Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron throws the ball during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Where Do The Bears Go From Here On Day 3?

Nov 30, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) is tackled by Southern California Trojans linebacker Dion Bailey (18) on a 37-yard reception in the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Day 3 offers a ton of starter potential possibilities, or at least competition to start at a variety of positions. The secondary can still get a boost with many very good prospects still on the board. If the Bears want to go pass rush there are plenty of options there as well. Linebacker appears to be a position the Bears will address at some point and there are some very good prospects to be had on both the outside, and interior. Offense still has some dynamic players to be had at Tight End, Running Back, and Wide Receiver. If the Bears want to fill needs, or go best player available it would appear they can target some good football players who have rare athletic ability to translate to the NFL game, and versatility to play in the evolving hybrid game the NFL is now gearing towards.

Nov 16, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears safety Ahmad Dixon (6) reacts to the sidelines during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Hybrid there are 3 safeties I still really like still left in Ahmad Dixon (Baylor), Dion Bailey(USC), and Greg Loston(LSU). All can play hybrid roles. They all have some things to work on in coverage, but are not awful. At this point in the draft every player has things to work on. That’s why the Bears beefed up their staff with more positional coaching. As for the secondary the Bears have one of the best coaches in the league in Jon Hoke which is why they kept him after the coaching purge this past off-season. Safety still appears to be an area of need although it seems the Bears count on their front 7 to help stabilize the back end which makes sense. If you go back to 2012 when the Bears front 7 was among the most productive in the league there were no complaints about Chris Conte, and Major wright.

Other notable safeties include; Kenny Ladler (Vanderbilt), Brock Vereen (Minnesota), and Isaiah Lewis (Michigan St.), although Lewis is smaller at only 5’10” which may concern the Bears about his durability. Especially with his physical style of play. Reminds me of Mike Brown in that way. Great player but had injury issues which ultimately hurt the team. 

Feb 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Lindenwood defensive back Pierre Desir runs the 40 yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Also some very good Corner Back prospects left on the board, so Bears picking another Corner is not out of the realm of possibility. Maybe even as a safety convert. A couple prospects project to be able to make the switch, and maybe even profile better at safety in Pierre Desir, and Keith McGill. As for pure cornerback prospects that have the profile the Bears are targeting watch for Antone Exum, Marcus Roberson, Dontae Johnson, and wild card Aaron Colvin (who was projected to go in day 2, and possibly slip into the end of round one before his knee injury) to possibly get picked by the Bears. Could be a very good value choice as a developmental corner. All have the size and length the Bears desire to compete with the monster Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends that inhabit the NFL now-a-days. 

Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles linebacker Telvin Smith (22) celebrates after the 2014 BCS National Championship game against the Auburn Tigers at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Yes defense still needs attention which is why I would not be completely shocked if they go defense across the board. I would be surprised however as the needs of depth at Wide Receiver, Tight End,Running Back, and even Offensive Line -particularly offensive tackle- could all stand to use upgrades, and to have some young talent to develop in the pipeline to prevent any voids injury, or ineffectiveness due to age would cause as was evident last season.

That being said Linebacker is a position the Bears can add to particularly in the middle, and there a couple good interior guys as well as some outside ones that may impact the team as soon as this season on both defense, but especially so on special teams. Special teams need to be upgraded after a disappointing 2013 season. The top ILB is probably Shayne Skov(Stanford). Christian Jones(FSU), and Telvin Smith(FSU) both played inside at FSU, with Smith playing more of a hybrid role in a Spur (LB/S hybrid), and Whip (CB/S hybrid) positions. He is undersized for a LB and he can profile as a big SS rather than a small LB, but with all the sub-packages the Bears figure to play there doesn’t really appear to be clearly defined positions except in depth chart alone. I could list LB’s all day as there are many good ones on the board, but the one name to watch is Yawin Smallwood (Conneticut) who can play inside and out, and was recruited and coached by Bears new DL coach Paul Pasqualoni.

