After a very productive draft in 2013, Phil Emery appears to have given Marc Trestman another upgrade in talent. Last year, the Bears focused on the offensive line and linebacker. They drafted two lineman and three linebackers.
Kyle Long and Jordan Mills both started all 16 games as rookies on the offensive line last season. Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene had productive seasons. Bostic played in all 16 games and started nine. Greene played in 15 and started four.
This year's draft is likely to add depth more than starters. Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson give the Bears badly need depth on the defensive line. Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea.
First round corner back Kyle Fuller, fourth round safety Brock Vereen (who the Bears traded up to get) and sixth round Punter Pat O'Donnell are the draftees most likely to challenge for starting spots.
Time will tell how productive this draft class can be.
Kyle Fuller 6'0 190 CB Virginia Tech, Round One, Pick 14 (14 overall)
Ran a 4.49 yard dash, benched 12 reps and had a 38.5 vertical at the combine. A versatile player that had 14.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore. Was a gunner and jammer one special teams. He has also played the whip linebacker for the Hokies. In the VaTech defense they use two corners and a safety. The Whip linebacker position seems similar to strong safety.
Fuller comes from a family of football players. Brothers Vincent and Corey (currently with Detroit) have played in the NFL and brother Kendall is still at Va. Tech.
Most experts and fans seemed to think the Bears were going to go with a safety at 14. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama or Clinton Pryor of Louisville. When the Bears drafted Fuller Mike Mayock of the NFL network gushed about the Bears pick.
"I thought he was most NFL-ready cornerback I saw on tape...Fuller can play nickel corner on Day 1." NFL Network's Mike Mayock about Kyle Fuller.
Ego Ferguson 6'3 309 DT LSU, Round 2, Pick 19 (51)
Ferguson is being touted as the heir apparent to Jeremiah Ratliff when he retires. Played only three years at LSU after redshirting as a freshman in 2010. He did not become a starter until last season. He was excused from the combine due to medical reasons. He had 24 reps in the bench press.
The Bears are drafting Ferguson more on potential than success.NFL.Com's Nolan Nawrocki says of Ferguson "Does not impact games the way he should. Is likely to test well and be drafted higher than his performance dictates in the hopes a defensive line coach can tap into his potential."
He was projected as a third or fourth round draft pick by Nawrocki. Second round picks generally are expected to come in and contribute right away. Based on Ferguson's projection and Nawrocki's observation, he could be a project. Ratliff and Paea give the Bears a good starting tandem. Nate Collins returns from a seasons ending injury as well. Marc Trestman and Mel Tucker will need Ferguson to be a part of the rotation more than a project though.
Will Sutton 6'0 303, DT Arizona State, Round 3, Pick 18 (82)
Sutton was the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year for 2012 and 2013. He is only the second player in conference history to win the award twice. Steve Emtmann won the award in 1990 and 91 for Washington when it was the Pac-10. Sutton comes to Bears drafted more on success than potential. In his last two seasons, Sutton was a beast. He finished the 2012 and 2013 seasons combined with 37 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, one interception and eight passes for loss.
Mike Mayock's analysis indicates Sutton should be ready to help the Bears immediately.
"Sutton, when effective, is a 303-pound three-technique. Bears fans know they need help on defense. First and foremost, they have to stop the run this year." -- Mike Mayock
Ka'Deem Carey 5'9 207, RB Arizona, Round 4, Pick 17 (117)
A tough, but not a fast runner. Ran only a 4.7 40 yard dash at the combine. Led the country with 1,929 rushing yards and 2,232 yards from scrimmage in 2012 and with 375 touches this past season. According to Mayock "he's productive, tough, and doesn't fumble the football."
He was the Pac-12's defensive player of the year to Sutton's defensive POY. He finished his career with 4.239 rushing yards, 15 consecutive 100 yard games and 48 touchdowns and 679 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He provides Trestman with a good complement to Matt Forte and gives the Bears quality depth at running back.
Brock Vereen 6'0 199, S Minnesota, Round 4, Pick 31, (131)
Phil Emery liked Vereen enough to move up in the fourth round to get him. The Bears sent this year's fifth round pick and a fifth next year to Denver for their fourth round pick and a seventh in 2015 to move up to grab Vereen. He joined Carey in the fourth round as a Bear.
Vereen was a first team All-Big Ten selection as a senior. He finished the 2013 season with 59 tackles, 2.5 for loss and six passes defensed.
Vereen ran a 4.47 40 yard dash and did 25 reps in the bench press. Vereen is the brother of Patriots running back Shane and their father Henry played for UNLV and in the NFL.
Is both strong (the 25 reps in the bench press were the most at the combine) and fast (his 4.07-second short shuttle was second among safeties). Also has versatility as he spent most of his career shifting back and forth between safety and cornerback. Might be the rookie most likely to earn a starting spot for the Bears this fall.
The Bears will face the Patriots October 26 at Gillette Stadium. Should be interesting to see if the Vereen's meet on the field as well.
David Fales 6'2 212, QB San Jose St, Round 6, Pick 7 (183)
Fales was a record setting Quarterback at San Jose St. Fales started his collegiate career during a redshirt season at Nevada. He landed at San Jose State after two season at Monterrey Peninsula Junior College.
Appearing on 87.7 the game, Phil Emery said that Quarterbacks are not expected to become starters when picked after the fourth round. He said that only seven percent of Quarterbacks drafted after the fourth round become extended starters during their careers.
Despite being only one of two (Fresno State's Derek Carr was the other) quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards in college the last two seasons Fales was a sixth round pick. The criticisms of him have been his arm strength, footwork and propensity to stare down receivers.
"Fales goes through his progressions in the pocket, but he lacks the physical arm talent to fit balls into windows." -- Daniel Jeremiah"
Fales has put up some impressive numbers over the last two seasons. He led the nation with a 72.5 completion percentage in 2012, finished his career as a San Jose State with 8,382 yards, 66 touchdowns and 22 interceptions with a 17-8 record. He should stick if the Bears want a third Quarterback and might have a chance to supplant Jordan Palmer as the back up by no later than the beginning of 2015.
Pat O'Donnell 6'4 220 P, Miami (Fl), Round 6, Pick 15 (191)
O'Donnell comes with a dangerous leg and is freakishly strong for a Punter. His 23 reps in the bench press at the combine exceeded Jadveon Clowney.
O'Donnell transferred to Miami for a post graduate season after four years with a redshirt season at Cincinnati.
Had by far his best collegiate season with the Hurricanes. O'Donnell set a school record with a 47.1 avg yard per punt and was selected as a second team all-american. He had only 11 punts land inside the 20 after combining for 49 the previous two seasons. He did have 23 punts over 50 yards, which was almost as many as the two previous seasons combined (27).
Per Naworcki "Has the leg strength to compete for a job, but must continue to hone his control and improve his directional punting."
Charles Leno Jr, 6'4 303, OT, Boise State, Round 7, Pick 31 (206)
Leno grades as a project, something offensive coordinator Aaron Cromer was adept with while the offensive line coach in New Orleans. Leno started three seasons on the O-line at Boise. As a sophomore at right guard and the last two seasons at left tackle. He is viewed as a potential swingman on the offensive line. He could challenge for a roster spot this season, but is sounds like its more likely for him to land on the practice squad.
The criticism is that he is still learning the game and hasn't yet learned how to use his athletic ability and explosiveness on the field.
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