The Bears enter the 2011 draft with one truly glaring need: the offensive line. Jay Cutler was beaten down, battered and bruised all season with the last straw being an ACL injury in the NFC Championship game against the Packers.
With a core of young O-linemen like J'Marcus Webb, Chris William and Herman Johnson already on the roster mixed with experienced veterans Roberto Garza and Olin Kreutz (who will be entering free agency when/if that happens), the Bears will need to add someone with grade A credentials that can protect Jay Cutler and create running lanes for Matt Forte for years to come.
Other needs of the Bears include the defensive tackle position. With Tommie Harris released earlier this offseason, the Bears will be looking for a new three-technique tackle for the future. Although the coaches are high on Henry Melton, a fourth-round pick from 2009 to become a player at the position, don't be surprised if the Bears go that route in the draft to add depth.
It's hard to argue that Jay Cutler didn't have a good season considering the receivers he had on his team, and the fact that he was being constantly abused throughout the season. The Bears' coaches still rave about Devin Hester's No. 1 receiver potential, but it is definitely a position that needs depth. Despite bringing in CFL star Andy Fantuz, a big-time No. 1 go-to guy for Jay Cutler remains a priority.
Zack Bowman had his issues getting playing time last season, and Tim Jennings, although he had a solid season, doesn't seem like a long-term answer at the cornerback position. Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is high on Bowman regaining his form from two seasons ago, and also sees 2010 draft pick Joshua Moore stepping into a larger role as DJ Moore did in his second season in the NFL. Standout special teams player Corey Graham hit free agency, and has hinted that he will not return to the Bears.
You could argue that last year this was the strongest position of depth on the Bears roster, but with Nick Roach, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Brian Iwuh all hitting free agency, the only linebackers left under contract are Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.