By Greg Gabriel–

(CBS) A couple weeks back, I wrote about what the Bears might do with their first-round draft choice come April 30. My thoughts were based on what the Bears had done during the first wave of free agency. Though they had filled needs, the Bears hadn’t taken care of an obvious need on the defensive line that was glaring, considering they are transitioning to a base 3-4 scheme that requires a totally different type of lineman.

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Well, I turned out to be half right. Shortly after I wrote that article, the Bears signed two defensive linemen in free agency’s secondary phase. Former 49er Ray McDonald and former Redskin Jarvis Jenkins are ideal fits for the new scheme.

Granted, McDonald comes with baggage, but as a player the Bears got perhaps the third-best defensive lineman available in free agency. In Jenkins, the Bears got a player who’s just starting to come into his own as an NFL player. They hope that at age 26, he’s still an ascending player.

Following those signings, the Bears also inked promising inside linebacker Mason Foster and corner Alan Ball. While there still may be a few more signings to be made, the acquisition of these players totally changes what the Bears may do in the draft. They’re now truly in the position to really take the best available player. The million-dollar question is who could that player be?

Before answering that, we first need to explore whether the Bears keep the seventh overall pick or look to trade down. There are positives to both keeping it and trading it. By staying put, the Bears are assured of getting one of the top seven players on their board and most likely a player rated higher than seventh overall. Looking at the strengths of this draft, that player could be a wide receiver or an edge pass rusher.

If the Bears trade down, they have the opportunity of picking up an extra second- or third-round pick, depending on how far they trade back, and still get a quality player as well as the extra choice. The question that has to be answered is, what does the package look like?

When you go into a draft, there are always players who you covet in certain rounds. You have a plan of attack, and decisions are made around that plan. When a club thinks about trading down, they know they are giving up a player that they have rated high on their board.

The question they ask themselves is this: Is the player they get by trading down and the extra pick better for the team in the long run than keeping the original pick?

Again, looking at the depth and strengths of the draft can help answer that question. If the Bears trade down more than five or six slots, they should be able to get an additional second-round pick, likely mid-round, which in this draft should be a quality player.

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The strength of this draft is edge pass rushers, interior defensive linemen, wide receivers and running backs. By trading down, the Bears could pick up a quality player with the new first-rounder and another one with the added pick, which would likely fall between the 44th and 50th overall pick. That player could be an edge player like LSU’s Danielle Hunter, Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha or Utah’s Nate Orchard.

If the player was a defensive lineman, it could come from the group of Florida State’s Mario Edwards, Washington State’s Xavier Cooper or Arizona State’s Marcus Hardison. The wide receivers available at that time could be USC’s Nelson Agholor or perhaps Ohio State’s Devin Smith.

Cornerbacks available in that area would be guys like Florida State’s P.J. Williams or Louisville’s Charles Gaines. The only safety worthy of being drafted in the mid-second round would be Louisville’s Gerod Holliman.

Going back to Chicago’s original first pick at No. 7, chances are it’s are looking at one of the two top receivers in the draft in Amari Cooper or Kevin White or an edge pass rusher like Vic Beasley.

Since my last article, there have been some developments among the top prospects. Edge rusher Shane Ray of Missouri had an average pro day. While he ran well, his change-of-direction and pass coverage drills were average. Also, it was revealed that Nebraska defensive end/outside linebacker Randy Gregory tested positive at the combine for marijuana. Both of those players could drop a little, but not much. The problem the Bears have is neither looks as attractive anymore at No. 7.

By trading down just a few spots and picking up an extra third-round pick, the Bears could still have a shot at Ray and/or Gregory, assuming the interest was originally there. Trading back a few spots would also bring into play all the interior defensive linemen, as well as the top offensive linemen. These players would include Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton, Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat or Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff. Looking at the package of players they could be getting will play the leading role in the Bears’ decision on whether to trade back.

People keep mentioning that one of the Bears’ biggest needs is an edge pass rusher. I’m not sure I agree. They have already signed Pernell McPhee, and it’s been said that Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young will be used as outside linebackers on base downs. Is there really a strong need for another player of that type?

One thing is certain: Things change by the day. Free agent signings in the coming weeks by the Bears could still change their draft plan.

Stay tuned, I’ll update again in a couple weeks. The closer we get to the draft, the clearer the picture becomes.

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Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who has been an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.