Now that the Bears have their coaching staff in place, attention turns toward helping the team on the field. Over the next couple of months, Phil Emery and his staff will be focused on the unrestricted free agent pool, as well as the Draft, which starts April 25th. Trestman’s presser seemed to indicate that he’s acutely aware of the need to protect the QB, so expect that the offensive line will be one of the main targets in the early rounds of the Draft.
But the Bears need help in other areas, too. The defense is aging, and we don’t know if Urlacher is returning. Emery has to walk a fine line between building for the future while trying to win now, and he does not have a third- or seventh-round pick this year. With that in mind, I try to do a little bit of both, as I present to you my early selections for the Bears in the 2013 NFL Draft.
1st Round: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
I can hear Roger Goodell now: “With the 20th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select offensive tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan.” I know that Pro Football Focus suggests J’Marcus Webb improved in pass protection last season, but my eyes tell a different story, so I want a left tackle with the first overall selection.
I would love Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), but the Outland Trophy winner will likely be drafted among the first five picks, so I'm taking the 6'8", 305-pound Fisher, a senior who started all 12 games at LT and anchored an offensive line that averaged 6.2 yards per play, second best in the MAC. He would have to slip some to be there when the Bears pick, however.
Alternate: Another possibility is TE Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame), who would be a big upgrade over Kellen Davis. But if they do go o-line, other choices include OTs Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) or D.J. Fluker (Alabama). Fluker is huge; he weighed in at 355lbs at the Senior Bowl, according to NBC Sports. But they say he looks good and carries it well.
2nd Round: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
If Minter is still on the board when the Bears draft in the second-round, or even if they have to trade up to get him, he could be the eventual replacement for Brian Urlacher. The hard-hitting linebacker produced 111 tackles—13.5 for a loss—along with three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Alternate: They would probably have to trade up to get Minter, so if he isn’t available, Bears could go with the best TE on the board, such as Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) or Zach Ertz (Stanford), although both could also be gone by then. If G/C/OT Barrett Jones (Alabama) is still available, Emery should grab him. DE Datone Jones (UCLA) is another interesting choice. He would likely be the top edge rusher on the board by then.
4th Round: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
If the Bears could trade Devin Hester for a third-round pick, I would do that in a heartbeat, but I doubt they could get close to that type of return. So, with no third-round pick, the Bears take a tight end who can actually catch the ball in round four. Kelce produced 599 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 15 yards per catch. He even threw a TD pass.
Alternate: Don’t be surprised if Emery takes a QB to develop in this draft and this could be where he does so. Zach Dysert (Miami of Ohio) or E.J. Manuel (Florida State) should still be on the board. More help on the offensive line is always welcome, so someone like Menelik Watson (Florida State) or Justin Pugh (Syracuse) may be there.
5th Round: Brian Schwenke, C, California
Bears go back to the o-line with their next pick (assuming they didn’t already do that in the second- or fourth-rounds). Despite the need, I don’t expect Emery to take more than two offensive linemen in the draft. Schwenke could eventually replace Roberto Garza at center, as Garza turns 34 this year and can also return to the guard position if needed.
Alternate: DE Stansly Maponga (TCU) or even a running back, like Stephan Taylor (Stanford) could be targets.
6th Round: Eric Martin, DE, Nebraska
Bears need a DE prospect who can rush the passer. Peppers is 33, Idonije may be gone, and no one knows for sure where Shea McClellin will end up playing. So enter Martin, a 6’2”, 250lb edge rusher who played well in the second half of the season. His durability is an issue, but his draft stock is rising.
Alternate: DE Craig Roh (Michigan), or CBs Terry Hawthorne (Illinois) or Johnny Adams (Michigan State) are possibilities.
Filed under: Mock Draft