I was almost 100% sure that the Bears were going to win on Sunday to drop their draft slot from 7 to 12, but they managed to be a little more inept than the Vikings and lose one of the most boring games in NFL history 13-6. So the Bears are looking at the 7th overall pick in a fairly deep draft.
The Bears have holes everywhere on both sides of the ball. I will be breaking down the 2015 depth chart at each position over the next few weeks to get a clearer look at where the Bears need help, but it’s safe to say that any position could be in play. When picking in the top 10 it makes more sense to take the best player available anyway and deal with filling out the depth chart later in the draft.
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It’s officially mock draft season and I have gone over quite a few of them to get a consensus on who might be available with the 7th pick and broke down my favorite options below. Keep in mind that a lot will change between now and April, at this time last year Aaron Donald was projected as a mid-to-late 2nd round pick.
By the time the draft rolls around these guys might have dropped out of the 1st round all together or may be a lock for the top 5, it’s too early to tell but never too early to start thinking about who the Bears might draft next year. The sooner I stop thinking about 2014 the better. Here are some players I think the Bears could target with the 7th overall pick:
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
SS Landon Collins, Alabama JR
Attributes – 6’0 | 222 | 4.53
Scouting report – Physical safety who excels as an in-the-box run stopper and is a big time hitter against both the run and receivers over the middle. Collins closes on ball carriers like a missile and will improve the run defense from day 1 wherever he ends up. He has text-book tackling form and usually takes the proper angle to the ball, so he’s basically the opposite of the Bears current safeties.
His coverage skills were considered somewhat of a weakness before this season, but Collins improved significantly this year and even played some snaps as a 1-deep free safety for the Tide. Collins should have no problem matching up with TEs and RBs out of the backfield, but probably isn’t quick enough to cover slot WRs in man. He’s solid in zone coverage as long as the play is in front of him, but has a tendency to let receivers get behind him which has led to him getting burned deep a few times (Auburn, Ole Miss) this year. Besides that there isn’t much not to like.
Most scouts have Collins graded higher than both C.J. Mosley and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were coming out of Alabama and they both had solid rookie seasons. Collins is a ball hawk with a knack for forcing turnovers (5 INT, 3 FF) and has been Bama’s best coverage guy on special teams the last three years. He should be an impact player as a rookie and is worth a top ten selection.
NFL comparison: T.J. Ward
Bears angle – The Bears have needed help at safety the last two seasons, but for some reason former GM Phil Emery never made it a priority. After 2 consecutive awful years from Chris Conte and a disappointing season from free agent Ryan Mundy, the Bears can’t wait any longer to address the safety position. The Bears will have to act fast in the draft because it’s a weak safety class. Collins would be a good pairing with rookie Brock Vereen who is decent in coverage but weak against the run. Vereen could be shifted to free safety and handle the deep half of the field while Collins plays in the box. It makes so much sense that the Bears almost certainly won’t do it.