With the NFL draft a little less than a month away, I thought it was about time I posted my position rankings. The Bears have far fewer holes than they did at the beginning of the off-season, so it’s feasible that they could really draft any position. You can see what positions I think they will target in my latest mock draft, but Emery has been very unpredictable in his short time running the Bears so your guess is probably as good as mine. Throughout the next month I will list my rankings at each position with some analysis of the players and occasional commentary on whether they would be a good fit for the Bears. If you think my rankings are way off or if I forgot anybody, let me know about it in the comments.
1.) Tre Mason, Auburn (5’8, 207): A little short for a feature back, but he’s well-built and runs low to the ground which helps him avoid big hits. Mason has an ideal combination of power and breakaway speed. He got better as the last season wore on, averaging 221 yards per game over his last three games, which included match-ups against top defenses Alabama and Florida St. Mason had a very productive and consistent college career that helped him break Bo Jackson’s rushing record at Auburn. Draft Projection: 2nd round
2.) Carlos Hyde, Ohio St (6’0, 230): A tough, workhorse runner with surprising burst and wiggle for a guy his size. Hyde had a monster senior season rushing for 1,521 yards and 14 TDs while averaging 7.3 ypc which is even more impressive considering that most of his runs were between the tackles in the rugged Big 10 conference. He is a willing pass blocker and decent receiver out of the backfield. Hyde looks like a prototype power back to me and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the first RB off the board. Draft Projection: 2nd round
3.) Bishop Sankey, Washington (5’9, 209): You could make the argument that Sankey is the best running back in the draft and I would be hard-pressed to disagree. There are about five backs who could make that claim, so it really comes down to what specific traits a team is looking for. Sankey is definitely the most well-rounded back in the draft. He ran faster than expected at the combine (4.49), has good strength (26 reps), is a smooth receiver out of the backfield, and is decent in pass pro. Sankey isn’t going to break a ton of long runs, but he’s solid in all aspects of the game and should be an above average NFL starter as soon as he’s given a chance. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round
4.) Jeremy Hill, LSU (6’1, 233): Hill was used in a platoon in his two years at LSU, so he has very little mileage on his legs. He was dominant in his limited carries averaging an impressive 6.9 ypc. Hill also scored 28 TDs in two seasons and excels in short yardage situations. Hill seemed to get better as last season wore on and he might just be scratching the surface of his potential. If the Bears are going to use a mid-round pick on a RB this year, I hope it’s Hill. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round
5.) Andre Williams, Boston College (5’11, 230): He only started for one year at BC, but put up ridiculous numbers (2,177 yards). Williams carried the ball a whopping 355 times, but still averaged over 6 yards a carry and found the end zone 18 times. Williams had a shoulder injury late in the season and had a myriad of minor injuries during his college career which could concern some teams. Williams is a bruiser with great balance and a surprising 2nd gear (4.56 40-time). He has the potential to be a tough workhorse back in the NFL but needs to check out medically . Williams didn’t catch any passes last year, so he will have to show some receiving ability at his pro day as well. There are a lot of unknowns with Williams, but 2000+ yards is a serious accomplishment. Draft Projection: 3rd round
6.) Charles Sims, West Virginia (6’0, 214): Viewed as a 3rd down back coming into the Senior Bowl, Sims changed some minds with power running, smooth hands out of the backfield, and good enough pass protection. Sims drew comparisons to Matt Forte, Shane Vereen, and DeMarco Murray from various analysts. High praise. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round