As we continue the Acme Packing Company Mock Draft, we land on the 14th overall pick, owned by the Chicago Bears.
The Bears finished 8-8 in 2013, and lost the NFC North division and berth into the playoffs when the Packers pulled off the 33-28 victory in Week 17 of the regular season.
Here's the High-Definition Replay:
The Bears offense took a giant step forward, finishing the year with the second-best scoring offense in the league, as well as breaking team records for total yards (6,109), passing yards (4,450), passing touchdowns (32), first downs (344), and passer rating (96.9). However, the Bears defense took a giant step backwards in 2013, finishing 30th in overall defense. The defense also set team records for yards allowed (6,313), rushing yards allowed (2,583) and points (478).
The days of the "Monsters of the Midway" appears to be a distant memory, as the organization has shifted gears under Coach Marc Trestman to become a more offensive team that wins 42-35 type games and not 20-17 defensive battles. Much like the Steelers, the Bears defense has aged rapidly, and are in dire need of adding young talent to their roster. The team added defensive linemen Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Nate Collins, Willie Young, Israel Idonije, and Jeremiah Ratliff in free agency to account for their defensive front issues, but their defensive secondary remains an issue.
With the loss of Major Wright and Zack Bowman in free agency, and the aging Charles Tillman coming off an injury-shortened season, the Bears would be wise to add a shutdown cornerback or play-making safety with their no. 14 pick in this year's draft.
With the 14th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select...
Player: Darqueze Dennard
School: Michigan State
If Gilbert is off the board at 14, I fully expect the Bears to select the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner. Dennard was the best player on arguably the best defense in college football last season, and finished with four interceptions in his senior campaign. He was deemed the "No Fly Zone" for his ability to shutdown an entire side of the field and keep offensive coordinators from even attempting passes in his area.
While he isn't a Richard Sherman-type corner at only 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds, he plays physically and has played his entire career in a press-man defense that asked him to make a lot of plays without the benefit of playing with a safety behind him. Dennard also isn't afraid to attack in run support, finishing with 62 tackles, 3.5 for loss, in his senior season.
The only drawback on Dennard may be that he was never asked to play a lot of zone defense in his time at Michigan State, and isn't a 4.2 forty-yard dash type of athlete. He is deceptively quick though, and has "catch-up" speed while in coverage. He is a "leader by example" type of personality, and could be a perfect protege to Charles Tillman. In terms of the 2014 season, Dennard would take a lot of pressure off of their safeties, and help add some youth to a position that hasn't aged well recently.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Louisville|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
|10||Detroit Lions||Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Aaron Donald||DT||Pittsburgh|
|12||New York Giants||Eric Ebron||TE||North Carolina|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||Alabama|
|14||Chicago Bears||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|