Mock 2011 NFL Draft, Bears-Style…
This will look different than most mock drafts you have seen; as I will attempt to show how the draft might play out from the point of view in the Bears’ Draft Room. The first thing we should do is eliminate players from our “big board” who have little chance of being on the board by the time the Bears pick at #29:
DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama); Nick Fairley (Auburn); Corey Liuget (Auburn)
CBs Patrick Peterson (LSU); Prince Amukamara (Nebraska); Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
WRs Julio Jones (Alabama); AJ Green (Georgia)
OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)
DE Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson); Cameron Jordan (California); Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue); Aldon Smith (Missouri); JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
OTs Anthony Costanzo (Boston College); Tyron Smith (USC)
OG Mike Pouncey (Florida)
QBs Cameron Newton (Auburn); Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
No matter the mock draft, the consensus is that those 18 guys will, in some order, be picked in the first 28 picks of the draft. The next group of players are guys that are rated to be gone before the Bears pick in some mock drafts, but still available in other mock drafts:
QBs Ryan Mallett (Arkansas); Andy Dalton (TCU); Jake Locker (Washington)
RB Mark Ingram (Alabama)
OTs Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin); Nate Solder (Colorado); Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
OG Danny Watkins (Baylor);
DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple); Phil Taylor (Baylor)
DEs Adrian Clayborn; Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)
LB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
CBs Brandon Harris (Miami); Aaron Williams (Texas)
Should these guys be available at #29, you can eliminate the 3 QBs as possibilities. I think you can also strike Ingram off of the list as a potential draft pick of the Bears; a) his injuries would concern me, and b) there are too many other needs on the board. The 2 DTs I think are not options for the Bears—Taylor is more of a 3-4 NT, and Wilkerson as a prospect reminds me too much of Jarron Gilbert for me to not be scared off. Akeem Ayers can be eliminated too, he is more of a 3-4 OLB and doesn’t possess the mobility the Bears look for in a OLB. Which leaves the 4 offensive line prospects, the 2 defensive ends; and the 2 cornerbacks. Of that group, I think the only one that we cannot find equal talent for in the second round would be Solder. The other OTs are probably better suited for RT in the NFL, and Webb did a good job there last season. Watkins might be a possibility; but again, I think equal value can be found in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. Clayborn and Heyward would be good fits; but only if we make the decision to mover Idonije back inside. And the 2 cornerbacks do not offer much value here—especially with guys like Davin House & Ras-I Dowling available in the second round.
In other words, unless Solder is available at #29; the best-case scenario for the Bears would be for just one or two of the top 6 QBs (Dalton, Ponder, Locker, or Mallett) to still be on the board at pick #29. Then, you can have a team like the 49ers, Vikings, Cardinals, etc. looking to trade back up into the 1st round, and you can drop down to the mid-second round, still get the same value at a position of need, and add an additional 3rd or 4th-round pick—which will give great value in this draft at WR, LB, and DB. Especially if only one or two of those QBs are left by the 29th pick—teams will be extra desperate to come up and land one of those guys.
So, in my perfect dream world, here is how the Bears Draft would play out (I will be realistic as to which guys might still be available at those picks)—
Round 1, Pick #29: Trade with 49ers…49ers receive Bears 1st Round Pick (#29 Overall); Bears receive 49ers 2nd Round Pick (#45 Overall) and 49ers 3rd Round Pick (#76) Overall.
Round 2, Pick #45 (From 49ers): Benjamin Ijalana, OG/OT, Villanova – not a big fan of small-school prospects, but he wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl and had a tremendous Pro Day. He can also play 3 spots along the offensive line, something our management covets in a O-line prospect. Received a first-round grade in some scouting websites.
2nd Choice: Orlando Franklin, OG/OT, Miami – He is big; he is nasty, and he can also play any spot across the line.
3rd Choice: Rodney Hudson, OG/C, Florida State – He is a little smaller than the Bears would like; but he is a guy that can step in right away in guard, and take over for Kreutz at center for the next decade.
Round 2, Pick #62: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia – He is a big (6’2″, 200), physical corner who is a perfect fit for a cover-2 scheme. Would have been a first-rounder had he come out last season; but had a down year in 2010. DT and WR might be a more pressing need than CB, but this would be BY FAR the best payer available on the board at this point.
2nd Choice: Davon House, CB, New Mexico State – Built much like Dowling; maybe not as physical, but faster. He has been rising on draft boards since all post-season long. On tape, looks like Charles Tillman’s clone.
3rd Choice: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama. It would not be my preference to go o-line with both of the first 2 picks; but Carpenter has been rising up draft boards and looks like he could be a future star at OT.
Round 3, Pick #76 (from 49ers): Greg Little, WR, North Carolina – a converted RB who plays WR, he is at his best when playing underneath and running after the catch. Alot like Anquan Boldin or an old Cutler ex-teammate, Brandon Marshall. He does have some reported attitude issues. But if his head is on right, he could be a steal.
2nd Choice: Terrell McClain, DT, USF – The Bears have shown alot of interest in this guy; haven’t seen too much of him, and I personally like Drake Nevis better; but you know if the Bears like him, they will have no problem taking him here.
3rd Choice: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma – definitely not a need pick, but he is big, catches out of the backfield well, ran a 4.3 40 at his Pro Day, and would be a good change-of-pace back for Forte, and insurance if Forte cannot be re-signed.
Round 3, Pick #93: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU – His size does not make him an immediate candidate to be an every-down player, but has great in-the-trench instincts, great motor, and always stepped up his play against the big-time teams and players. The closest thing to 2006 Tommie Harris in this draft.
2nd Choice: Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana – He should be a really good underneath, possession-type WR for Cutler.
3rd Choice: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington- 4.29, That is all.
Round 4, Pick #127: Chris Conte, S, California – A true FS with range; also adds depth and talent for special teams with the possibility of Danieal Manning, Bullocks, and Steltz not being back.
2nd Choice: Mario Harvey, LB, Marshall – Here is a guy with size (), speed (), and hits like a truck. Maybe an option at SLB until Urlacher retires.
3rd Choice: Jah Reid, OT/OG, UCF – Here is another of those offensive linemen who can play multiple positions. Maybe worth a look here at the end of the 4th round.
5th Round, Pick #160: Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU – Big as a house; battle tested. Plus, you know how Angelo loves to draft a) players from the SEC; and b) Multiple players from the same school (Nevis).
2nd Choice: DeMarcus Love, OG/OT, Arkansas – See Above. A Big guy from the SEC, plus he plays multiple positions.
3rd Choice: Chris L Rucker, CB/FS, Michigan State – A guy who had trouble staying healthy and out of trouble in Lansing; but has first-round size and talent.
6th Round: Adrian Moten, OLB, Maryland – Could contribute on special teams and add LB depth.
2nd Choice: Doug Hogue, OLB, Syracuse Same as above.
3rd Choice: Alex Linnenkohl, C, Oregon State – Good late-round value and possible heir-apparent to Olin Kreutz.
So if the draft plays out the way I hope, here would be the Bears’ draft haul:
Benjamin Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova
Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Chris Conte, S, California
Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
Adrian Moten, LB, Maryland
The only other thing I would have liked to have come out of this draft with would be maybe a change-of-pace back to replace Chester Taylor; and maybe another DE for depth. But I could see 3 immediate starters, and 5 eventual starters out of this group.