Round One: Pick 11
Will: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Everything starts up front, and the Bears have been working on creating a formidable front seven throughout the offseason. I’m confident with our OLB group and feel like if the Bears can sure up the side of Eddie Goldman opposite of Aikem Hicks, they will have a fearful defensive front. Lawson would be an immediate upgrade that can start from day one and would be able to set the edge for both Willie Young and Lamarr Houston. He has a well-polished skill set and is able to use his hands effectively.
Nick: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
The Bears need a playmaker on defense, someone who has high energy, knows how to break on routes and causes turnovers, that player is Vernon Hargreaves lll. Hargreaves possess great athletic ability, has great feet and has natural instincts that are essential to play cornerback in the NFL. He would be a starter and play opposite of Kyle Fuller. This would move cornerback Tracy Porter to play the nickel, putting the Bears best athletes on the field at one time.
Brandon: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
There is hardly a clear cut top 10-15 players in the 2016 draft. Apple’s combination of quickness and height makes him attractive, and with only two set in stone corners, I think it makes total sense to draft the aggressive corner. He can contribute in the nickel from day one playing inside, or perhaps outside as the Bears could move in Tracy Porter.
Round Two: Pick 41
Will: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
We need to get back to the days of having a daunting cornerback duo like Tillman and Jennings / Tillman and Vasher etc. The Bears should draft a bigger corner. That will allow Porter to possibly slide in on nickel downs. Howard fits the bill (6-0″, 201 lbs) and is a turnover machine. He also adds good run support. Howard plays both big and physical with a ton of confidence. He’s the type of player the Bears need more of.
Nick: Jonathon Bullard, DE, Florida
Here, I have the Bears taking yet another Florida Gator. Jonathon Bullard is 6’3″, 285 lbs and knows how to cause havoc in the backfield. The former Gator would be another playmaker the Bears desperately need on their defense as the man is strong, gets through double-teams and can play inside or outside on the line.
Brandon: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
If the Bears go cornerback in the first round, they will go defensive end in the second or vice versa. Here, I have them picking Kevin Dodd who’s frame (6-5″, 275 lbs) is going to allow him to succeed as a defensive end in this 3-4 system. Dodd contains really well and takes that role seriously. He has a good football IQ and plays instinctively. Tough to tell where he falls in the Bears rotation, but in 2017 or 2018 for sure Kevin Dodd will be lined up as the starter at defensive end.
Round Three: Pick 72
Will: Karl Joseph, Safety, West Virginia
Antrel Rolle is not going to play forever, and he did not impress me much in 2015. Adding talent on the back-end of the secondary is a must in this draft. Joseph is one of the most physical players in the country, who loves violent contact, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. His attitude fits perfectly with Trevathan and McPhee. Joseph can play in the box or drop back into deep half, and can beat Rolle out for a starting spot.
Nick: Deion Jones, OLB, LSU
Here is a guy that will fill up the stat sheet. Jones had 100 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble in his senior season at LSU. The former Tiger was one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top linebacker. He doesn’t have the ideal size (6’1″, 222) to play as a 3-4 outside backer, however, Jones could possibly get some playing time on obvious passing downs when the Bears need to send in someone who has more speed instead of size. With a coach like Vic Fangio, he can develop the raw talent that Jones is, into an absolute monster.
Brandon: Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
This name may look familiar to you. Smith’s stock has considerably fell due to his knee injury. This is a good long term investment in the third round. The dude is an animal, plain and simple. A very talented player that had an unfortunate injury. However, he is in no hurry to get back and perform if the Bears draft him at Pick 72.
Round Four: Pick 106
Will: Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina
The Bears were denied Josh Hill from the Saints. That’s obviously a sign that Chicago is still in the market for a tight end. Adams is tall (6’6) and has outstanding length to go up and get the ball. He has soft hands, and what I like most about Adams is that his production rose each year in college. He’s a talent on the rise and the Bears would have the low-cost tight end that can be another target for Cutler.
Nick: Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State University
Haeg is a versatile tackle that has played both right tackle and left. Last season the Bears had injuries on the offensive line, so having a guy like Haeg who knows both right and left tackle, is a huge plus. Haeg is a two-time FCS National Champion and knows what it is like to be on top.
Brandon: Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
He was involved in a domestic violence case and was suspended two games because of it. That raises some red flags, but on the field, Carroo is a playmaker. He’s only 6 foot, but he said in an interview, “I’m going to play like I’m 6-5″.” The tape shows that he can do that, and it shows his 4.5 40 yard dash time. In 2016, he competes for the fourth spot on the depth chart. If he can stay out of trouble off the field, I think he proves to be a long-term asset for the Bears.
Round Four: Pick 127
Will: Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
Does anybody else miss Johnny Knox? Listenbee reminds me of the former speedster. The dude can fly, and was a four-time All-American for TCU in the 100-meter dash, but he’s not a track star, Listenbee is a football player. He has natural hands and the ability to win deep against man coverage. He can jump into the game and strike fear in opposing defenses as he run right by it and produce touchdowns. Cutler has a cannon and Listenbee could bring down those bombs. He’s the x-factor the Bears need.
Nick: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The question going into the draft wasn’t if the Bears will draft a quarterback, but when they will draft one? The Bears will find the future successor to Jay Cutler in Penn State quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. Hackenburg shows toughness, escapability and has an absolute cannon for an arm. He struggles with his accuracy, but can be due to the fact that he was sacked 103 times. It would be interesting to see how Hackenburg does with a stable offensive line and some time off learning behind Cutler.
