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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.) Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St (6’0, 194): Gilbert’s combine numbers weren’t a surprise (4.37 40-time, 20 bench reps) as he was thought to be the best athlete in the corner draft class. He has all the tools to be a shut-down corner in the NFL and the ball skills to create plenty of turnovers. Gilbert could stand to be more aggressive and care more about stopping the run, but he has shown flashes of both. Gilbert has elite potential as a corner and will also be a weapon as a kick/punt returner. Draft projection: 1st round
2.) Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St (5’11, 188): Dennard answered any questions about his straight-line speed at the combine with a 4.55 40-time. He will have an adjustment period as he figures out how much of his physical coverage tactics will be allowed at the NFL level, but his instincts, solid technique and toughness should earn him a starting job before the end of his first season. Draft projection: 1st round
3.) Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6’0, 194): Fuller is a technician at corner and excels against short to intermediate routes. He lacks deep speed, so he can be taken advantage of with the long ball, but the rest of Fuller’s game is solid including his run support. Fuller should be ready to step in and contribute right away. Draft projection: 1st round
4.) Jason Verrett, TCU (5’10, 176): If he were two inches taller, Verrett would be a lock for the top 15 pick. He might have the best man coverage skills in the draft and is good against the run despite his small frame. Verrett had trouble staying healthy in college so there are some concerns about how his small frame will hold up in the NFL. Despite concerns about his durability and size, he has too much talent to slip out of the first round. Draft projection: 1st round
5.) Bradley Roby, Ohio St (5’11, 194): He has prototypical physical traits for the position, has shown a willingness to hit in the run game, and just needs some coaching on his technique. Roby was destroyed by Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis in their match-up last year and it really exposed Roby’s poor technique. All his issues are fixable though and he could develop into a pro bowl caliber CB with the right situation and coaching. Draft projection: 1st-2nd round