Players the Bears Should Target on Day 3
With just two picks in the first three rounds, the Bears are left with some holes to fill in the final four rounds on Saturday.
The Bears put themselves in position where they could have gone in any direction with their first two picks. They went with guard Kyle Long in the first round and middle linebacker Jonathan Bostic in the second.
While those were considered need areas, they still have several holes to fill on the final day of the draft.
Although they're not likely to get a starter, the Bears need to improve their depth at several positions. They are only three deep at receiver and could look for a speed merchant to threaten defenses deep. They also could use a center, defensive tackle, quarterback and tight end.
Their most urgent need may be at cornerback, where they need improved play from their nickel back and a possible replacement for either Charles Tillman or Tim Jennings, who are in contract seasons.
The Bears can't possibly fill all their holes with just three picks; however, they could trade back to get more picks. Here are a few players the team should target on the final day of the draft.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
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Stills is exactly the kind of receiver the Bears need to take the top off of defenses.
He had over 50 catches in each of the last three years, including 82 for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL combine.
Despite that production and speed, Scouts Inc. (subscription required) ranked him 21st amongst receivers available in the draft.
His major drawback is his size. He's only 6'0" and has relatively short arms at 30 1/2 inches.
He reminds me of Johnny Knox, which is exactly the kind of receiver the Bears need in their offense. If they can keep defenses on their heels, it will help open everything else up.
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Like Stills, Swope is fast, although he's built differently and has a little different style.
While Stills is more of a deep threat down the sideline, Swope could work the slot. I don't think slot is necessarily a need with Earl Bennett and Brandon Marshall likely spending more time there, but the goal is to find good players.
Swope is built like a running back and showed great speed at the combine, running the 40 in 4.34 seconds.
He doesn't seem to play as fast as he timed, but Swope made his share of big plays for the Aggies and could do so for the Bears
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
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Williams was projected to go much earlier by many; some even thought he could be a first-round pick. However, he's still available in the fourth round, and the Bears could use depth on the defensive line.
The Alabama defensive tackle is similar to the Bears' first two picks because he's raw, but physically talented. He has a rare combination of strength and athleticism. He reportedly did 30 bench-press reps and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds at Alabama's Pro Day, despite weighing 325 pounds.
With that combination of strength and athleticism, he could line up at nose tackle or the 3-technique.
Although Lovie Smith typically went with smaller defensive linemen in his Cover 2 scheme, Mel Tucker appears to like bigger players inside. Both of the Jaguars starters weighed over 310 pounds last season.
Brandon McGee, CB, Miami (Fla.)
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McGee has a great combination of size and speed and could develop into a productive starter.
At 5'11", 193 pounds, McGee ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds at the NFL combine, where he also performed well in other drills.
Scouts Inc. (subscription required) rated him as above average in coverage skills and average in both run support and instincts/recognition. However, they said his ball skills were below average, noting he "lacks prototypical playmaking instincts."
As Tim Jennings can attest to, ball skills can be learned. What can't be taught is his physical skills, which might make him a solid late-round draft pick.
Brian Schwenke, C. California
Scouts Inc.'s (subscription required) second-rated center is still available and still a good fit for the Bears.
At 6'3", 314 pounds, he brings very good size and showed very good athletic ability at the combine.
He has played center and guard during his career at Cal and would likely replace Roberto Garza in the near future, if not right away.
Bringing in Schwenke would also enable the Bears to play Long at right tackle should J'Marcus Webb struggle switching sides.
The Bears reportedly brought Schwenke in for a visit, now may be time to bring him back to Halas Hall with a job offer.
Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
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Although Gragg is similar to 2012 fourth-round pick Evan Rodriguez, the Bears appear to be keeping the latter at fullback, meaning there is still a need for an H-back or second tight end.
Gragg had the best 40-time of all the tight ends at the NFL combine and that athletic ability shows on tape. Scouts Inc. (subscription required) noted he is a "threat to take the top off the coverage" and "showed good burst after the catch."
The Bears still need to add more weapons for Jay Cutler, and Gragg would give them just that.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Jones has been downgraded by many because of the style of offense he played in, but his production and physical tools are undeniable.
Over the last three years, Jones has thrown 97 touchdown passes and completed around 65 percent of his passes for the Sooners.
Although he lacks mobility, the Oklahoma quarterback measured at 6'4" and weighed 225 pounds at the NFL combine.
Scouts Inc. (subscription required) rated him as above average in terms of both accuracy and release/arm strength and average in mental makeup and pocket mobility.
Jones' combination of physical skills and production at a high level of competition should get him drafted sometime on Day 3.