The Chicago Bears did not surprise anybody when they took a defensive lineman in the first round. They did raise some eyebrows when they passed up names like Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones to draft Shea McClellin.
After Day 1, new GM Phil Emery has proven one thing to you. He will stick to whoever he evaluates as the best person on the board even if it means going away from the popular pick. Now, where do the Bears go from here?
First-round selections are important but winning-football teams are built through the later rounds. Emery has proven to be a wild card thus far so it will be hard to predict where he goes, but Rounds 2-7 might look a little like the following:
Many people wanted the Bears to draft a player from Illinois. Defensive end Whitney Merculis or wide receiver A.J. Jenkins were popular names linked to the Bears after the team visited them on their pro day. Both were passed on and are now off the board but there is a big tackle from Illinois still available.
Phil Emery has always made it seem through his comments that the team is content with their current offensive line situation and it's not as big a priority as some think. The team will most likely still be searching quality players on the offensive line. Expect a large run on tackles in the second round. By the time the Bears draft, it will be tough to pass on Jeff Allen.
He has the size at 6'4'', 307 lbs to be a left tackle. He was moved inside during the Senior Bowl because he struggled to extend his arms, but Mike Tice could coach him up into a solid left tackle and an upgrade over the current situation.
Make no bones about it. Even with the addition of Brandon Marshall, the Bears are still in the market for a wide receiver. They have enough sub-6'0'' guys so they would love another tall target for Jay Cutler.
Juron Criner fits the mold in the third round. At 6'3'', 224 lbs, he has the size the Bears are looking for. He does not have great speed but has tremendous leaping ability in jump-ball situations.
With over 80 catches, 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns, he proved to be very productive in a West Coast offense at Arizona.
The Bears went to the free-agency market for some depth at the corner position but they do not have many long-term answers on the roster. Lovie Smith has given no indication of changing his Cover 2 style defense, allowing the team to look at smaller corners.
Dwight Bentley is a player that fits the Bears' system and needs.
At 5'10'', 182 lbs, he does not have great size but has the speed and cover skills to make an impact. Bentley ran a 40 time in 4.43 seconds. He has a sneaky ability to drive on the football, making him a quality ball-hawking option.
When you get to this point in the draft, you are looking for versatility and rotation-type players. Even with their first-round pick, the Bears could still use help on the defensive line. Kheeston Randall fits the need.
Randall is a player who can play inside and out. At 6'5'', 293 lbs, he has the size to move all around the defensive line.
He is a high-character guy off the field, whose mean streak only shows up in uniform. He has a great ability to get off the line of scrimmage and could prove to be a valuable commodity as a backup or injury replacement.
Players who can improve depth, play multiple positions and contribute in special teams are the kinds of guys you look for this late in the draft. Christian Thompson provides all of that.
Thompson is out of the little-known MEAC conference but could prove to have a long-lasting career. He is listed as a free safety but at 6'0'', 211 lbs, Thompson can play some strong safety, linebacker and will be a standout on special teams. He has a high motor and physical presence on the field.
The league has shifted towards the big-play tight ends. Guys like Adrien Robinson don't get much play anymore. He is a blocking tight end, who was not even invited to the combine. That didn't stop the Bears from having a visit with him.
He comes in at 6'4'', 264 lbs. He's not going to wow you with soft hands or great playmaking ability. What he is going to do is provide blocking protection and sneak out on the occasional short-yardage play for a rare catch or two.