Chicago Bears 2014 NFL Draft Fact or Fiction
We are less than one month away from the NFL draft. Rumors and mock drafts will continue to come fast and furious as we await the night Rodger Goodell officially tells us the Houston Texans are on the clock.
The Bears have made a ton of impact moves in free agency and the plan has been centered toward rebuilding the defense. It's highly likely that the team will continue the trend in the first few rounds of the draft.
Given there are still holes at defensive tackle, safety and cornerback, speculation has run rampant on how the Bears will fill those slots. Who's been visiting Halas Hall? Who might be atop the big board?
Cycle through as we decipher the major rumors and decide whether they are fact or fiction.
Aaron Donald Is the Favorite
When you troll the Internet and social media sites, it seems that Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the overwhelming favorite of Bears fans to become the team's first-round pick.
NFL draft experts seem to agree. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has the Bears taking Donald in the first round. SI.com's Don Banks said the same back in March.
Donald is one of the best defensive tackles in this draft. Even with the new additions to the defensive line, the Bears still have a need short term and long term at defensive tackle. Donald would be a great addition to this retooled defensive line.
Getting pressure on the quarterback helps to hide holes in the secondary and at the linebacker position. Donald could allow the team to wait on a safety in the later rounds or even next year. He has to be atop their big board.
Reaching for Ra'Shede Hageman
Haven't the Bears learned from their mistake with linebacker Shea McClellin? Given their recent misses on defense in the draft, are they ready to take another risk in the first round?
Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm predicts that the Bears will take Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman. He goes on to say it's a complete roll of the dice, and that the team should take Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
It's hard to imagine the Bears will take another risk like Hageman, knowing they have to hit on this pick. It's one thing to take a guard like Kyle Long early, but it's another to take Hageman knowing the fanbase still has a bad taste in its mouth from McClellin, as well as Brandon Hardin, the Bears' injury-riddled third-round pick in 2012.
Hageman is a late first-round pick at best. There's just no way the Bears take him off the board at least 10 picks too early. They will go with a safer pick.
Bears Tipping Their Hand at Safety?
ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson reported that Washington State safety Deone Bucannon visited the Bears for a second time. He met with the club in Chicago and also sat down with them at the Senior Bowl back in February.
Even after signing a handful of safeties, the Bears still have a need at the position. Chris Conte is recovering from an injury and struggled last year. Newly acquired Ryan Mundy might be the only viable starter on the team right now.
Bucannon is one of the top five safeties in the draft. He's a physical player who also forces a lot of turnovers. He finished his college career with 15 interceptions.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the top safety in this draft. He very well could be off the board by the time the Bears draft in the first round.
If he's gone, the team could figure Bucannon isn't that big a drop-off from guys like Calvin Pryor or Jimmie Ward who should go in the first round. Bucannon would be a perfect second-round pick.
A Linebacker in the First Round?
Last year the Bears drafted linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene. Bostic struggled at middle linebacker and Greene made most of his impact on special teams.
Bostic will now compete for an outside linebacker position leaving a long-term hole at middle linebacker once again. D.J. Williams will be slotted in for this season but could the Bears draft his replacement in the first round?
Pompei went on to say he believes Mosley is a special player but doesn't know if he's a middle linebacker or outside linebacker in the NFL. The Bears already have that problem in Bostic.
The team might look at a middle linebacker in this draft but not in the first round. There are a lot more pure middle men who will be available later in the draft.
Looking at the Corner
Veteran Charles Tillman is back in the fold after re-signing with the team to a one-year deal. Even with Tillman and Tim Jennings back, the Bears still have some long-term questions at cornerback.
Jennings has never been a true No. 1 corner and Tillman is probably on his last season in Chicago. The Bears could take advantage of this very deep draft for corners.
Even if guys like Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert or Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard are off the board by the time they draft in the first round, there are still quality corners on the board.
Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs reports that Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller visited the Bears. Fuller is a part of that next group of corners slated to go in the first round behind Gilbert and Dennard. Also on the list is Ohio State's Bradley Roby and TCU's Jason Verrett.
Nobody knows what the Bears' big board looks like, but it's safe to say there are quite a few corners on it. It's a need for the team and it would be a very smart move to snag one of these very talented players early on.