After a free agency frenzy in which the Chicago Bears signed Pro-Bowler Jared Allen, as well as two young promising defensive ends in Lamar Houston and Willie Young, Phil Emery and Mark Trestman look to the upcoming draft to continue their rebuild. After finishing second to last in yards allowed, sacks, and points, their Bears have made huge strides rebuilding their once great defense. Though they have made tremendous progress through free agency, the draft will help provide more depth on the defensive line, with the chance of upgrading on current defensive back positions. Here are a few of the players that the Bears will look at in the first round come May.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
Clinton-Dix is coming off a tremendous year at Alabama and is considered one of the true NFL ready safeties in this draft class. Clinton-Dix is a ball-hawk who excels in pass coverage and has nice soft hands which allows him to haul in interceptions. Against the run, he is above average but needs to improve his tackling as he has a poor technique when trying to tackle larger/stronger players. He is a tremendous talent who could be a day one starter, but he is expected to go toward the front end of the draft and may not fall to the Bears when they pick at 14.
Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
After resigning Tim Jennings to a three year deal and Charles Tillman, the Bears may not seem as if they need to take cornerback with their pick, but the truth is cornerbacks ability decrease quickly with age and Jennings/Tillman are 31 and 33 respectively. Fuller is an undersized, yet speedy corner who could provide depth for the Bears and eventually become a starter. Fuller plays much bigger than his 5′-11″ 190 lb. frame and is very aggressive off the line. He is a fringe first rounder, but could slip into the first round after a strong combine and pro day.
Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
After losing Henry Melton to the Cowboys, the Bears are lacking depth and talent at the DT position. Resigning Jay Ratliff and Nate Collins helped them slightly, but there is still room for improvement and DT Aaron Donald can help bring the talent needed. A bit undersized for a NFL defensive tackle (6′-1″ 285 lb.), Donald makes it up with strength and great speed of the line. As of late he has been climbing the draft boards due to an impressive Senior Bowl and combine, so it would be very likely that he would be there when the Bears pick.
Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackle, Florida State
After an impressive junior year, which he saw his team go to and win the BCS National Championship, Jernigan has declared for the draft and is a very likely possibility for the Bears to take in the first round. An excellent run defender, Jernigan could help anchor a defensive line that was last in the league against the run. He has great penetration against the run and could also help contribute as a pass rusher, after contributing 4.5 sacks last season. Drafting Jernigan is another choice the Bears will have to choose, as most likely he will be there when they pick.
The 2014 draft class is considered one of the deepest within the last few years and several great players will most likely come from this class, with hopefully a few of them ending up the Bear’s roster.