Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles nose tackle Timmy Jernigan (8) celebrates late in the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers for the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Mock draft season is in full swing. How do I know? Because Mel Kiper has already released Mock Draft 2.0 (Insider protected). I’m going to leak a little nugget for you Bears fans dying to see what Kiper thinks the Bears will do when the draft rolls around in May:
"Timmy Jernigan *Chicago Bears (8-8)COLLEGE: Florida St.AGE: 21HT: 6-2WT: 298POS: DTAnalysis: Another pick I’m sticking with because of the hand-to-glove fit of talent and need. I’m a bigger fan of Jernigan in a 4-3 look, where he’s using his power to go through a blocker and not trying to beat people off the snap and use quickness. He’s not a blow-by rusher, but has the strength and quick feet to eat up a running play before it goes anywhere. The Bears were a mess on the inside of the D-line last season due to injuries."
Uncle Mel had a conference call (why doesn’t anyone ask me to do a conference call when I put together a mock draft???) to discuss his latest mock and was asked about which way the Bears, who need lots of help at all levels of their defense, should look first.
"“I don’t think the defensive line is something you can really wait on,” Kiper said. “There’s not a lot of depth at end or tackle. There is more depth in the secondary that you can get guys down the line, particularly at corner. There’s apt depth at wide receiver.“So if you look at the Bears’ needs, I would say get the defensive linemen early, wait on those other positions just a bit because the defensive line, both at end and tackle, is just not that deep.”"
I’ll take that advice into account next time I do a mock draft. I went with a cornerback in Round 1 in my latest mock. But it’s early. We’ve got a couple of months – and the Scouting Combine and the start of Free Agency – before we get some real clarity on where players will go.