Chicago Bears Draft Needs – Defense

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It’s not quite draft season yet, but with the Bears playing better of late I can’t help thinking about the Bears near future. The 2015 draft may be considered a disappointment by some with first round pick Kevin White not playing at all, but the Bears have gotten significant contributions from almost every other draft pick so in all it should be viewed as a success. The Bears draft picks in rounds 2-5 (Godman, Grasu, Langford, Amos) have all started multiple games and have made positive contributions for the most part.

Despite the Bears big win over the Packers and somewhat surprising 5-6 record at this point, they still have a ton of needs on both sides of the ball. There are less needs than there were coming into the 2015 season, so I guess that is the best one can hope for in the first year of the Pace/Fox era. At this point last year the Bears had holes at almost every position on the field, but the new leadership has at least improved the secondary, defensive line, outside linebackers, and dare i say quarterback.

Those positions aren’t solidified enough that I would be surprised if the Bears used a top pick on any of them, but they aren’t as glaring of a need as they were at this time last year. It would have been impossible for any GM/HC combo to completely close the massive talent gap between the Bears and the top teams in the NFC, but the gap is smaller than it used to be and arguably by a significant margin. That alone is a win for the Bears new leadership.

I’ll break down the three biggest positions of need for the Bears on defense below with some potential draft targets at each position. The offensive positions of need were posted earlier this week.  My draft coverage will be starting in depth once the CFB bowl season starts, so this is just the beginning of extensive Bears draft coverage on BGO.

Bears Draft Needs – Defense

1.) Defensive End

On paper the Bears have one of the least intimidating DE groups in the league, but under the direction of DC Vic Fangio their players have got the job done better than anyone expected. The loss of Jeremiah Ratliff, who was by far the Bears most established defensive lineman, and injuries to Cornelius Washington, Ego Ferguson, and the surprisingly effective Will Sutton have forced the Bears into playing relative unknowns at the DE position.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that the Bears have been playing journeymen like Mitch Unrein, Bruce Gaston, and Ziggy Hood at defensive end, the Bears have been a more productive defense than almost everyone expected. Next year the injured players will be back which will give the Bears some depth, but they still lack a significant play-maker at the position.

With the 49ers DC Vic Fangio built his defense around DE Justin Smith. Players like that are hard to find, but I can’t help wondering how good Fangio’s defense would be this season with a stud DE who can stop both the run and the pass. Defensive line is one of the strongest positions in this year’s draft and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bears used their first pick on a defensive end to build around

Assuming that the Bears pick somewhere in the middle of the first round, here are three potential first-round targets:

1.) A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama – 1st Round

2.) Adolphus Washington, Ohio St – 1st Round

3.) DeForest Buckner, Oregon – 1st Round

Next: Inside Linebacker