The NFL Playoffs continue and as a Bears fan all I can do is think about the 2014-2015 season. Phil Emery completely retooled the offensive line last season and his moves helped make the attack one of the elite in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the jump in offensive production was not enough to cover a lackluster special teams unit and and a bruised/awful defense.
The Bears have already re-signed Jay Cutler, Matt Slauson and Tim Jennings, three guys that all will play pivotal roles next season. This still leaves the Bears with over 20 free agents and a lot of decisions to be made about their defense.
Will the Bears cut Julius Peppers or ask him to restructure this contract? Is the age of the Peanut Punch over in Chicago? Can Henry Melton start focusing on attacking opponents' quarterbacks instead of people at a bar? All these questions will effect the Bears decision making in the upcoming NFL draft.
Even though I do not have the answers to any of these question I will not let that stop me from creating my way too early, Bears mock draft Version 1.0.
Round 1 - #14 - Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. 6'1, 207 lbs.
Round 2 - #51 - Timothy Jernigan, DT, Florida St. 6'2, 292 lbs.
Round 3 - #81 - Kareem Martin, DE, UNC. 6'6, 295 lbs.
Round 4 - #113 - Stanley Jean-Baptise, CB, Nebraska. 6'3, 220 lbs.
Round 5 - #144 - Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia 6'1, 208 lbs.
Round 6 - #167 - Max Bullough, LB, Michigan St. 6'3 235 lbs.
Round 6 - #175 - Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma. 5'9, 160 lbs.
I'm sure by the time May gets here, many of these players draft positions will have changed. This draft works to achieve the goal Emery talked about in his end of season press conference. Drafting defense in the first four picks helps make them younger and much more athletic. Clinton-Dix immediately walks into a starting role, while Jernigan and Martin will also contribute right away in key situations with their skill sets.
Jean-Baptiste has the perfect size for a cornerback and with quality coaching/playing under Tim Jennings, I think he can develop into a quality starter in the league.
Aaron Murray would be a steal in the 5th round. He may be injured now but will be back to 100% by the time the season starts. Jay Cutler has been hurt in the past so getting a talented QB like Murray late to groom under Jay is key.
Bullough is a guy that many think overachieved at Michigan St due to the fact his measurables don't leap off the charts. But every team needs a a couple guys like Bullough. Plug him in on special teams and watch him make plays.
The last pick in the draft I debated with selecting a tight end but I settled on Saunders, an undersized wide receiver, because the Bears need to move on from Devin Hester. Saunders was one of the nation's best punt returners last season and Trestman could also be lethal in the screen game with the Bears' athletic offensive line and big, blocking wide receivers.
What positions/players do you think the Bears should target? If you're not a Bears fan let me know what players you're hoping your team takes.
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