The Chicago Bears need to add a few solid players on defense via Free Agency. This would be step one in building a playoff caliber team. The Bears lack experience and leadership on the defensive side of the ball (although the defensive unit played better in 2015 than they had during the entire Trestman era). Danny Trevathan of the Denver Broncos seems like a natural fit at inside linebacker in John Fox and Vic Fangio’s newly revamped 3-4 defense. Although the young linebacker out of Washington, John Timu, did a good job towards the end of the season he is not quite ready to start. Veteran inside linebacker: Stephen Tulloch, recently cut by the Detroit Lions could also provide a boost to the Bears linebacker unit. Although teams often prefer to draft cornerbacks, the Bears could stand to sign a good veteran via free agency.
Many analysts are assuming that the Bears are going to select either a pass rusher or a big defensive end in the first round of the 2016 draft. Although this would make sense as both positions could use an upgrade (especially the 3-4 DE position) I believe the Bears would be wise to select a franchise QB of the future for the organization. Not many analysts are high on guys such as Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook, but I believe both QBs have the potential to start and play at a high level in this league if they have a least one year to sit behind a starting quarterback and learn. Some would try and argue that you can draft these guys late in the first round and possibly early second round, but why take the chance in letting another team snag your guy when he is on the board and it’s your turn to pick.
Now, as we get to the draft I will say that I do not like the idea of drafting outside linebackers in the first round. I believe that they are more injury prone than certain other position groups and I believe that you can find them in the middle rounds of the draft. A guy who I would look at as a late-round pick up is Stephen Weatherly out of Vanderbilt, 6’4″ 250 lbs. He is a guy who didn’t get as much attention since Vanderbilt gets beat by most other SEC teams. However, he is recognized by draft analysts as a player with a good bit of potential. He ran a 4.75 at the combine so he does not have elite speed, but has enough burst off the snap to blow past OTs for the sack on the QB. Additionally, he has good awareness and change-of-direction quickness to be a factor in pass coverage. Shilique Calhoun out of Michigan State, 6’5″ 255 lbs, is another guy the Bears should target, but perhaps earlier such as the second round. He has shown great in-game instincts both vs the run and as a pass rusher. He has the motor that coaches love to see to take on multiple blocks and still fight their way to the QB or ball carrier.
Any Bears fan would tell you that the 2015 Bears secondary unit was nothing to brag about. Despite the lack of talent, they really outdid themselves last year. Although they gave up plenty of passing touchdowns during the 2015 season, they were at the top of the league in terms of passing yards allowed giving up an average of 224 yards per game, which ranked 4th in the NFL. Now that the unit has gained confidence in one area, it is time to bolster the secondary with a legitimate cornerback or safety in the 2016 draft. Unfortunately the Bears are not going to have an opportunity to draft an elite talent such as Vernon Hargreaves in the first round. They will however have the chance to draft either Safety’s out of Clemson.
The Clemson Tigers surrendered just 187.7 YPG in 2015 and just fell short of a National Championship. Strong safety, Jayron Kearse, stands at 6’4″ and weighs 220 lbs. He doesn’t quite fit the exact mold of Kam Chancellor, but he’s every bit as tall and athletic. Although many scouts and coaches might view Kearse as a raw prospect, he has freakish size and athleticism for the safety position, (even at the professional level). TJ Green is Clemson’s Free Safety, he stands a little over 6’1″ and weighs 210 lbs. He has the coverage skills that NFL teams are looking for, and he has the ability to develop into a starting Free Safety in this league.