects and mocks.

As I said with Wright, I like Gilmore a lot and would imagine he goes before Kirkpatrick, as he does in Chad's mock.


Cherepinsky: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Here's what he said:

 Jay Cutler must have been thrilled when he heard about the Brandon Marshall trade. He'll also like this pick. Just because the Bears acquired Marshall doesn't mean they'll eschew drafting a receiver at No. 19. Cutler needs a second wideout, especially considering that Johnny Knox is doubtful to play in 2012 coming off back surgery.

Kendall Wright recently had a great Pro Day, silencing the ridiculous notion that he's not a speed receiver. Lovie Smith has shown a ton of interest in both Wright and Stephen Hill, but the former is the superior talent.

My take: Again, I have some doubts about a wide receiver early for all the reasons I have listed previously.