Chicago Bears Draft Choice - Aaron Donald vs Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

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Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; General view of Radio City Music Hall during the 2013 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft isn’t necessarily about making difficult decisions on the spot with the clock running.  Instead, these scenarios are played out well in advance.   With the Draft just over a week away, I thought we’d have a little fun and put ourselves in Phil Emery’s shoes.   I’ll propose some possible Chicago Bears draft scenarios that Emery could face and we’ll see what decision you’d make as you play GM.

In the first Draft Choice, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix narrowly beat out Calvin Pryor in the battle between top safeties.  The next decision is between DT Aaron Donald and FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.  Let’s look at the case for and against:

Dec 26, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) during the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ford Field. Pittsburgh Panthers defeated Bowling Green Falcons 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (6’1″, 285 lbs.)

Donald has been shooting up draft boards with a great season and strong showings during the Senior Bowl practice and the Combine.  He’s not the biggest defensive tackle, but he’s a disruptive force as a pass rusher up the middle.  If Lovie Smith were still here, this would be a no-brainer.  As it is, Phil Emery doesn’t sound convinced that Donald will make it all the way down to #14, but in case he does, we should be prepared.

The case to draft…

The Bears signed a bunch of defensive linemen this offseason, but when you consider that Jeremiah Ratliff had a major leg injury a couple of years ago and Nate Collins is coming off a torn ACL, you don’t know that you have a reliable 3-technique on your roster.  Stephen Paea has had foot injuries of his own to further complicate matters.

The Bears learned last season that you can’t have enough depth on the defensive interior.  They ranked so far into last place against the run that they might be demoted to the CFL.  An up-front presence will help keep them from getting running all over.

The case not to draft…

The Bears invested a lot in the defensive line, but haven’t done much of any significance at the safety position.  The dropoff at the safety position is believed to be a lot steeper after the first 2-3 prospects whereas you might be able to get a pretty solid DT in the second or third round.  If you pass on Donald, you might see someone like Jernigan or Ra’Shede Hageman slip into the 2nd round.  I remember a couple of years ago when people pegged the Bears to take Stephen Paea in the first round, but it turned out they were able to snag him in the second round.

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