LAST SEASON Rush Offense - 123.1 ypg (10th)
Pass Offense - 187.4 ypg (29th)
Total Offense - 310.6 ypg (28th)
Scoring Offense - 23.4 ppg (16th)
Rush Defense - 101.7 ypg (8th)
Pass Defense - 213.9 ypg (8th)
Total Defense - 315.6 ypg (5th)
Scoring Defense - 17.3 ppg (3rd) MOST PRESSING NEEDS Offense: Offensive line and tight end
Defense: Linebacker, both inside and outside
Quarterback The Draft Board
5th round Zac Dysert, Miami (OH) (6-3, 231) 6th round Colby Cameron, La. Tech (6-2, 212) 7th round Sean Renfree, Duke (6-3, 219)
When Jay Cutler has stayed healthy, the Bears' offensive attack is layered and explosive. Unfortunately, he's not played a full season since 2009. It would behoove the Bears to look for a capable veteran to back him up and a rookie to develop in late rounds. Jason Campbell is an unrestricted free agent, but he's not the answer. New coach Marc Trestman has done great work with quarterbacks and has his hands full with Cutler. But Trestman's crew should add a young guy to develop.
Dysert is an athletic gunslinger reminiscent of Cutler. He doesn't always make the right decision, but when things get tough, there are few quarterbacks coaches can trust more than Dysert. Renfree shouldn't be a seventh-rounder, but an injury in his last game set him back.
Running Back The Draft Board
5th round Denard Robinson, Michigan (5-11, 193)
Chris Thompson, Florida State (5-7, 192)
Robbie Rouse, Fresno State (5-6, 190) 6th round Theo Riddick, Notre Dame (5-10, 201)
DJ Harper, Boise State (5-9, 211)
Matt Forte didn't have his best season last year, but there are few backs in the league with his combination of skills. Michael Bush is the consummate complementary back although he averaged only 3.6 yards per carry last year. It wouldn't be surprising in the slightest to see the Bears look for a dynamic playmaker who could line up at running back and wide receiver.
Simply put, teams want to get the ball in Robinson's hands, whether at receiver or running back. Thompson is coming off an ACL tear, but he's as tough as can be with unmatched speed. Rouse doesn't have that speed, but he's quick as a hiccup and extremely difficult to tackle. Riddick can play as a slot WR or as a RB, although he won't blow you away with speed like Harper.
The Bears' wide receiver corps may be as strong as it's been in decades. Brandon Marshall finished the season with 118 receptions, 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning his fourth Pro Bowl berth. Alshon Jeffery flashed enormous potential, but his production waned due to nagging injuries. In his second year, he should break out as an effective complement to Marshall. Earl Bennett is dependable, and Devin Hester is still wearing Bears colors. Put it all together and there is no reason to add a receiver, unless the team targets a RB/WR combo.
Tight End The Draft Board
1st round Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6-5, 250) 2nd round Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5, 249) 4th round Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (6-5, 254)
Chris Gragg, Arkansas (6-3, 244) 5th round Matt Furstenburg, Maryland (6-3, 242) 6th round Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State (6-3, 252)
The Bears' perimeter skill positions are stocked with talent and depth, but the tight end position needs some work. Kellen Davis hasn't been much of a receiving weapon for Cutler, catching only 19 passes and a pair of touchdowns in 2012. Due to his lack of receiving skills and $2.4M salary, Davis could be a cap casualty. If he's not released, backup Matt Spaeth may ultimately be cut. Adding a versatile tight end on draft weekend is a necessity. Unfortunately, the Bears don't have a third-round pick, so they could miss out on a couple of options if they don't take one early or add picks.
Cutler to Eifert has a nice ring to it, but it only happens if the Bears jump on Eifert in the first round. That said, drafting the former Notre Dame star makes perfect sense. Finding Escobar in the fourth round would be a coup. He didn't burn up the track at the combine, but he plays much faster than his time and is a natural receiver. Gragg can fly and is more of a beefed up receiver than tight end.
