The Chicago Bears have an opportunity to add several meaningful pieces in the 2013 NFL draft. This is a team that has hopes of making a playoff run next year, and the players added in this draft will be asked to play a significant role.
Chicago will likely be looking to fill needs in the linebacker corps, along the interior of the offensive line and to add depth in the secondary.
One issue facing Phil Emery and company is the fact the Bears only have five picks in the draft. This could lead to some wheeling and dealing on draft day.
The Chicago Bears made some patchwork moves this offseason to fill the voids left by Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach. However, signing D.J. Williams and James Anderson are just temporary fixes. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown features the skills needed to fill one of these spots for the foreseeable future.
Brown is an explosive athlete who features the instincts to make plays all over the field. That quickness helps him attack the line of scrimmage and make plays in the backfield. His athleticism is the key to his success, as he lacks ideal size for the linebacker position.
This is a perfect fit for the Bears’ Cover 2 system because Brown is more than capable of reaching the deep middle in coverage.
Chicago’s defense started to show some signs of aging last season, so it makes sense for them to add a player with Brown’s type of speed.
Because the Bears only have five picks in this draft, it’s possible they look to move down in the first round. I’m sure they’d love to recoup the third-round pick they gave up last year to land Brandon Marshall.
Chicago recently brought Syracuse’s Justin Pugh in for a pre-draft visit. This makes a ton of sense because Pugh features the potential to fill multiple spots along the offensive line. Most of his college experience came at the left tackle position, but he also flashes the skills needed to move inside to guard.
The Bears could give him a shot to win one of the guard spots, while also working to see if he’s a potential fit at tackle.
Pugh is good looking prospect who finds success because of his quickness out of his stance and inside hand placement. However, he needs to spend time getting stronger and working on keeping his pads low on a more consistent basis.
I personally have a late third-round grade on Pugh, but it’s entirely possible that the Bears view him as a much better prospect. The fact they brought him in for a visit shows that have at least some interest.
Outside of Pugh, Chicago could look to add a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Players like Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins, Georgia’s John Jenkins and Missouri Southern’s Brandon Williams are all realistic options.
Even after drafting Justin Pugh, the Bears still have needs along the interior of the offensive line. California’s Brian Schwenke is a solid center prospect with good upside. He’s an excellent athlete who also flashes the strength to get a push off the line.
He’d immediately serve as Roberto Garza’s backup with the potential to steal the starting job by the end of his rookie season. Garza has had a solid career, but his production dropped off last year.
Adding two offensive linemen like Pugh and Schwenke will help improve the overall talent and outlook of the unit.
Charles Tillman is coming off arguably the best season of his career, but he’ll be 33 years old next February. The Bears need to start thinking about finding a long-term replacement for their Pro Bowl corner.
Thinking about the future isn’t the only reason for Chicago to target a cornerback in the later rounds of the draft. Kelvin Hayden didn’t have a great year as the team’s nickelback and someone needs to be brought in to add some competition.
UCLA’s Sheldon Price is a long and athletic defensive back. He shows the ability to run with opposing wide receivers, come up to support the run and attack the ball in the air. His aggressive play is something Chicago has typically looked for at this position.
The Bears don’t have a lot of talent behind Stephen Paea and Henry Melton at the defensive tackle position. As it stands, they’re counting on players like Nate Collins and Andre Fluellen to play meaningful snaps.
Chicago can target a sleeper prospect like Michigan’s Will Campbell later in the draft. Campbell doesn’t get nearly enough attention. This is a player who shows a strong motor and always works to the football. He features sound technique—keeping his pads low and fighting for inside hands.
Campbell’s thick lower half and technique allows him to anchor against the run—even holding up against double teams. The fact that he flashes some quickness off the ball means he has some versatility.
He could easily work his way into the rotation at both the three-technique and nose tackle spots.