This year’s NFL Draft Preview is our longest podcast yet. The focus is almost solely on the Bears, and Jordan and I debate the Bears’ biggest needs. We discuss which players the Bears should be targeting, which players they should pass on and which players we hope will fall to their pick in round two.
We’re also happy to help a new guest, Lance Poirrier of Da Bears Beat. Lance follows the NFL Draft as closely as anyone, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
Brad Biggs broke the news today that Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall is on the trading block for a mid round pick. Since then, twitter went crazy and Brandon Marshall was trending across the US for hours. There were hundreds of tweets from literally every fan base, wanting their team to trade for him.
It’s easy to think that the Bears will draft a defensive player with the 7th overall pick, but GM Ryan Pace has stated that he will take the best player available and has made mistakes in the past by reaching for players in positions that the New Orleans Saints needed.
The Bears should take a look at University of Iowa Offensive Lineman, Brandon Scherff. He’s mean, he’s strong, and he plays until the whistle blows. Some have him listed as a tackle in the NFL, while Mike Mayock says that even though he could be great at all 5 offensive line positions, if Scherff is moved inside to guard, he would be an All Pro.
With Bushrod and Mills struggling at times, Garza likely in his last year, and Slauson’s injuries, Scherff would make a for a great pick and would be an instant starter. How great would it be to see him paired on the line with 2 time pro bowler, Kyle Long for the next decade.
There’s a chance that the top 5 defensive players like Leonard Williams, Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler, Danny Shelton, and Shane Ray could all be gone by the Bears pick.
All signs are pointing to the Bears switching to a 3-4 defense, but even head coach John Fox has talked about how you shouldn’t define a defense as a 3-4 or a 4-3. While some defenders don’t make sense in a pure 3-4, like Jared Allen or Will Sutton, it doesn’t make financial sense to cut them either. With 2014’s dead money totally over $18 million, mostly from Julius Peppers, Michael Bush, Gabe Carimi, Adam Podlesh and a few other veterans, Bears will have quite a bit of money to spend this offseason, 9th most amount in the NFL. We don’t really know much about Ryan Pace, but there is a chance he could go big. Like Ndamukong Suh big. Other rumors have Patrick Willis getting cut in San Francisco and new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio knows him well.
What could all this look like? Best case scenario, the front 7 of a hybrid defense could look like thisNd. Also mocking NT Danny Shelton to the Bears with their 7th overall pick.
Bears still need to improve the secondary in free agency and the draft. 2nd or 3rd round options could be safety Jaquiski Tartt, cornerback Marcus Peters, or safety Gerod Holliman. All defensive backs would improve from a front 7 lineup like this though.
Today is National Signing Day or College Football’s Draft Day. Each high school recruit is given a ranking on a star scale with 5 stars being the highest. Then each school is graded by the number of recruits they signed and the number of stars those recruits were given, similar to Draft Day grades. Many times, the star ratings end up meaning nothing. For example, JJ Watt was a 2 star recruit out of high school and many 5 star recruits go undrafted in the NFL.
Throughout the years, the Bears have drafted some 5 recruits and currently have 3 on the roster.
At 6’2″ 343 lbs, Danny Shelton would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 Nose Tackle. We talked about it in Podcast Episode 20, but if Vic Fangio and John Fox move to a 3-4 or at least some form of it, Shelton could be a great pick at 7th overall. If you are looking for an NFL comparison, think Vince Wilfork and Dontari Poe. Danny Shelton is not only a big body, but he’s explosive too. He had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl and the Bears are said to have met with him there.