Offensive line The Draft Board
1st round G Chance Warmack, Alabama (6-2, 317)
G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6-2, 311) 2nd round G Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3, 332)
G/T Kyle Long, Oregon (6-6, 313) 3rd round T Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff (6-5, 306)
G/T Brian Winters, Kent State (6-4, 320) 4th round T Jordan Mills, La. Tech (6-5, 316)
G Garrett Gilkey, Chadron State (6-6, 318) 5th round T Reid Fragel, Ohio State (6-8, 308)
G Eric Herman, Ohio (6-4, 320) 6th round T Chris Faulk, LSU (6-5, 331)
It feels like the Bears need offensive line help in every draft. Once again, the Bears must find prospects to vie for starting positions immediately. The only two rock-solid starters heading into the off season are RT Gabe Carimi and C Roberto Garza. G Lance Louis is an unrestricted free agent but he's coming off of a torn ACL. At full health, he's one of the better offensive line free agents, but GM Phil Emery has noted that the Bears would like to bring him back. The major question for the Bears is whether LT J'Marcus Webb's late- season progress gives them hope for the future. There are better LT prospects in this draft, but they'll be gone by the time the Bears make a selection at No. 20. That shouldn't stop them from looking for depth at that position and since the team needs guards too, this will be another draft spent adding offensive line prospects.
It's hard to imagine Warmack being on the board at No. 20, but it's hard to imagine the Bears passing on him if he is. Cooper has a better chance to be available, although the Bears will still have to sweat that one out. If the Bears miss out on those two, Warford is a perfect fit in the second round. The former Kentucky star strikes hard at the point of attack, pulls to get to the edge and has relatively nimble feet for a 332-pounder. Armstead could have a career one day at left tackle, and could be the steal of the draft.
Defensive line The Draft Board
4th round DT Jordan Hill, Penn State (6-1, 303) 5th round DT Everett Dawkins, Florida State (6-2, 292) 6th round DT Abry Jones, Georgia (6-3, 313) 7th round DT Chris Jones, Bowling Green (6-2, 302)
Now that DT Henry Melton has been tagged by the Bears, the defensive line is solid. At defensive end, the only issue is unrestricted free agent Israel Idonije, who had 7.5 sacks last season. He has stated his desire to return to Chicago and once he returns, the team will be two deep at each position with Idonije, Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton and last year's first round selection Shea McClellin. The team's needs in the OL should supersede all others, but Emery and the Bears should address DT depth late in the draft.
Hill is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in this draft. His motor never stops and he's relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. Dawkins' inconsistent play has pushed him down draft boards, but in a rotational role, he'll have an impact. Chris Jones is disruptive inside and gained weight to withstand the NFL's interior punishment.
Linebackers The Draft Board
2nd round ILB/OLB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (6-1, 241) 4th round OLB Jelani Jenkins, Florida (6-0, 243) 5th round ILB Nico Johnson, Alabama (6-2, 248) 6th round OLB Jake Knott, Iowa State (6-2, 243) 7th round OLB Michael Mauti, Penn State (6-2, 243)
The linebacking corps has been set in stone for years. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs have been mainstays since 2003 and while Briggs will return, Urlacher's return is uncertain. He'll be 35 in May and with Ray Lewis now retired, he's the graybeard in the NFL at MLB. He's not the dynamic player he was in his 20s, but still has a little left in the tank. Even if Urlacher does return, the Bears need adequate depth behind him, not to mention finding a sure replacement at sam linebacker if unrestricted free agent Nick Roach departs.
Greene can play any linebacker position on the field in a 4-3 or a 3-4 and as a former safety, he has the burst to close on ball carriers as well as any linebacker in this class. He's instinctive and tough, but he also has a high football IQ. Jenkins has the athleticism to play the sam spot, but he hasn't tapped into his enormous potential yet. Keep an eye on Mauti if he's healthy.
Secondary The Draft Board
5th round CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (5-9, 178) 6th round CB DJ Hayden, Houston (6-1, 190) 7th round CB/PR Greg Reid, Florida State/Valdosta State (5-8, 190)
The Bears put a premium on finding secondary players in previous drafts and it paid off. Outside of Tim Jennings (free agent) and Sherrick McManis (trade), the Bears' secondary is home grown, including Pro Bowler Charles Tillman. Although Kelvin Hayden is an unrestricted free agent, the team's back four shouldn't miss a beat. The team would like to sign Hayden to stay as its slot corner, but even if he walks, it won't disrupt the offseason priorities. If the team chooses to address the secondary in the draft, it may take a late-round risk.
Mathieu's off-field issues are well documented, but if Hayden leaves, Mathieu would be a perfect fit to play in the slot. He won't be a lock-down cover corner but he's a bona fide playmaker. Hayden nearly died on the practice field last year after taking a hit to the mid-section, but should be ready to play in the fall as long as his medicals check out. Reid's had a multitude of issues, but taking a flyer on him in the seventh may provide decent return in the future.
John Harris hosts The John Harris Show for Yahoo! Sports Radio.
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