By Adam Hoge-
This is the third in a series of mock drafts for the Chicago Bears leading up to the NFL Draft April 25-27.
(CBS) The more I study this year’s draft prospects, the more I believe the Bears will try to trade back to acquire more picks, preferably in the second or third round.
After the first 15 picks or so, there are a handful of guys the Bears could use immediately and at least one or two of them will be available later in the first round if they can move back. There are also a number of useful immediate-impact type players available in the second and third rounds. Right now, the Bears don’t have a third round pick, so the more picks they can add, the better.
Ideally, Bears general manager Phil Emery will get in a position where he will not only have access to my picks below, but also be able to grab one of the “also consider” guys I have listed below too.
It’s still too early to determine if Emery’s first draft with the Bears was a success, but it certainly was better than most of his predecessor’s drafts. All NFL Drafts are important, but Emery needs to hit on most of his picks this year to keep the Bears competitive.
Here’s my final look at some of the players who could be wearing a Bears jersey this fall.
Let’s get to the picks:
1st Round, No. 20: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-2, 242)
Ogletree’s off-the-field issues are a significant concern. Anyone stupid enough to get a DUI the week before the NFL Combine is someone you need to think twice about.
But Ogletree is certainly talented enough to be taken in the first round and can play the middle in the Bears’ defense. He can drop back into coverage and is a tackling machine (racked up 111 tackles in just 10 games last season). Is he risk because of the character issues? Yes, but remember when Vontaze Burfict went undrafted last year because of character issues and then led the Bengals with 127 tackles last year? Ogletree is good enough to play right away and his upside is even greater than Burfict’s.
DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina (6-2, 313)
I was tempted to take Williams over Ogletree, but I’m not convinced he’ll still be around at No. 20. The Bears only have four defensive tackles on their entire roster so I’d be surprised if they didn’t draft at least defensive tackle this year. Williams is pretty much the opposite of Ogletree when it comes to character. He works extremely hard and has had no problems off the field. He’s strong against the pass and run and should still get better because he only played one year of high school football before his career took off at North Carolina. A downside is his age, but he would provide immediate depth on the interior of the line.
OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama (6-4, 339)
Simply put, Fluker is huge. He’s among the strongest players in the draft and can be an absolute mauler. Scouts seem to be having trouble pinpointing his position, however. He’s questionable in pass protection sometimes, but he also struggles picking up the game mentally so he might struggle inside. He’s still relatively young though and will improve with coaching. With some seasoning, he should turn into a reliable right tackle or dominant guard.
2nd Round, Pick 18: C/G Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-4, 306)
While Fluker might impress more with his sure strength, I’m not sure there is better pick available to the Bears than his teammate, Barrett Jones. I originally had the Bears taking Jones in the first round of my first mock, but he has fallen off mainly because he’s still recovering from the left foot injury he played through in the BCS National Championship Game. The same thing happened last year with Alshon Jeffery (I had the Bears taking him in the first round of my first mock) and that worked out pretty well for the Bears.
Jones is probably the smartest player in the entire draft and while some question his durability, he’s one of the toughest players out there, playing through most of his issues. He’s your typical overachiever who doesn’t care if people tell him he’s not good enough. Jones can play either center or guard, but I think he’s the perfect replacement for Roberto Garza at center — the kind of reliable, long-term center that Olin Kreutz was for the Bears. Remember, Garza’s contract expires after this season.
LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (6-1 3/8, 243)
If the Bears go with an offensive lineman in the first round, Reddick would be a great pick in the second round. He’s a prototypical 4-3 middle linebacker who will rack up tackles at a high rate. If there’s any concern, it’s that he might be a step slow in coverage, but there’s room for improvement. Reddick won’t be Brian Urlacher when he peaks, but he’s a vocal leader who is destined to become a team captain and would help fill that void. He’s the kind of guy the new regime will be looking for to lead.
DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State (6-3, 320)
I think it would be a mistake not to address the linebacking and offensive line needs in the first two rounds, but if Emery can add an extra pick in either round, then Hankins would be a solid add in the second round. A bad Combine pushed him back a little bit and there’s a wide range of opinions about whether or not he’ll be a first or second round pick. Because of conditioning concerns, I could see him slipping. Hankins is a large presence in the middle though who commands attention. He’s best suited as a nose tackle and the Bears need someone to back up Stephen Paea immediately.
