By Adam Hoge-
This is the second in a series of mock drafts for the Chicago Bears leading up the NFL Draft April 26-28.
(CBS) The NFL Draft is just two weeks away and we’ve seen a number of changes since my first Bears mock draft.
New general manager Phil Emery traded for Brandon Marshall, lessening the need to draft a wide receiver in the first round. The Bears also lost one of their third round picks in the draft, which means we’ve lost a pick to analyze since Bears Mock Draft 1.0.
Once again, as a reminder, these picks aren’t based on who I think the Bears are going to draft. They’re based on who I think the Bears should draft. More importantly, the point of this series is to simply provide some insight into what the Bears need and give you a handful of names that might be around for each pick the Bears have.
Also, keep in mind that each series is written to simulate an entire draft class. Thus, if I take a wide receiver in the first round, I probably won’t take one in the second round. After each pick, I’ll provide a couple of guys the Bears might also be interested in with that selection, but my second round pick is impacted by my first round pick and so on and so forth.
Let’s get to the picks:
1st round, No. 19: OT Mike Adams, Ohio State (6-7, 323) – Adams is this year’s Gabe Carimi. There’s a lot of debate about where he’ll end up, with some thinking he’ll slip to the end of the first round like Carimi did last year. Most believe Adams can play on the left side, which means the Bears could have two young tackles for the future.
WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (6-5, 204) – Hill has been linked to the Bears since Lovie Smith took him out to dinner a couple months ago. He has the size and the strength of an elite wide receiver, but still needs to develop some. I like Hill, but with Brandon Marshall on board, I think the Bears can wait until the second or third round where there is still a lot of wide receiver value.
DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (6-4, 265) – It would be great for the Bears to get a solid defensive end here, but I think Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram will be gone and I don’t think it’s worth reaching for a guy like Mercilus at No. 19. I like Mercilus, but he’s more risky than Adams in my opinion.
2nd round, No. 18: DE Vinny Curry, Marshall (6-3, 265) – A big reason why I don’t think the Bears have to reach for Mercilus is because I think Vinny Curry will be just as good and should be around in the second round. In my opinion, Curry was the best defensive player in the country last season — he just didn’t get the proper exposure playing at Marshall. He would give the Bears tremendous value this late in the second round.
DE Andre Branch, Clemson (6-5, 260) – If Curry is gone, I think the Bears’ need for a pass rusher to compliment Julius Peppers is great enough for them to look elsewhere at the position instead of taking the best available player here. There’s a lot of debate about where Branch will get drafted because he currently grades out as a late second/early third round pick, but many believe he has a lot of untapped talent. He’s a strong kid who can shed blocks and get to the quarterback. I’d have no problem with the Bears taking him here.
WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers (6-2, 215) – I really like Sanu and if there aren’t any good defensive end options available, he would be a great pick here. That is, if he’s still available. Sanu goes up and catches everything. He might not have elite size and his fundamentals are questioned some times, but the bottom line is that he catches the football and does so in spectacular fashion. The Bears will have to get lucky to have Sanu fall here, but if he does, he’d be hard to pass up.
3rd round, No. 16: WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State (6-3, 215) – If the Bears don’t take a wide receiver in the first two rounds, I can’t see them pass up on Quick if he’s available here. Quick is a big, strong wide receiver who really impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. The knock on him is that he played FCS football in college and doesn’t have the quick burst to separate at the line of scrimmage. He has speed, but builds it up as he goes down field. For the Bears’ purposes, he would be a great compliment to Brandon Marshall and would give Cutler another reliable big body to throw the ball to.
CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska (5-10, 205) – Two months ago I would have been shocked to see Dennard drop to the third round but his stock has been slipping slowly and I wouldn’t rule it out. The Bears need to add cornerback depth and Dennard still has the potential to be a reliable starter. He’s a physical corner who lacks elite speed, but would fit in the Cover 2. If he’s still around, he’d provide good value for the Bears here.
4th round, No. 16: CB Cliff Harris, Oregon (5-11, 180) – Harris is an interesting case. A year ago he appeared destined for the first round, but then he went out and got kicked off the Oregon football team before the Rose Bowl. He has plenty of character issues but even more talent. I’m not sure the Bears will be willing to take the risk, but then again, we don’t really have a good feel on how Phil Emery will deal with players like this. If anything, the Brandon Marshall trade points to Emery giving guys like Harris a chance. The cornerback is a ball hawk with tremendous athleticism — the kind of playmaker Lovie Smith loves.
C Mike Brewster, Ohio State (6-4, 310) – In my first mock draft, I had the Bears taking Brewster with this pick. He would still be a great choice here. I think the Bears need to look to the future with another reliable center they can count on for years. Brewster can be that guy.
5th round, No. 15: LB Emmanuel Acho, Texas (6-2, 245) – The Bears took care of Lance Briggs with an extension, but there are still questions about Brian Urlacher’s future. Acho projects more as an inside linebacker, but he can play on the outside as well. That versatility could be very useful for the Bears, who really need linebacker depth. Acho could come into camp and compete for the second outside spot. If he doesn’t win it, then he’ll at least be a solid backup and a useful weapon on special teams while also providing the Bears some insurance behind Urlacher.
DT Jaye Howard, Florida (6-3, 292) – While Acho makes more sense for the Bears here, Howard might be the better player. I’m shocked he still projects as a fifth round pick. He really impressed me in Senior Bowl practices and could be a very good pass-rushing tackle in the NFL. Howard is very quick and has good length at his position, but any team that drafts him will want him to add size. The question is, can he maintain that quickness after he puts on weight? It’s worth taking that risk this late in the draft. The potential is there.
6th round, No. 14: S Trenton Robinson, Michigan State (5-10, 195) – It’s no secret the Bears have struggled scouting safeties in the past and time will tell if Emery is any better. While they certainly don’t have an elite safety on the roster, there are greater needs right now, which is why I think they can wait until the sixth round to address the position. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the Bears will find a Pro Bowl safety this late in the draft. That said, Robinson can be a reliable player and give Lovie Smith another option. He’s a good tackler who has the ability to make game-changing plays. The problem is that he sometimes gets lost in space, which means he’ll definitely need some coaching.
CB Micah Pellerin, Hampton (6-0, 195) – The Bears reportedly have interest in Pellerin, who has great size for a cornerback going this late in the draft. He’s fluid in coverage and physical on the line. If I didn’t already have the Bears taking Cliff Harris in the fourth round, I would take Pellerin over Robinson.
7th round, No. 13: WR Greg Childs, Arkansas (6-3, 217) – Childs once looked like a first-round pick, but injuries have really slowed down his career. He’s still a big wide receiver who runs great routes, however, and he’s worth taking a chance on in the seventh round. He can go up and get the football with his long arms and if the Bears don’t ask him to do too much, he could be a great option for Cutler off the bench. Childs is also a good blocker, which could be beneficial for the running game and special teams.
WR Phillip Payne, UNLV (6-3, 205) – Payne is a similar prospect as Childs, but he’s proven less on the field. That said, he also comes with less injury concerns. He has strength to get off the line quickly, but he doesn’t have the speed to get away. Worth a look as the last pick.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.