The 2013 NFL Draft is now in the books, and the Chicago Bears have made their selections.
So how did they do? Let's look at their picks.
Round One: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
Mike Mayock reaction: "He's one of my favorite players in the draft. He's immediately a starting guard that down the road is a starting tackle."
Long, son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, was an interesting selection with the 20th overall selection. Many thought this was a bit of a reach; Long was considered a second round player. The Bears weren't able to trade down from their pick, and most reports (including the opinion of Howie) were that Long would not have been available when the Bears made their second selection at 50th overall in the second round.
The Bears had a couple areas they desperately needed to address in the draft: offensive line depth (and quality) and linebacker. Long is an athletic, raw guard who has a nasty disposition. With Aaron Kromer now developing linemen in Chicago and working with the offense, he'll get great coaching and every opportunity to get on the field. Is this a great pick? The immediate reaction is no... but with an asterisk. There's plenty of ability there for Kromer to work with moving forward.
Round Two: Jon Bostic, LB, Florida
Mike Mayock reaction: "I can tell you that since the coaches have started to get involved in the evaluation process, this kid's slowly risen."
Bostic's athletic and a big hitter, but the knock on him at Florida was consistency. He played middle linebacker at Florida, and led the Gators in tackles last year. As was the case with Long, this felt like a bit of a reach for an athletic player who needs some coaching, but that appears to be a developing theme with Phil Emery. He'll need to work on getting through blocks in the NFL, but could work into the rotation and contribute this season.
Round Four: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
I love this pick; like many others, I had Greene as a second round pick who was a playmaking machine at Rutgers. He started his career as a strong safety and made the move to linebacker successfully in college. Has been described as a "prototypical 4-3 weak-side linebacker," which is where Lance Briggs is currently playing. It appears he slid down the board because of a sub-par 4.71 in the 40 at the combine, but he has good game speed and instincts for the ball. When considering the Bears needed to address their depth at linebacker, adding Bostic and Greene with two of their first three picks is a good job of setting the table for 2014's defense.
Round Five: Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech
Mills played right tackle at Louisiana Tech, but some scouts felt that he could develop into a left tackle eventually; he's enormous and played well at Louisiana Tech, but struggled with blocking technique at times. Like Long, working with Kromer could be a best-case scenario for Mills, and he could be a solid addition. Certainly the presence of Long and Mills would put added pressure on JaMarcus Webb and Gabe Carimi to win not only playing time, but a roster spot moving forward. NFL.com compared Mills to Michael Oher (of the champion Ravens and "The Blind Side"), and Mills living up to that comparison would make this a fantastic value selection for the fifth round.
Round Six: Cornelius Washington, DE/OLB, Georgia
Mike Mayock's reaction: "One of my favorite players. He's a little bit one-dimensional. But you put him on the edge and ask him to hunt quarterbacks. I really like what Chicago has done."
Washington was considered by most analysts to be a late-2nd to mid-3rd round prospect, but was overshadowed by other elite talent on Georgia's defense. He made the 2012 Butkus Award preseason watch but was largely a role player at Georgia. He established himself as one of the real breakout names at the combine, putting up some of the best numbers among all linebackers in the 40 (4.55), bench press (36 reps), vertical (39 inches) and broad jump (128 inches).
The additions of the three linebackers selected this year, as well as last year's first round pick Shae McClellin, have the look of a team that wants to transition to a 3-4 defense at some point in the not-too-distant future. Bostic and Greene could be solid inside linebackers in that scheme, and McClellin and Washington are athletic enough to be effective stand-up outside linebackers. Of course the Bears still have Briggs under contract, and signed a couple rental veterans to buy time for these young players to develop. Of course no team is going to change their defensive scheme for a sixth round draft pick... but it's hard to ignore the attributes of these three and McClellin lending themselves well in a 3-4 approach.
Round Seven: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
Wilson was the all-time leading receiver in Washington State history, and is a fascinating pick in the draft's final round. He's tall and lean and had a solid career at Washington State that included a suspension (which Emery said was a non-issue during his post-draft press conference). His 40 time wasn't special, but he handled the ball a lot in college and will give the Bears another weapon both on offense and in the return game. He's tall and goes up for the ball fairly well, giving Jay Cutler another target.
I like this Bears draft class. There isn't a huge name among them, but this wasn't a superstar-loaded draft for the entire league. There is a lot of upside for some of these guys, especially the two offensive linemen, and they addressed their two biggest needs as a team with five of their six selection.