Brandon: DeAndre Houston-Carson, Safety, William & Mary
Talk about the complete package deal. DeAndre Houston-Carson played cornerback, safety, and played special teams at William & Mary. He blocked 9 kicks in his time there, and that versatility he offers will earn him a starting spot somewhere on this Bears roster. Whether corner, safety or on special teams he will find a home quickly as all those can use his presence.
Round Five: Pick 150
Will: Caleb Benenoch, OT, UCLA
Benenoch is a solid run blocker who still needs some work with his pass pro, however, he has an athletic upside. He is an aggressive worker, and with no rush to start, could develop into a good right tackle one day as he possesses the determination.
Nick: Jayron Kearse, Safety, Clemson
A question mark remains at the strong safety position going into next season. Kearse could be a guy who can compete for a starting job. At 6’4″, 216 lbs he isn’t the prototypical size at safety, but he is bigger than most wide receivers. His size allows him to cover a lot of ground and Kearse is not afraid to come up and make tackles in the running game. Remember, the Bears drafted their starting free safety in the fifth round last year, in Adrian Amos and with some luck, could possibly draft their starting strong safety in this year’s draft.
Brandon: Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard
The diamond in the rough in the 2016 draft class. Braunecker showed off his athleticism at the combine as he earned the top performer in every individual workout category. He’s a tough guy that accepts the run blocking challenge. Braunecker could become the team’s second tight end behind Zach Miller, but with Miller’s injury history, Braunecker may need to step up sooner than later.
Round Six: Pick 185
Will: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
Chicago has met with eight quarterbacks in this draft including Hogan. With other more pressing needs, the Bears could hold off to find the guy if they so desire. Mike Mayock said Hogan is “probably the most intellectually ready of any of the quarterbacks.” He also possesses an athletic side as he rushed for 336 yards in 2015, and was the top quarterback in the 40-yard dash, verticle jump, and 3-cone drill. However, he needs to work on his mechanics and footwork. Good news – those can be fixed with coaching, and Hogan already embodies traits that cannot be coached with his wits and athleticism. He is the ideal developmental quarterback.
Nick: Henry Krieger Coble, TE, Iowa
The Bears don’t have much depth at tight end and with Martellus Bennett no longer on the team, the load has been put on Zach Miller. Miller has a history of injuries and with not much experience at the position behind Miller, the Bears need to draft a tight end. Coble isn’t going to wow anybody with his speed, his athletic ability or his size, but he will give maximum effort on every play. So regardless if he becomes a contributor on offense, Coble will be a valuable player on special teams.
Brandon: Jared Norris, ILB, Utah
He’s not a Danny Trevathan, but he’s not a Shea McClellin either. Norris is going to do the dirty work, like picking up the lead blocker, and he is going to leave everything he has on the field, which is the mentality that the Bears should be looking for in a player. I look for Noris to become a slightly above average inside linebacker in the future, but in 2016, he just adds depth to the position and will compete with Christian Jones, Jon Timu, and Jon Anderson for a backup role.
Round Six: Pick 206
Will: Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
Chicago needs to add some depth to the running back position behind Jeremy Langford and Ka’deem Carey. Perkins is a tough runner that has a nice combination of both size and speed. He also has sure hands and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Don’t forget Langford mightily struggled catching the football in 2015. Perkins has elite vision and can work between the tackles, but knows how to bounce it outside when necessary. He has a knack making defenders miss, even in tight quarters. Would be a great role player, and John Fox loves a committee in the backfield.
Nick: Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois
The Bears wide receivers had a hard time staying healthy last season, so drafting a receiver gives the team more depth and options if any receivers go down during the course of 2016. Allison could be a guy that could come in and compete for that fourth receiver spot.He has good size and with guys like Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White ahead of him, Allison can learn from them how to use his height to his advantage.
Brandon: Joe Dahl, OG, Washington State
Dahl was the winner of many accolades in 2015 including first-team all Pac12 and second-team All-American at tackle. However, his frame will cause him to move to guard in the NFL. Coaches and scouts love this man’s work ethic, and all that hard work he puts in now will pay off in the long run. With quite a few veterans already playing guard for the Bears, Dahl will not sniff starting time. Once those veterans move on, the left guard position is fair game for his taking.
Round Seven: Pick 230
Will: Josh Forrest, ILB, Kentucky
The Bears need more young depth at the linebacker position. Forrest is a tall athletic linebacker who was used all over the field at Kentucky. He was used as a gap shooter and can sneak through crevices to get to the backfield. He led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons, however, he can also drop back into coverage as he had two interceptions each year he played. Forrest needs to gain more strength if he wants to become an NFL player, however, Fangio could use him in certain situations with his blitzing prowess.
Nick: Aaron Green, RB, TCU
With Matt Forte no longer the workhorse for the Bears, the team now has to rely on their two young backs in Langford and Carey. Drafting a running back at some point in the draft would be smart for the Bears, with the lack of experience at the position. Green is a shifty back who usually needs more than one player to bring him down. Being a seventh round draft pick, hopefully, Green can contribute on special teams and continue to develop behind the guys who have a little more experience.
Brandon: Jake Coker, QB, Alabama
Some say he was a product of the talent around him at Alabama. While there is some truth to that, he did not throw an interception in the postseason championship run that Alabama put together. If he can continue to perform like that in the NFL then he is a quarterback I want on my team. With some mechanical work Jake Coker can really be an above average quarterback with some talented players around him. Coker throws a tight spiral, but he has a slow wind up and release. The Bears did not go the Super Bowl in 2006-2007 on the shoulders of their quarterback, the defense took them there. While fans and the media glorify the quarterback position, football is still a team game.