By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Hand: 10 3/4
Arm: 33 3/8
College Career: Four-year linebacker at Alabama won two national championships and was a constant menace in the middle of the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 defense. Racked up 215 tackles in his last two seasons and won the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker) in 2013. Team captain.
Strengths: Good, reliable tackler with thump. Slips blocks very well, rarely getting locked onto by offensive linemen. Drives downhill hard to fill gaps. Flows well horizontally and finds the ball quickly with good instincts. Respected teammate who will fit in well as a leader at the next level. Can handle the responsibility that comes with aligning a defense and calling out assignments. Should be able to play inside in either a 3-4 or 4-3.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t possess top-end speed or athleticism. Doesn’t always make the right read and has been caught running himself out of plays. Durability is a big question as he has suffered elbow, hip and shoulder injuries and has been dogged by reports saying he has bad knees.
Bears Outlook: This is one of those cases where you have to trust your team doctors. If the Bears’ medical staff has cleared Mosley, then he could very well be in play for them at No. 14. If they haven’t cleared him, Mosley could be off their board completely. D.J. Williams is the only true middle linebacker on the Bears’ roster right now and he was only able to stay healthy for half of last season. They need a middle linebacker for the future — one they can trust to get plays called and align the defense. Mosley might not have the best speed and athleticism, but his game film is impressive and indicates he can be a very good linebacker in the NFL for many years — if he can stay healthy, of course.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.