For the Chicago Bears, they’ll have five picks in the upcoming draft. They currently sit with the 20th pick in the first round, followed by the 50th (second), No. 117 (fourth), No. 153 (fifth) and No. 188 (sixth).
At the top of their needs list is a linebacker. This comes after the team got rid of linebackers Nick Roach and the face of the team, Brian Urlacher.
For weeks, Notre Dame’s linebacker Manti Te’o has been in the conversation as a potential Bears’ pick. This possibility has not thrilled Bears fans thanks to the negative press surrounding Te’o’s faux girlfriend and his play in the BCS National Championship against Alabama.
He recently visited the Bears–one of many teams–and ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper has him as the Bears’ first pick.
But will he pan out? Last season he led all linebackers nationally with his seven interceptions and as a Domer, he is No. 3 for all-time tackles. After a disappointing NFL Scouting Combine outing (a 4.82 40 time, tipping the scales at 241 pounds), Te’o appeared to redeem himself at Notre Dame’s Pro Day with an unofficial 4.69 40 time.
Another rookie in the conversation is Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. The converted safety comes with some wheels (a 4.68 40 time) and versatility. Many believe there’s some room for improvement; he’s als dealt with some off-the-field problems.
Ogletree has been viewed as a top 10 pick.
Adding to the mix is Missouri outside linebacker Zaviar Gooden, who is scheduled for a Monday visit with the team.
In free agency, the Bears attempted to address their linebacker need by signing former Denver Broncos’ troublesome D.J. Williams and former Carolina Panther James Anderson but they don’t appear to be long-term solutions.
The Bears also have their eye on a tight end. Should either Te’o or Ogletree be gone at the time of their pick, they could go for Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert who sits at top of his class. He is a natural receiver, athletic and underrated as a blocker, according to Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com.
Last year the Bears drafted tight end Evan Rodriguez from Temple. He was a bust, finishing his rookie season with four receptions for 21 yards. While the new coaching staff supposedly likes him, according to ESPN, he recently had some off-the-field problems.
In free agency, the Bears picked up former New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, who is the likely 2013 starter.
Other Position Needs
The Bears recently added New York Jets guard Matt Slausen but the team still lacks some depth here. It reportedly held a private workout recently with Valdosta State’s right guard Edmund Kugbila. He is projected to go in either the fourth or fifth round.
With a new offensive-minded coach at the helm, the emphasis will shift even more to quarterback Jay Cutler and his weapons.
While the team has wide receivers Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall with Devin Hester going back as a return specialist, picking a receiver isn’t the worst idea. One name that has made the list is Oklahoma’s Kenny Stills.
With the exit of backup quarterback Jason Campbell, picking up a quarterback is another possibility considering backup Josh McCown is the only experienced player in the team’s current stable.
NFL.com also cites needs for a cornerback and the defensive line.