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.) Jimmy Ward, Northern Illinois (5’11, 193): Ward isn’t flashy but is a sound tackler and is versatile enough to play either safety spot and even nickel corner in a pinch. He is a little smaller than ideal for the position but makes up for it with flawless technique and excellent instincts in coverage and run support. Ward should be able to step in and start on day 1 and is a good value pick in the second round. Draft projection: 1st-2nd round
2.) Deone Bucannon, Washington St (6’1, 211): I’m a big fan and would love to see the Bears end up with Bucannon in round 2. He has been shooting up draft boards since the Senior Bowl and for good reason. He’s one of the biggest hitters in college football and has excellent range in coverage. Bucannon misses his fair share of tackles since he is always going for the big hit, but that can be coached out and it’s really the only flaw in his game. Bucannon can be a big-time play-maker and should be able to contribute right away. Draft projection: 2nd round
3.) Craig Loston, LSU (5’11, 217): Great athlete and big hitter, who is a little raw technique wise but has a ton of potential. Loston will be a force against the run from day 1, but his coverage skills need some work. He has the natural athleticism to become proficient in coverage and could eventually develop into a pro-bowl caliber strong safety. Draft projection: 3rd round
4.) Dion Bailey, USC (6’0, 201): Bailey switched between OLB and safety in college and played well at both. He is a sure tackler with great instincts and enough speed to be adequate in coverage. Bailey showed good hands in college with 11 career interceptions and could become a versatile play-maker at the next level. Draft projection: 3rd round
5.) Ahmad Dixon, Baylor (6’0, 205): Dixon’s stock has dropped due to a poor Senior Bowl performance and mediocre combine, but is a good value pick in the mid-rounds. He’s a sure tackler and has the speed and instincts to eventually be solid in coverage. Dixon likes to hit and with a little refinement of both his tackling and coverage techniques, he could be a solid NFL starter at strong safety. In the short-term he should excel on special teams. Draft projection: 4th-5th round