Chicago Bears' Mock Draft Roundup
We are finally closing in on the start of the NFL draft. Experts are beginning to put together their final big boards and mock drafts as the big day approaches at Radio City Music Hall on May 8.
The mocks that you see closest to the start of the draft are usually the most accurate descriptions of how things will unfold. We were able to round up first-round mocks for the Chicago Bears from some of the top guys in the business.
ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. differ in their picks, which comes as no surprise. CBS Sports' Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have somewhat surprising picks, while NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis go the conventional route.
Along with their picks, I will give you my selection and take you all the way through the Bears' seven picks. Click on the slideshow to see the names.
First Round, Pick 14
Mel Kiper Jr.: Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert (subscription required)
Todd McShay: Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald (subscription required)
In the first round, the Bears could go a variety of different directions all on defense. They need a defensive tackle and safety right now and a cornerback for the future. Experts have the Bears filling a hole at one of these positions but cannot come to a consensus choice. One analyst has them going outside the box on defense.
Aaron Donald is the by far the best defensive tackle in the draft. The only real threat to selecting him is that the New York Giants pick at 12. I think the Giants will take a tight end or offensive tackle at that position and allow Donald to fall to the Bears. They will pick him knowing they can get a safety in the second round and a corner in the third.
My choice: Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Second Round, Pick 51
In the second round, the Bears will target a safety. They still don't have two solid starters on the roster and cannot let another round pass without addressing the issue.
I would love to put Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward here, but I believe he will be off the board by the time the Bears pick. Instead, they will go with the next best choice.
The coverage skills from Deone Bucannon are not as good as Ward, but he's a classic in-the-box safety who does a great job in stopping the run. He's a very aggressive tackler who should grow in a quality NFL system. Bucannon can be the starting strong safety, allowing the Bears to put free-agent acquisition Ryan Mundy at free safety.
This means Chris Conte, Craig Steltz and M.D. Jennings will battle it out for backup positions, leaving one to be likely cut from the final roster.
My choice: Washington State SS Deone Bucannon
Third Round, Pick 82
I'm staying on the defensive side of the ball in Round 3. Charles Tillman is not getting any younger, and the Bears need to find his replacement sooner than later. Considering Tim Jennings is a shorter corner, the Bears will look for a taller option reminiscent of Tillman.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Utah corner Keith McGill are similar in size. I would love to put McGill here, but he's quickly rising up the board and could sneak into the second round at this point. Jean-Baptiste is still a 6'3'' corner who is a natural press cover man.
Allowing him to take his time and learn for a season under Tillman is the perfect fit. He works best with help over the top from a safety just like Tillman. Jean-Baptiste needs to get more fluid with his movements, but that will come with coaching.
My choice: Nebraska CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Fourth Round, Pick 117
Are we going defense again? You bet we are. Like in free agency, Phil Emery will stockpile talent in the draft to make sure last year's disaster will not be repeated. Veteran D.J. Williams is the likely starter at middle linebacker, but the Bears don't have a young player behind him to take the reins when Williams is done.
Last year's second-round pick Jon Bostic is better-suited for the outside. He doesn't take angles well from up the middle, and the Bears need a more natural player at the position who can drop back in coverage. Jordan Zumwalt is not only a pure middle linebacker, but he's also an emotional and imposing figure.
He will do what the team missed from Brian Urlacher's departure last year. He will drop back in coverage and fill the middle of the field much better than Bostic did a season ago.
My choice: UCLA MLB Jordan Zumwalt
Fifth Round, Pick 156
Finally, the Bears address their lack of depth on offense. Currently the team does not have a viable backup behind running back Matt Forte. Michael Ford will get a shot, but the Bears could use a more talented option.
Marion Grice is a great dual threat who will fit well in Marc Trestman's offense. The problem with Michael Bush last year was that he was too one-dimensional. Teams were able to load up the box, knowing he was nothing more than a bruising short-yardage back.
When Grice is in the game, he can do all the things Forte does. He runs hard with great cuts and is a good receiver. This keeps the offense flowing, while the franchise back gets some much-deserved and needed breaks.
My choice: Arizona State RB Marion Grice
Sixth Round, Pick 183
The Bears will continue to build depth on offense by adding an offensive lineman. The team is thin at guard and tackle and could use a player who can come in and play either position in the event of an injury.
The importance of having a quality swing offensive lineman to come in and fill in cannot be overlooked. Michael Schofield has outstanding size but still manages to move his feet well. Down the road, he can develop into a starter at either tackle or guard.
My choice: Michigan T/G Michael Schofield
Sixth Round, Pick 191
The Bears will finish off the draft with a quarterback. Like running back and offensive line, the Bears have a depth issue behind starter Jay Cutler. Marc Trestman is going to take a younger version of Josh McCown who can develop into a quality backup.
Overshadowed by Northern Illinois Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch, Keith Wenning holds most of the passing records at Ball State including a six-touchdown performance against Miami University. He's an accurate quarterback who takes care of the football.
Like McCown, Wenning doesn't have a big arm but makes up for it with his smart decisions.
My choice: Ball State QB Keith Wenning