In a series we will run throughout this week, Acme Packing Company will break down some of the expert opinions on each of the NFC North teams' draft needs and possibilities. First up, we will discuss the Chicago Bears, who finished in fourth place in the division with a 6-10 record and hold the 11th overall selection in the draft.
The annual bloggers' mock draft is underway, and we are through 18 picks so far. First up in our look around the NFC North, we'll examine the pick from the Bears bloggers from Windy City Gridiron, who were able to snag one of the draft's top cornerbacks with the 11th pick in the SB Nation mock draft. Dane Noble of WCG addresses the pick here:
The Bears have lots of needs even after an active free agency period, but here they would likely swipe the best player available at a huge need position for them -- cornerback. In theory, they could grab a defensive tackle here as well, but this year’s DT class is deep, and they can look in round 2 or even 3 in filling that need. Hargreaves would fit right in with the Bears, and provide an instant upgrade to a weak secondary the day he reports to camp.
In a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Teddy Bridgewater, a good secondary is certainly a necessity, and adding a talented corner to pair with Kyle Fuller would be an excellent move if Hargreaves makes it out of the top 10.
In a piece posted to ESPN this week, Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl looked at one player that each NFC North team should target on each day of the draft. Below we will present Weidl's choices and will analyze each of them in turn.
Day 1: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
The Bears were the No. 10 worst team at defending the run last season, per nfl.com, so Rankins makes sense as an interior lineman. Chicago now has Hicks and second-round pick Eddie Goldman manning the trenches, but Rankins would be an immediate starter based on talent. Recording 58 tackles and 6.0 sacks in his senior season, he's shown the propensity to regularly makes his presence felt in the backfield at Louisville.
Rankins would be a safe play for Chicago, but moving back for a defensive tackle-with a perceived talented class at the position-would be an option. They'd love to have Vernon Hargreaves III fall to them to pair with Fuller, but this feels like it's a plan B option that reeks of safeness. Trading up to get the corner or adding another pick via trading back would arguably be the more beneficial scenario.
Day 2: Josh Garnett, OG, Stanford
Chicago was No. 11 in rushing yards per game last season, but are going to be without Matt Forte for the first time in what feels like a decade. Their next man up is going to need road graders in front of him and Josh Garnett fills that role. This isn't an elite class of guards, but Garnett isn't far behind Kansas State's Cody Whitehair in terms of ability. The Stanford product had the honor of blocking for college stud Christian McCaffery, but needs to make the transition to the professional level.
The 6-4, 312-pound offensive lineman could go anywhere from the second to the fourth round, but fills a need in the Bears' line. It's anyone's guess as to whether Garnett has Pro Bowl potential, but he'll be expected to compete in training camp and solidify his role as a starter.
Day 3: Beau Sandland, TE, Montana State
Seidl noted that Sandland transferred from Miami and performed solidly at the Combine. He's more of a receiving tight end than a blocker. Can play in the box or as an end line tight end. Sandland led Montana State with 632 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns.
CBSSports has Sandland as a fifth-sixth round player and would be a legitimate day 3 look for the Bears, who will be playing without Martellus Bennett. With Alshon Jeffery, Chicago needs to add more targets in the offense and make defenses game plan for others.
What direction do you expect the Bears to go with their first-round pick?