Eight Players the Chicago Bears Should Target This Offseason
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The free agency period and the draft will provide the Chicago Bears with plenty of options to fill holes on the roster. Expect the team to weigh the pros and cons of the talent in both pools before deciding which direction to go.
The first area of need that should be addressed is the offensive line. There are plenty of quality tackles in the upcoming draft, but this year's free agent class offers some good options as well, including a former Pro Bowl player who has worked with the team's current offensive coordinator in the past.
Looking at the draft and free agency, here are eight players that the Bears should consider this offseason.
Jermon Bushrod, OT
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Newly-hired head coach Marc Trestman believes that success starts with protecting the quarterback, and new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer has had success in New Orleans as an offensive line coach, sending five players to the Pro Bowl during his time there.
One of those players will be on the market this offseason, and it just so happens that he plays left tackle. Jermon Bushrod was a fourth-round selection in 2007 that excelled under Kromer's tutelage. In fact, he is considered to be one of the better tackles in the league.
Other free agent tackles like Jake Long and Ryan Clady will command over $10 million per season, but the Bears can probably get Bushrod for much cheaper and he might be enticed by the chance to stick with the coach that made him a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Alec Ogletree, LB
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The NFL is a tough business. Often we see great players get let go because age has caught up to them and it no longer makes sense for a team that keep them, either financially or strategically.
Bear's GM Phil Emery will certainly be on the lookout for Brian Urlacher's eventual replacement, and he might find him in the first round of this year's draft.
During the SEC Championship Game, it wasn't highly-touted prospect Jarvis Jones making big plays. Rather, it was the Georgia Bulldog's hard-hitting middle linebacker Alec Ogletree.
At 6'3'' and around 220 pounds, Ogletree is an athletic specimen who runs through ball-carriers and has the speed to get deep in coverage.
Should the Bears address their left tackle problem via free agency, Emery could look to draft defense in the first round for the second straight year, and Ogletree would be a great fit.
Brandon Myers, TE
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Ask anybody about the tight end position for the Bears and they will tell you that it is a complete disaster right now. Kellen Davis is not the answer and he should not be back next year.
There are some solid tight ends that will be available in the draft but there are more established guys at the position in free agency. Martellus Bennett leads the crop, but Brandon Myers is underrated and not too far behind.
Also, Myers is still only 27 years old. Last season, he had a breakout year with the Raiders hauling in 79 receptions for just over 800 yards and four touchdowns.
If the Bears are looking for an athletic tight end who can go up and get the football, they should look no further than Brandon Myers.
Kyle Long, OT
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Oregon offensive tackle Kyle Long might be best known as NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long's son. Long had some early troubles at Florida State but rebounded nicely after transferring to Oregon.
Right now, he's projected to be a second-round pick, but more importantly to the Bears, he can also play the guard position as well.
The Bears need talent and better options along the offensive line next season. Maybe Aaron Kromer can fix Gabe Carimi, but, in the meantime, Long could provide instant help on the inside or at the right tackle position.
Greg Jennings, WR
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The Bears have seen enough of Greg Jennings over the last seven seasons to become admirers of him. Jennings fills a huge need for Chicago, and it would allow them to take away a weapon from Green Bay.
That's a win-win.
Jennings had his best years with the Packers as a slot receiver, and that position is a major need right now for the Bears. Earl Bennett and Devin Hester are not viable options in a pass-happy league. The Bears need to increase their offensive arsenal, and Jennings is the perfect fit.
There is a lot of wear and tear on Jennings, but he's still under 30 years old. By lining Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery outside while allowing Jennings to roam the slot against nickel corners, the Bears could turn an already solid passing game into an absolute force.
Meshak Williams, OLB/DE
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The Bears will most likely let defensive end Israel Idonije go this offseason. They have Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin to fill his role, but look for them to still draft another pass-rusher because you can never have too many.
With the team not having a third-round pick this year due to acquisition of Brandon Marshall before last season, the Bears will have to make sure that they hit on their fourth and fifth-round selections.
Meshak Williams was a disruptive force at Kansas State. Last year, he was second in the Big 12 with 8.5 sacks and he also forced three fumbles. At 6'2'' and 245 pounds, Williams will likely be a speed rusher on third down situations to begin his career in the NFL.
Darius Butler, CB
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D.J. Moore and Kelvin Hayden are both free agents who will likely not return to the Bears. So the team will need to add some depth at cornerback, and bringing in Darius Butler could help.
Butler is a former second-round pick of the Patriots who could fill a void at the nickel position. At 5'10'' and 180 pounds, he has good size to play on the inside and could provide some help in the return game.
Butler also had four interceptions last year, including two pick sixes, so he would fit in well with the Bear's defensive culture.
Jordan Rodgers, QB
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How about this? A quarterback from the same school as Jay Cutler who happens to be Aaron Rodgers' brother. It's a storyline fitting for the NFC North.
The Bears need another quarterback on the roster, but they shouldn't go out and overpay for a veteran backup, nor should they draft a guy very high.
Instead, Jordan Rodgers can fit this need in the late rounds of the draft.
Marc Trestman has a great track record with developing quarterbacks and he could do wonders with the athletic signal-caller. He struggled at Vanderbilt with turnovers and technique, but the talent is there.