With the college football season finally at an end and the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2011 NFL draft, it’s finally a good time to start taking a look at some of the draft possibilities for the Bears. Chicago will have a pretty low first-round draft pick but can still find some good value for that pick.
The needs on the team are evident. They need a lot of help on the offensive line and could use a real playmaker on the interior of the defensive line. They may also want to start thinking about who they may want to replace middle linebacker Brian Urlacher in the coming season or two. Could a shutdown cornerback be something to consider as well?
Let’s take a look at five guys that the Bears could be interested in when they make their pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. These players are projected to be taken in the latter half of the draft at this point.
Anthony Costonzo, OT, Boston College
The Bears need help at the left and the right offensive tackle positions (but the left is the biggest need) and could look to Costonzo to help them out there. Costonzo is a big-bodied tackle (he comes in at 6’7” and weighs 300 pounds) and can dominate, at times, in games. The Bears could really use a guy like him on the offensive line and give them what they have been missing at the left (or right) tackle position this season.
Gabe Carimini, OT, Wisconsin
Keeping on the offensive side of the ball and sticking with the offensive line, Chicago could be very interested in a more local product like Carimini to help them accomplish what they want on the offensive line. Carimini could step in and start right away if needed (and it’s needed) and could help boost their offensive line, making their offense that much better.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
The Bears could always use some help at the wide receiver position but would it be a stretch for them to take one in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft? If they could find a good wide receiver like Baldwin (where they pick in the first round) then they might want to take a look at him and see how someone like that could help their offense.
A wide receiver that can stretch the field and become a big threat would go a long way towards helping their offense. Could (and should) they try to go that route in the draft?
Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Going back to the offensive line, the Bears may be willing to take a shot at a guy like Smith, a road grader at the offensive tackle position and someone that could help beef up their line instantaneously. If he is still there when the Bears make their pick then they should take a look at him and seek to help out their offense.
Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
Houston ended up having a great season in Georgia and that is going to get him a lot of notice by many teams in the 2011 NFL draft. Chicago needs much more help on offense than it does on defense, but don’t rule out some defensive picks in this draft even at No. 1. Houston could either help at the defensive end position or could play outside linebacker (in Pisa Tinoisamoa’s spot) and help add some youth to the linebacker position.