The Chicago Bears have made it quite clear of what they have set out to accomplish this off-season, they needed a pass rush. The NFL Draft Daily doesn’t blame them what so ever; with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford playing Chicago twice a year. Lamarr Houston is an up and coming defensive nd who can switch inside if need be, and can willfully collapse the pocket like none other; the Raiders may have made a grave mistake letting Houston walk. Houston can only get better with another proven star to help hone in his pass rush skills. The Chicago Bears signed Jared Allen to a four-year $32 million contract, snagging him away from division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. Allen has seven consecutive seasons of recording 10 or more sacks, and has racked up 128.5 sacks in his 10 year career. Pushing the twilight of his career, many have considered Allen more of a situation-al player towards this portion of his career; which may help another signing like Willie Young, get playing time on earlier downs. The Bears interior defensive line is still in question, and they have not exactly improved their safety play with any of their recent signings at the position.
The safety and interior defensive line are major holes on a somewhat solidified defense. With these issues fixed, the Bears defense could find themselves ranked among the best in the league once again. Chicago is getting somewhat older at the corner position with Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, but could still rely on each to perform at high a level for at least the coming year. Depth could be found in the draft and a future corner in next years draft could become a high pick for them, but once again their needs at safety and defensive tackle are far more important. The NFL Draft Daily thinks there are two possible picks the Bears may make. After watching the last years tape, and knowing Chicago has to face the likes of Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, and Reggie Bush each twice a year; the pick has to be a defensive tackle. We highly considered a safety at the 14th pick but watching the Chicago defense get absolutely thrashed on the ground throughout the year was dreadful. They sorely missed their anchor, Henry Melton, on the interior line; and it seemed as if Julius Peppers just wasn’t playing to par as his usual all pro self. Aaron Donald has proven to be the top defensive tackle in the draft, and shines in both pass and run situations on the field. His abnormal quickness and strength separates himself among the others; pass rush possibly being the deciding factor on this pick for Chicago.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the other option with the pick but there will still be an opportunity to find a nice, rangy, cover safety in the draft. Dix and Pryor are not the only names sitting at the safety spot in the draft. Other safeties like, Jimmie Ward, Deone Buccanon, Dion Bailey, and Ed Reynolds from Stanford; could all fit the bill in the defensive backfield. The NFL Draft Daily has one sleeper in mind though, one young man who could be a possible safety at the next level if brought into the right system. Tre Boston out of North Carolina could be that guy in the later rounds for the Bears. In four years, Boston has 13 career interceptions and ran below a 4.5 at the NFL Combine. He has shown great range in his four years at UNC and would be a valuable commodity in the later rounds, possibly in the fourth or fifth round.
Aaron Donald is the NFL Draft Daily’s pick for the Chicago Bears in the first round, and we even threw a sleeper in there for the windy city faithful. Pass rush and pass coverage will be key to knock a team off the top of the division like the Green Bay Packers, and Chicago has done just that with the additions of Allen and Houston. Donald only adds to the equation and solidifies a gruesome front four that could be dangerous for at least the next four years for the Bears.
This article is one in a series, published daily, providing analysis, insight and predictions leading up to the NFL draft and beyond.
Commentary by Justin Huffman