5 Late-Round NFL Draft Prospects Perfectly Suited for the Chicago Bears
It's been a flurry of moves for the Chicago Bears this offseason. General manager Phil Emery has made a strong effort to improve the defensive line, but what areas should he address in the draft?
Defensive tackle and safety are high on the list come draft time, but what about the later rounds? The Bears should address their depth and future holes as they get near the end of the draft.
Who are some key players they should target? Click through as we give you five players who fit the Bears perfectly as late-round options.
Quarterback Tom Savage
Savage is a journeyman college quarterback if one could exist. He was at Rutgers and Arizona before going to Pitt. Questions will arise as to why he's bounced around, but the talent to be a solid backup is there.
As of now, the 6'4'', 228-pound senior has a good enough arm to play in the NFL and has shown an ability to pick up offenses quickly.
He went from a walk-on at Pitt to starter. His ability to study hard in the film room could catch the eye of head coach Marc Trestman. His size is prototypical for a quarterback and could be a late-round find as Jay Cutler's next understudy.
Center Tyler Larsen
Roberto Garza is likely going into his last season as a Bear. The team needs to find a replacement for him, but doesn't have to reach high in the draft to find a quality center.
Utah State's Tyler Larsen is a solid veteran leader who started 51 straight games for the Aggies. The 2013 Remington Trophy Finalist anchored an offensive line on a team that put up over 32 points per game.
At 6'4'', 313 pounds, Larsen has the size and power to play in the NFL. Drafting him in the late rounds and allowing him to sit and learn for a season would be the ideal situation. Picking Larsen with one of the Bears' two sixth-round picks would be a wise choice.
Running Back Storm Johnson
Former Bears running back Michael Bush was too predictable in the offense. His style just didn't fit in the scheme. He struggled because teams were able to stack the box and slow down the one-dimensional back.
What makes Matt Forte so good is his ability to do so many different things. Forte runs hard, catches passes and is an improved blocker. University of Central Florida running back Storm Johnson can come in and spell Forte, while still bringing versatility to the table.
In the Blake Bortles-led offense, Johnson had over 1,100 yards on the ground and added 30 receptions. He's a better fit for what the Bears are trying to do on offense than another battering ram.
Running backs aren't going to fly off the board until the middle rounds. This likely means Johnson can be had past Round 4 if the Bears want him.
Middle Linebacker Preston Brown
Even after drafting two linebackers last year, the Bears still have long-term questions at middle linebacker. It wouldn't be a bad idea to take a gander at some late-round prospects just in case.
Jon Bostic could end up playing the rest of his career at outside linebacker. Khaseem Greene will do the same and Shea McClellin is certainly no long-term answer. How about a stout run stuffer from Louisville? Preston Brown could be the late-round find who can ultimately succeed in the NFL.
Brown won't wow you with his size. He's only 6'1'', 251 pounds, but he runs well, takes quality angles to the ball and is a tackling machine. He led Louisville in tackles last year, averaging 7.4 per game.
Give Brown some time in the NFL and he can turn into a solid starter in the league, with his instincts and intangibles.
It would be tough to have to burn another pick on a linebacker, but bringing D.J. Williams back is proof the Bears aren't sure of their current youngsters. Williams is only on a one-year deal and the Bears should keep all options open in the late rounds.
Tight End Xavier Grimble
There just isn't any solid backup behind Martellus Bennett. Dante Rosario had only one catch last year and Fendi Onobun has struggled to catch the ball in preseason and training camp.
The Bears would be smart to look for a big target who can develop into a solid blocker and catch some passes opposite Bennett. USC tight end Xavier Grimble can be that guy.
There's nothing explosive about Grimble, but he's big and runs well enough. He ran anywhere between a 4.98 and 5.02 40-yard dash and measures out at 6'4'', 257 pounds.
Bringing in some extra competition to camp at tight end is necessary. The depth has to be a cause for concern, and the Bears need to get in front of the issue.
Grimble is already a solid blocker with soft hands. With some time in offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer's system, Grimble can turn into a very good blocking tight end who will keep the defense honest when he sneaks out for a pass.