Grade : A
Round 1 – Kyle Fuller CB
Round 2 – Ego Ferguson DT
Round 3 – Will Sutton DT
Round 4 – Ka'Deem Carey RB
Round 4- Brock Vereen CB
Round 6 – David Fales QB
Round 6 – Pat O'Donnell P
Round 7 – Charles Leno Jr OT
After going 8-8 last season the Bears needed to improve particularly on defense. Free agency signings of DT Lamarr Houston, safety M.D. Jennings and DE Jared Allen were good starts but much still needed to be done going into the draft. Safety, cornerback and defensive tackle in particular all needed strengthening.
The Bears round one pick was cornerback Kyle Fuller. You have got to give the Bears an A for this pick. It may have been a fairly obvious move but the logic behind drafting Fuller is undeniable. The Bears needed to improve at cornerback and at secondary overall. The secondary was a weak spot last season and in an NFC North the need to defend against the pass is not going to lessen anytime soon.
So the positional need was clear for a CB was clear. As for the actual player, Fuller seems like the best fit for the Bears needs. Darqueze Dennard is probably a bigger more explosive hitter but looks suspect in off-man coverage. This rawness would have been easily exploitable by the NFC North QB's Bridgewater, Rodgers and Stafford. Fuller meanwhile, is technically solid throughout able to play press man, off man and zone. Interestingly, for the Bears Fuller can also play safety, but more on that position late.
The Fuller pick looks even better in hindsight as 5 cornerbacks came off the board in round one but only one in round 2. If the Bears had passed on Fuller in the first round then they would have had to push a cornerback up the board and overdraft him.
The rationale behind the selections in rounds 2 and 3 were a bit less obvious however. The Bears did need to bring in fresh blood a tackle but in a 3-4 system was the need really there to pick Ego Ferguson in round 2 and Will Sutton in round 3? Ferguson is a big
physical nose tackle who is a bit quicker then you would initially think. He should do a good job of stopping the run game.
Sutton is the more exciting prospect. He fell to round 3 after gaining weight last year and losing some athleticism. At the combine though he had dropped around 15 pounds
and looked close to his 2012 form which was exceptional. In 2012 Sutton claimed 13 sack, 63 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and three forced fumbles.
As for selecting two defensive tackles I don't think that Sutton will play at tackle very often except on situation pass rush downs. Given his speed and pass rush ability. I see Sutton more as a defensive end. If this is the case then drafting both of them makes more sense.
There is also plenty to like about later picks. After a poor 2013 the punter position needed improvement and sixth round pick Pat O'Donnell should do this. Whilst Ka'Deem Carey RB should help to lighten Matt Forte's workload.
Perhaps the most interesting pick is round 4 pick Brock Vereen. The Bears traded up with the Broncos to re-enter the draft at the back of round 4 giving up a two fifth round
Vereen is able to play at either cornerback or safety. It seems likely however, that safety will be hid position for the Bears. Vereen is a good all-round athlete whose biggest weakness seems to be his enthusiasm which at times has led him to over-pursue leaving behind big open running lanes.
The Bears coaching staff will back themselves to fix this issue though and Vereen doesn't need to start immediately. Free agency signings like M. D. Jennings, Danny McCray and Ryan Mundy should be decent enough for the start of the season.
Overall, it is hard to see how the Bears could have done better in the draft. It is important to remember that you can't build a whole team in one draft. Some people have thought taking a safety would have been the better choice in round 1 but then the Bears would have struggled to get a CB later in the draft.
If the choice was between Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety and Fuller at cornerback I'm with Phil Emery who said that there was “better value” at CB than safety. Especially since
you would back the retooled Bears D-line to pressure to QB reduce the number of times a safety is needed to stop big plays.
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