Knowing they had a need to fill holes on the defensive side of the ball, the Chicago Bears used their first three picks in the 2014 NFL Draft on a cornerback and two defensive tackles last week. Here is a look at each of the Bears’ picks this year:
First Round-Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Fuller is listed as a cornerback, but has played every position in the defensive backfield. Chances are slim that he would play safety, but his versatility is one of the reasons he was the Bears’ No. 1 choice. GM Phil Emery says that Fuller is definitely there to play cornerback, and the guess is that he will play in nickel situations while learning under Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, the 30-something incumbents at the position.
Second Round¬-Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU: Even though Ferguson is 6-3 and 315 pounds, he is well-proportioned and a superb athlete who can step right in on the Bear’s defensive line. That is good news, as the Bears ranked last in 2013 in yards allowed on the ground to opposing teams. Emery noticed that in big games, the teams he played against had a very hard time running the ball. He had 85 career tackles at LSU, and 58 of them were in his last season.
Third Round-William Sutton, DT, Arizona State: When he heard the Bears had selected Ferguson in the second round, Sutton did not think he was going to be a member of the Chicago Bears. Fortunately for him, the Bears were not done shoring up their defense for the 2014 season. Sutton had his best year as a junior at ASU in 2012. Playing at 270 pounds, he racked up 23.5 tackles and 13 sacks and was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year. Bulking up to 309 lbs. his senior year, his production fell off. Emery says Sutton’s ideal playing-weight for the Bears will be somewhere in the 285-295 range.
Fourth Round-Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: Many analysts are grading Carey as a great value in the fourth round. In 2013 he was the Pac-12 offensive player of the year, racking up 1885 yards on 349 carries for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He will add immediate depth to running back behind Matt Forte and also could be used in short-yardage situations. Scouts describe him as quick though the hole with great leg-drive. Carey likes to finish off runs driving his legs through contact.
(2) Fourth Round-Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota: The brother of New England running back Shane Vereen, Brock is another Chicago draftee who has played every position in the defensive backfield. The Bears need him at safety, however, if only to add depth. He is strong, leading the defensive backs at the NFL Combine with 25 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press, and his 40-yard dash time (4.47) was second fastest among safeties. He has a high I.Q. on and off the field.
Sixth Round-David Fales, QB, San Jose State: Emery has made sure to stress that Fales was drafted to compete for the role of backup quarterback. Fales is an accurate quarterback, completing over 72 percent of his passes in 2012. He is described as gutsy, calm and in control of the offense. Some of the weaknesses include lack of arm strength and foot speed.
(2) Sixth Round-Patrick O’Donnell, Punter, Miami (FL): This was the Bears’ contribution to NFL Network pod-caster Rich Eisen’s “Punters Are People Too” campaign. O’Donnell is an athlete. At the combine he did 23 reps with 225 pounds on the bench press and ran a 4.64 40-yard dash. He averaged over 47 yards per punt last season, which was a school record. O’Donnell can also kickoff when needed, and can be a holder for field goals and extra points.
Seventh Round-Charles Leno, OG, Boise State: Even though he was drafted as a guard, he played his final two college seasons at left tackle for the Broncos. There are possibilities for Leno at both positions, although the he will need some development. The best thing about this pick for Chicago is that Leno had been projected to be drafted in as early as the fourth round, so from that standpoint, he has value as a seventh round pick.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Chicago Bears