Five 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the Chicago Bears
The NFL draft follows the free-agency season this year. This allows the Chicago Bears to strategically go after their own guys and outside options knowing they can still address needs in the draft in May.
There are a lot of holes on this defense that cannot be filled in free agency alone. The Bears sit in a prime spot with the 14th overall pick in the draft to get an impact player on defense.
Here are five guys promised to get a long look from general manager Phil Emery and his staff.
Alabama Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Chris Conte and Major Wright struggled mightily all season for the Bears. It's evident Chicago needs an impact player in the back end of its defense.
Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix figures to be the first safety off the board. His perfect combination of speed and size will translate well to the next level. He's the ball-hawking safety the Bears can build around.
Earl Thomas, Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Berry and Eric Reid are all young safeties that helped rejuvenate their respective defenses. A dose of Clinton-Dix could do the same for the Bears.
Notre Dame Defensive Tackle Louis Nix
A huge void was left open when Henry Melton went down with a torn ACL this past season. The Bears began to spiral down all the way to dead last in the league in stopping the run.
Melton is considered a hybrid tackle who is quick and elusive. Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix is more of a prototypical nose tackle.
Nix can be a starter from day one and do a lot to help plug up the middle. He figures to be a perfect fit as a 3-4 nose tackle, which could only fuel speculation for a change on defense.
Minnesota Defensive Tackle Ra'Shede Hageman
Ra'Shede Hageman is an athletic freak of nature. The defensive tackle out of Minnesota is under the radar right now but could be on a lot of teams' big boards in the coming months.
Hageman is quicker and faster than Louis Nix. He fits the Bears' current 4-3 scheme. Losing Henry Melton in free agency would hurt but not as much if Hageman is still on the board when the Bears draft.
Right now Hageman is within the Bears' sights, but a great NFL combine and pro day could catapult him to the top 10 of the draft.
Alabama Linebacker C.J. Mosley
Who's the young player the Bears are going to build around on defense? Is it Jon Bostic? The young linebacker out of Florida still has time to prove himself but did nothing to help his cause in his rookie season.
Bostic can still be a highly productive player in this league, but he might need some help. Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley is a talented and physical leader on one of the nation's best defenses.
Mosley will be a starting middle linebacker from day one, which will allow Bostic to move to the outside. Bostic is a better fit in the NFL as a strong-side linebacker.
Michigan State Cornerback Darqueze Dennard
In a division that features Calvin Johnson and Aaron Rodgers, it would be nice for the Bears to implement a no-fly zone. Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State would be the perfect complement opposite Tim Jennings.
If you watched college football over the last two months of the season, you saw Dennard and his no-fly zone. He locked down receivers and was a major reason why his team knocked off Ohio State and Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Charles Tillman is an aging free agent who might not be able to come to an agreement on a new deal with the Bears.
Should Tillman leave, Dennard should expect a long look from the Bears in the first round.