The Chicago Bears have had a complete overhaul in the front office and coaching staff this offseason, and for good reason. The previous regime under Phil Emery and Marc Trestman was weak-minded — as the team lacked mental toughness and the effort that is needed to succeed in as tough a league as the NFL.
However, there was a benefit from all of this. The Bears’ ownership learned their lesson and brought in people with a more proven track record, who had completely different mentalities. In comes rookie GM Ryan Pace, who for years was a major part of a very successful franchise in the New Orleans Saints, and John Fox, a more traditional head coach who gets his players to play hard on both sides of the ball.
Another plus of the lack of success is, of course, a much higher draft pick. Coming up in less than two weeks is the 2015 NFL Draft. There, the Bears will continue their rebuilding process and there are plenty of directions they could go with their first couple of picks.
Here, I’d like to offer five prospects — two for the second-round selection (No. 39 pick overall) and three for the first-round selection (No. 7 pick overall) — who the Bears could take with their picks. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments area below and let me know what you think.
5. Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
As Pace and Fox continue to try to build a new 3-4 defense, adding a big, physical corner like Jones would be huge for their progress. Considering how small Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings are, the 6-foot-1, 199-pound corner from UConn excels in press-coverage, but also ran a 4.40 40-yard dash. He’s got the speed to keep up down the field and add a third stout corner for the Bears to utilize in 2015.
4. Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
The Bears clearly need to upgrade on the offensive line at some point. Right here wouldn’t be a bad spot with Fisher. One of Phil Emery’s few good picks in his three draft classes was guard Kyle Long, also from Oregon. Perhaps a couple of Ducks along the right side of the line would prove fruitful, especially as he’d be another athletic big body at 6-foot-6, 306 pounds.
3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Trading Brandon Marshall left a whole at wideout for Chicago, and no, Eddie Royal didn’t fill it. Adding a big-time playmaker like Cooper would be huge here for the Bears. Regardless of who the quarterback will be in a year or two, they’ll need players around them. Alshon Jeffery and Cooper would be a great 1-2 combo.
2. Randy Gregory, OLB-DE, Nebraska
This first pick is tough to gauge whether the Bears will want to go offense or defense, because either is justifiable. But if they go defense, they better go after a potentially dominant pass rusher, which makes Gregory the pick here. He’s an athletic freak and would give them a great player to rotate in with Lamarr Houston and Pernell McPhee at OLB in the new 3-4 defense.
1. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Right here, Kevin White has the highest upside, that is if he’s available at No. 7. White has Demaryius Thomas-type size and speed, and that type of upside talent-wise. I’m sure former Denver Broncos coach John Fox wouldn’t mind getting that type of player in his offense for big-armed QB Jay Cutler to work with. If White is available, he has to be the pick at No. 7.