By Adam Hoge-
This is the third in a series of mock drafts for the Chicago Bears leading up the NFL Draft, which gets underway Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.
(CBS) It’s that time again. The NFL Draft is here.
Barring a trade, new Bears general manager Phil Emery will make his first draft selection Thursday, adding a key piece to the 2012 Bears roster. Two more picks will likely follow on Friday and four more on Saturday.
So who should the Bears take? Let’s take one last stab at that question before the draft starts.
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: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis (6-3 1/2, 346)
You know what the Bears should really do? Trade back. Their 19th overall pick is in an awkward spot because all of the first-tier guys I think they should take will likely already be gone and they can get almost all of the second-tier guys a few picks later.
If guys like OT Riley Reiff, LB Luke Kuechly, DE Quinton Coples, DE Melvin Ingram, S Mark Barron or WR Michael Floyd somehow slip to the Bears, then by all means they should take one of them at No. 19, but it’s doubtful they’ll fall that far.
Of course, the Bears can’t trade back if they can’t find a trade partner. So if they stay put at No. 19, they should take the best player available, which I believe will be Dontari Poe. There’s been so much talk about defensive end, but why reach for Whitney Mercilus when you can get an even better defensive tackle? Of course, picking Poe further proves that the Bears should trade back, because they can probably get him as far back as No. 23.
I have long list of guys I would be OK with at No. 19, but you can trade back and get a lot of them at least five picks later. Those guys include:
DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
DT Michael Brockers, LSU
WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
With the Bears having so many needs, they can justify taking any of these guys. If they have a similar list and suitable trade partner, why not trade back and get an extra second round pick?
2nd round, No. 18: OT Jeff Allen, Illinois (6-3 7/8, 307)
Adding a second pick in the second round could be huge because it would allow the Bears to address an extra position with another quality pick.
If the Bears don’t address the defensive line in the first round, DE Vinny Curry (Marshall), DE Andre Branch (Clemson) or DT Kendall Reyes (Connecticut) could be available.
They could also address the safety position with SS Harrison Smith from Notre Dame.
It’s also possible wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey from South Carolina or Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers fall this far. Both guys have the kind of size the Bears need at the position and would be hard to pass up.
I wouldn’t even have a problem with the Bears looking for insurance for Matt Forte here with guys like David Wilson (Virginia Tech), Chris Polk (Washington) or Lamar Miller (Miami). Doug Martin from Boise State would be ideal, but it’s doubtful he falls this far.
The point is, there are a lot of guys at a lot of positions that could help the Bears. Why not grab two picks if possible?
If it’s just one pick though, addressing the offensive line makes a lot of sense and Allen would be a good pick here. He’ll get a shot to play to tackle, giving the Bears some insurance for Gabe Carimi (who is still not 100 percent), but at the very least he should be a more than reliable starting guard.
3rd round, No. 16: WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State (6-3 1/2, 220)
If the Bears don’t take a wide receiver in the first two rounds, it would be a dream scenario for Quick to fall to them in the third. He’s a former basketball star with a huge wing span. The knock on him is that he’s raw and hasn’t faced top competition, but he has the size and speed the Bears need. He can really go up and get the ball.
Also consider: WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa (6-2 3/4, 216)
4th round, No. 16: CB Dwight “Bill” Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette (5-10, 182)
The knock on Bentley is his size, but you aren’t going to find a big corner in the fourth round that is any good. He makes up for his size with speed and quickness though and can be physical when he has to. Bentley really impressed me in Senior Bowl practices and would be a great pick here.
Also consider: CB Cliff Harris, Oregon (5-11 1/8, 175)
5th round, No. 15: DE Jared Crick, Nebraska (6-4 1/4, 279)
Crick played both tackle and end at Nebraska, but he projects as a defensive end at the NFL level. I’ve seen him go anywhere between the third and sixth round so if he’s still available in the fifth round and the Bears haven’t taken a defensive end yet, I can’t see them passing Crick up.
Also consider: CB Asa “Ace” Jackson, Cal Poly (5-10, 191)
6th round, No. 14: FS Christian Thompson, South Carolina State (6-0 1/4, 211)
Thompson ran the fastest 40-time among safeties at the combine and he plays the run well. His instincts are criticized though and many believe that slows him down. The raw tools are there though and he can be coached up. That probably worries Bears fans given their history with safeties, but it’s the sixth round so there aren’t many other options.
Also consider: S Winston Guy, Kentucky (6-0 7/8, 218)
7th round, No. 13: LB Tank Carder, TCU (6-2 3/8, 236)
Carder is simply a football player. It’s worth taking the chance on him despite durability concerns. He has good speed and athleticism, but many worry about his ability to turn and take correct angles to the football. I saw him play a lot in college and he was always in the middle of the action. He finds the football. I think he has tremendous value in the seventh round.
Also consider: LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State (6-1 3/8, 248) (Yes, a guy I’ve vilified for two years and failed a drug test at the combine. The difference is, I knocked him when he was a projected first round pick. Now that he might fall out of the draft completely because of his character issues, it might worth taking a chance on him.)
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.