Too soon? Probably but the fact of the matter is the Chicago Bears aren’t beating teams they should and that usually translates to a losing season. Their offense can’t score despite putting up loads of yardage. Their defense can’t get off the field or protect the end zone. It’s a mess all around that is entirely of their own making. Maybe a trip into the top 10 of the upcoming NFL draft will be the boost they’ve been missing to finally get over the hump of mediocrity.
Looking ahead to next April there will be a generous helping of quality talent available in the 1st round of the draft. Here are some names to watch carefully once the Bears go on the clock.
Landon Collins – S – Alabama
Surprise, surprise. Chris Conte is hurt again. Nothing has changed. The Chicago Bears continue their incredible run of inadequacy at the safety position. Ryan Mundy isn’t bad but he’s not that great either and he’s also about to turn 30-years old. This defense has lived without a real safety for too long. Landon Collins a true hybrid talent who can cover the run and the pass and plays his best against top competition.
Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska
The term “freak of nature” has to come to mind when thinking about Randy Gregory. At 6’6″ he has outstanding length and has the frame to improve on his 250 lbs bulk. He’s explosive off the snap, able to beat blockers with a variety of different moves, be they power or speed. He has the speed to chase down ball carriers and the natural athleticism to function in coverage when asked. If the Bears were seeking a long-term answer at pass rusher, Gregory is as good as they’ll ever hope to get.
Leonard Williams – DT/DE – USC
The same problem applies on the interior. Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton have the look of two quality players for Chicago, but they are as disruptive as Jeremiah Ratliff is. He however can’t stay healthy. A concussion has kept him sidelined for weeks and at age 33 it’s not likely to get better. Leonard Williams could solve all of their problems. The USC defensive lineman is a force when allowed to penetrate into the backfield. He is so disruptive that he almost constantly demands double teams. He’s quick, strong, explosive and above all tough.
Cedric Ogbuehi – OT – Texas A&M
Jermon Bushrod has been one of the better free agent signings the Bears have made in years. At left tackle he’s graded out very well this season, but after injuring his knee and ankle, it forces the team to remind themselves that Bushrod is 30-years old. Given how much value they place on pass protection, adding a young high quality tackle is not bad business at all. Cedric Ogbuehi is the latest is a long line of quality blockers out of Texas A&M and he may be the best of the bunch. Very agile for his size, he is tailor-made to guard the blind side of a quarterback.
Marcus Peters – CB – Washington
It’s true. The Bears already invested a 1st round pick this past draft in Kyle Fuller. Signs indicate with was a very good investment but the fact is it takes more than one cornerback to help a defense shutdown modern NFL offenses. So why not dip in the well again. Marcus Peters is built much like Fuller: big, physical, athletic with a nose for the football. He has three interceptions in the past two games and is widely noted for being a fiery competitor, something Chicago could use more of on the defensive side.
Todd Gurley – RB – Georgia
Matt Forte is still the do-it-all star he’s always been for the Bears, but he’s also going to be 29-years old next season, which is dangerous territory for running backs. Finding a replacement is important. They won’t do any better than Todd Gurley. Is the Georgia running back worth a 1st rounder, let alone a top 10 selection? Yes. Here is why.
WOULD THEY DO IT?
Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon
The Jay Cutler question is only going to grow as the Bears keep losing. Forget that he has a fat, new contract. Chicago can’t let that stop them from finding alternative if he continues to be the reason they can’t make the playoffs. Marcus Mariota is the best talent the 2015 draft is likely to offer. He’s extremely versatile, able to beat teams throwing or running and he demonstrates a composure under pressure that NFL starters need to have. The big question is can he match the production of Cutler without the mistakes? It’s worth the pick to find out.
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