4th Round, Pick 20: WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas (5-9, 183)
Goodwin is undersized, but he’s also the fastest player in the draft. The Big 12 track star ran a 4.27 40 at the Combine and competed in the London Olympics last summer in the long jump. He’s the kind of utility guy that new Bears head coach Marc Trestman can get creative with. The Bears still need an added weapon at wide receiver and Goodwin could be the kind of field-stretching guy they always wanted Devin Hester to become. He can also be used on end-arounds or as a decoy and will contribute as a kick returner. Goodwin draws comparisons to Mike Wallace.
LB Nico Johnson, Alabama (6-2, 248)
If the Bears still don’t have a linebacker this late in the draft, Johnson would be a no-brainer. He has limited upside, but he figures to be a reliable middle linebacker. He’s not spectacular at anything, but he does everything well. In other words, he might not jump out on the film, but he’ll get the job done. Johnson takes great angles and has good size, but he’s not going to be an athletic freak on the field.
CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (6-0, 191)
Poyer is going to make an NFL team happy. He’s a playmaker who doesn’t test all that well, but jumps out on film. There are concerns about his strength and coverage skills, but he would still fit well in the Bears’ zone scheme and could contribute immediately as the nickelback. Poyer is also a great special teams contributor as a gunner which is a plus. He’s the kind of player Lovie Smith would have drooled over.
5th Round, Pick 20: DT Jordan Hill, Penn State (6-1, 303)
I haven’t taken a defensive tackle yet and with only four currently on the roster, Hill would be a great pick here. He’s a perfect three-technique in a 4-3 scheme and gets a good jump off the line. He dominated a good Wisconsin offensive line last season and despite his average size, should find success in the NFL. He’d be the perfect backup for Henry Melton this year and could be an eventual starter if Melton and the Bears don’t agree on a longterm deal.
RB Kerwynn Williams, Utah State (5-8, 195)
Williams is undersized, but he’s an explosive back who Trestman could have fun with in the passing game. He ran for 1512 yards last season after playing behind two NFL draft picks (Robert Turbin and Michael Smith) in 2011 and runs incredibly tough for a running back who is only 5-8. He’ll never be a reliable blocker, but he does have more of a ceiling that your typical change-of-pace back and could see important carries as a rookie. Matt Forte’s production was inconsistent last year and Michael Bush’s days as a No. 1 running back are over. A little competition would help.
WR Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (6-0 1/2, 194)
Stills has a little bit of baggage with a DUI last year and there are concerns about his strength and route-running. But he’s a vertical threat who has top-end speed and would give Jay Cutler a deep threat downfield.
6th Round, Pick 20: CB Josh Johnson, Purdue (5-9 3/8, 199)
Johnson could be one of the hidden gems in this year’s draft. He doesn’t explode with huge plays, but he’s a tough, reliable cornerback who is not afraid to battle and jam off the line. He was a three-year starter at Purdue who went largely unnoticed because he played on bad teams. Emery drafted a pair of late-round corners last year and Johnson provides more value than either Isaiah Frey or Greg McCoy did a year ago.
S John Boyett, Oregon (5-9 7/8, 204)
Boyett is a risk because he had surgery on both of his knees last fall and missed the majority of his senior year, but he’s a playmaker who can play at the NFL level if he’s healthy. Boyett competes for the ball in the air and could be a takeaway machine in the Bears’ Cover-2. He’s a little undersized and could struggle at times in coverage, but at the very least, he should be a very good special teams player.
QB Matt Scott, Arizona (6-2 1/8, 213)
This isn’t a great year to draft a quarterback, but with Cutler going into the final year of his contract, I can’t help but wonder if Trestman has an itch to start developing Plan B. Scott is a mobile guy who, like Cutler, is more comfortable out of the pocket. He has average arm strength and his mechanics need work, but Scott has the potential to be a sleeper. He emerged late as a senior after playing behind Nick Foles. There are greater concerns for the Bears right now, but if Emery is able to add one or two picks, I could see a late-round selection being used on a quarterback like Scott.
Adam is the Sports Editor 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 @AdamHoge and read more of his columns here.