Nov 9, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes linebacker Jason Whittingham (53) grabs on to Arizona State Sun Devils running back Marion Grice (1) and tries to tackle him during the fourth quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Arizona State Sun Devils won the game 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Offense needs some love too. Running Back immediately stands out to me. I have no doubt that the Bears like what they have in un-drafted rookie from a year ago in Michael Ford, and Shaun Draughn does have some of the skill set traits the Bears like in their Running backs, but I don’t think you just hand them jobs without trying to up-grade the level of competition. Some very interesting names still on the board in a very deep Running back class. Prospects like Ka’ Deem Carey(Arizona), De’Anthony Thomas(Oregon), Storm Johnson( Central Florida), Lache Seastrunk(Baylor), Marion Grice(Arizona St.) to name a few remain. It’s also very likely the Bears just sign a few of these guys as priority free agents as this group is just that deep.

Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (1) makes a touchdown catch as Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Armani Reeves (26) defends during the second half in the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Some explosive Wide receivers remain as well. This very deep group has already been raped and pillaged and not many remain, but names like  Bruce Ellington(So. Carolina), Jared Abbrederis(Wisconin), Jeff Janis(Saginaw Valley St.), Brandon Coleman(Clemson), L’Damian Washington(Missouri), and probably the most intriguing name of all Martavis Bryant are all guys who can offer immediate help on special teams and sub packages on offense.

Jan. 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Oregon Ducks tight end Colt Lyerla (15) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats during the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End offers some help too. Colt Lyerla(Oregon) is probably the most talented one left who does bring off field concern, but in the Bears solid locker room full of leaders he should thrive. Defensive End convert Marcel Jensen(Fresno State) is another interesting project type who has the size/speed combo you like in a modern tight end. Also ex basketball player with athleticism also a popular trait with the modern day tight ends. A.C. Leonard(Tennessee St.) offers intriguing H-back skills to the table. Kind of a one trick pony as he’s a bit undersized but runs like the wind with a 4.5 flat 40 at over 250 lbs.

Dec 7, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal linebacker Shayne Skov (11) and offensive guard David Yankey (54) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Stanford defeated Arizona State 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There is some very good Offensive line talent left on the board. Names like Antonio Richardson(Tennessee), David Yankey(Stanford), Seantrel Henderson(Miami), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif(McGill Canada), Cyril Richardson(Baylor), and Gabe Ikard(Oklahoma) probably are the most interesting names left on the bard with a bunch more that offer some developmental consideration. Offensive line was very improved, but still had warts. It’s a position group that has some concerns, and can easily be upgraded for now, and the future.

Defensive Line is another position group that should not be summarily dismissed out of hand. Even Defensive Tackle despite picking two on day 2. Value is value after all. It still offers a lot of special type talent on the board. Kids like Anthony Johnson(LSU), DeAndre Coleman(California), DaQuan Jones(Penn St.), Chris Smith(Arkansas), Taylor Hart(Oregon), Jackson Jeffcoat(Texas), Kelcy Quarles(So.Carolina), and big zero technique Ryan Carrethers(Arkansas St.) all offer starter caliber traits, and depth on the defensive line, which appears to be a huge priority at Hallas hall.

In closing, as you can see there are still a lot of impact type players on the board. A lot of guys I still really like on here that I feel can be future starters if not immediate starters if they are allowed to compete for a starting job, or even as fill in’s for possible injuries. The Defensive Line, Running Back, Secondary, and Linebackers I feel offer the biggest return as far as value is concerned. Lots of guys who can contribute in a big way on special teams right away and as potential starters in the future. Not only that, but they can provide the proper competition to raise the level of incumbent starters and roster bubble depth players who may end up even beating out some of these rookies because of the fact they are playing for their jobs, and future careers in the NFL. I did not mention Quarterback, but there are still some pretty big names on the board to keep an eye on if value is truly the immediate goal. Kids like AJ McCarron(Alabama), Logan Thomas(Virginia Tech), Zach Mettenberger(LSU), Tajh boyd(Clemson), and Aaron Murray(Georgia) among others that may find their way on the roster as either drafted players or priority free agents. There is a lot of intrigue still left on day 3.

Tags: Chicago Bears NFL Draft 2014

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