Chicago Bears Mock Draft: Predicting All Picks
Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, the NFL free agency frenzy began and the Chicago Bears wasted no time addressing two of their biggest needs, signing tight end Martellus Bennett and left tackle Jermon Bushrod to long-term deals.
Bennett is expected to give quarterback Jay Cutler a reliable target in the middle of the field, while Bushrod will be expected to help protect the often-sacked quarterback's blindside.
Despite addressing those two major areas of concern, the team still has plenty of areas that need improvement. The team is yet to have any deals in place with some of their current free agents (Brian Urlacher, Nick Roach, Kelvin Hayden and Israel Idonije). By addressing the tight end and left tackle positions in free agency, the team may find suitable replacements in the upcoming draft.
Here is the latest mock draft for the Chicago Bears:
1st Round: D.J. Fluker, Tackle, Alabama
The Bears offensive line immediately got better after the addition of left tackle Jermon Bushrod on Tuesday, but the team is still far from being set along the offensive line.
The Bears started the 2012 season with Gabe Carimi at right tackle. He appeared to struggle week in and week out and was eventually replaced by veteran Jonathan Scott. Scott played well in his seven starts, but it is unknown whether or not the team is willing to bring him back.
The team could have J'Marcus Webb, who started all 16 games at left tackle last season, compete with Carimi and/or Scott for the right tackle position.
But Chicago could find an immediate upgrade at the position by drafting Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker.
At 6'6" and 335 pounds, Fluker is an ideal NFL right tackle. He is a terrific run-blocker who uses his size and speed to control defenders and utilizes his extremely long arms to create space. He is tabbed by many as a physical "road-grader"-type tackle who could start from day one and help solidify an offensive line.
If he falls to the Bears at pick No. 20, he has the ability to start immediately and could find himself playing right tackle in the league for the next decade.
2nd Round: Arthur Brown, Linebacker, Kansas State
For the first time in 13 years, Brian Urlacher is currently not a member of the Chicago Bears after officially becoming a free agent Tuesday afternoon. It has been noted that the two sides have been in talks, but there has been no mention on whether or not he will return in 2013.
With both Urlacher and Nick Roach possibly departing, the Bears will be in the market for a young linebacker who can help anchor the position for years to come.
Enter Arthur Brown.
Viewed as a touch small for the position (6', 241 pounds), Brown has been an extremely productive linebacker at Kansas State and has seen his stock continually rise throughout this offseason.
His good vision and instincts are two of his best qualities. He has been consistent at shedding blocks and getting to the ball-carrier. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine and has good enough speed to remain as a middle linebacker at the next level.
He will need to improve on his coverage skills, as he sometimes relied on his speed to make up for his own mistakes.
Brown has the flexibility to play both outside and inside linebacker. If the team is able to re-sign Urlacher for a few more seasons, he can get improve his game on the outside and potentially be the replacement for Urlacher once he moves on.
4th Round: Brian Schwenke, Center, California
Only two offensive linemen started all 16 games last season for the Bears; J'Marcus Webb and Roberto Garza. While Webb got his fair share of criticism, Garza went much of the year without much criticism placed on him despite having a down year.
Garza played well in 2011 when moved from guard to center but struggled in many areas in 2012. With him turning 34 later this month, the team will need to look to the draft to get younger at the position.
Cal's Brian Schwenke showed off his versatility throughout his time with the Golden Bears, seeing extended time at both guard positions before becoming the team's starter at center this past season.
He possesses a quick first step off the football and uses his quick hands effectively. His low center of gravity lends well to the position, and because of his versatility he could compete for some playing time at guard.
He will need to improve his shotgun snaps and also work better at maintaining his blocks when he gets to the second level.
Schwenke would likely be viewed as a project behind Garza, but once Garza'a deal is up after the 2013 season, Schwenke has the ability to step in and take over the position.
5th Round: Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
Despite the terrific production from Brandon Marshall in 2012, the Bears receiving core left plenty to be desired. The team saw Johnny Knox retire earlier this year after not being able to return from a devastating back injury in 2011 that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season.
The team lacked a speedy deep threat and Jay Cutler was forced to rely on Marshall on what seemed to be every pass attempt. The 2013 draft has plenty of solid options at the wide receiver position, and the Bears could get lucky if Kenny Stills falls to them in the fifth round.
Stills ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February and finished last season at Oklahoma with 82 catches for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He is quick off the ball and runs solid tight routes. He uses his quickness to get past defenders but also has excellent body control and has the ability to go up and get the football. He has experience both lining up on the outside and on the inside as a slot receiver.
The Bears could utilize his speed opposite of Marshall on the outside or create mismatches against slower defenders in the slot.
He does have some off-the-field issues, with a DUI on his record from 2011, but if he is still available in the fifth round, he would be a great value pick for Phil Emery and the Bears.
6th Round: Sanders Commings, Cornerback, Georgia
Despite having two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in 2012, the Bears will need to look at getting younger in the secondary in 2013. Charles Tillman just turned 32 late last month, Jennings will be turning 30 next December and both have their contracts expiring after next season.
The team drafted two cornerbacks at the end of the draft last season in Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy. But only Frey remains, having spend the majority of last season on the team's practice squad.
Georgia's Sanders Commings has great size for the position (6', 216 pounds) but some feel he may eventually make the transition to safety despite starting 35 games at cornerback while at Georgia.
He plays very well in press coverage and has a tendency to play physical with bigger receivers. He does struggle at times when playing zone coverage.
The team will likely look for a veteran to come in to play nickelback in 2013, but Commings could be a nice development player for cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.