Despite declarations of denial, the BEARS are clearly rebuilding their roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. That could be plainly seen when they used 6 of their 9 Draft picks on that side of the ball. Now the question becomes how much closer will those picks bring them to respectability in the tough NFC North.
ROUND 1 LEONARD FLOYD/ER/OLB/GEORGIA 6’6/244 4.62/40 33 1/8″A/10 3/4″H
Among the better known prospects at the Combine FLOYD was clearly the overall winner for my money. The former “thin man” showed up in Indy rocking a 244 lb. muscled body. And he still posted a 4.62/40 time. Having an exact position to play is not that important. JOHN FOX will move him around trying to confuse blocking assignments and allowing him to chase the football and the QB. He should clearly be a pocket collapser from wherever he lines up. You’ve seen what WILLIE YOUNG has done for DA BEARS D. Multiply that by 2 or 3 to calculate FLOYD’s impact. I for one have no problem with Chicago taking him in the Top 10 of this Draft.
Pick # 9 GBN Rank: 10 Ourlads Rank: 22 PP Rank: 24
Round 2 CODY WHITEHAIR/OG/KANSAS STATE 6’4/300 5.06/40 32 5/8″A/10 1/8″H
This four year starter for K-State is just what the doctor ordered for DA BEARS OL unit. He spent most of his college career at OT, but will slide inside as a pro and many expect him to start right away in place of the departed MATT SLAUSON. He’s a tough, strong kid whose Combine numbers fall a bit short of ideal as an OT. But when you slide him inside and look at his numbers again they are more than acceptable. He’s a tough guy, which blue collar BEARS fans should appreciate. IF for some reason he can;t win a starting job right away, look for him to backup every position on their OL.
Pick # 56 GBN Rank: 48 GBN Rank: 39 PP Rank: 42
Round 3 JONATHAN BULLARD/DL/FLORIDA 6’3/285 4.93/40 10″H/33 5/8″A
Another very good athlete whose best attribute is penetrating into opponents backfields. He’s not the ideal size for a 3-4 front, but like FLOYD he’s likely to be moved around quite a bit in their formations. He has good strength for his size and holds up in the run game. He is expert at using his hands to shed blockers and move to the ball. The value in today’s NFL of penetrating defenders ranks just behind that of edge rushers. FLOYD & BULLARD should combine to provide a serious upgrade to the BEARS D.
Pick # 72 GBN Rank: 39 Ourlads Rank: 26 PP Rank: 38
Round 4 NICK KWIATKOWSKI/ILB/WEST VIRGINIA 6’2/243 4.68/40 9 1/2″H/31 3/4″A
NICK is a solid athlete, and a more productive player than his numbers would indicate. But picking him this high indicates to me that someone really banged on the table in that War Room to add him to their mediocre LB group. He’s solid in run support, but must be protected from blockers. He’s quick enough, and savvy enough to help patrol the shallow middle of the field in pass coverage. His instincts in pass defense clearly exceed his athleticism. How else do you explain 3 INT and 7 PBU during the 2015 campaign?! He should be a key contributor on Special Teams coverage units. This is a bit rich for my taste, but he’ll certainly get a chance to shine in their D if he can produce.
Pick # 113 GBN Rank: 215 Ourlads Rank: 290 PP Rank: 209
Round 4 DEON BUSH/SS/MIAMI 6’0/199 4.59/40 9 1/4″H/30 7/8″A
A 2014 All-Conference performer he really tailed off in his senior season. Some of it was due to nicks and cuts, while overall team chaos certainly played a role in his decline. He was at the Shrine venue in January and had his moments, but did not excel on a regular basis. If they can press the right buttons he may validate this selection easily. On the other hand he could slip right off the roster as a Rookie.
Pick # 124 GBN Rank: 180 Ourlads Rank: 254 PP Rank: 256
Round 4 DEIONDRE’ HALL/DB/NORTHERN IOWA 6’2/199 4.55/40 9 3/4″H/34 3/4″A
THis guy interests me more than BUSH. Coming out of small school power Northern Iowa his only downside may have been his pedestrian 40 time at the Combine. His length, especially his vine-like arms intrigue much of the scouting community. I look for him to get his first shot on the Corner, with S as a fallback spot. He may contribute mainly on Special Teams as a Rookie.But his overall play in college would tend to indicate he can help an NFL secondary unit.
Pick # 127 GBN Rank: 346+ NR Ourlads Rank: 106 PP Rank: 184
Round 5 JORDAN HOWARD/RB/INDIANA 6’0/230 4.60/40 9″H/32 1/4″A
The name of his game is power running between the tackles. If he can burst through a hole he will get you 10-20 yards though. He has paid the price for his upright, battering style of running with dings and nicks which cost him a few games injured. But he rushed for over 1000-yards both at Tulane in 2014, and last season at IU. Not super effective at the goal line because he’s such a big target for defenders. Has good body lean to get that extra half-yard and a first down. Needs work as a blocker and as a receiver for the pro game. The BEARS have a lot of smaller, scat backs on their roster so he has a chance to be their big back, especially if he can find a niche or two on Special Teams. Good value pick here for them.
Pick # 150 GBN Rank: 77 Ourlads Rank: 95 PP Rank: 125
Round 6 DEANDRE HOUSTON-CARSON/S/WILLIAM & MARY 6’1/201 4.53/40 30 1/8″A/9 1/8″H
Small school guy who I thought would be drafted higher based on nice size, overall athleticism and versatility. Expect him to star on Special Teams for a while. Was thought to have CB ability, but did not show the speed or quickness for that at the Combine or Senior Bowl. I consider this to be a very high value selection this late. He was in my Top 100 as a prospect after watching him at the Senior Bowl.
Pick # 185 GBN Rank: 148 Ourlads Rank: 156 PP Rank: 87
Round 7 DANIEL BRAVERMAN/WR/WESTERN MICHIGAN 5’10/175 4.52/40 9 1/8″H/28 3/4″A
Many of his measurables cry out as a good collegian who may struggle to win a job as a pro. But 109 catches in 2105 gets your attention at any level of play. Most people immediately think of guys like EDELMAN & WELKER, when watching BRAVERMAN, but his game has a several flaws. Perhaps the biggest issue is the fact that he never emerged as a return man in college, indicating a lack of real quickness. I think the BEARS are just hoping he might surprise overall like a guy named SANZENBACHER did a few years back for them. He runs tight patterns and finds places in zones to sit down in for his QB. Worth a try this late.
Pick # 230 GBN Rank: 346+ NR Ourlads Rank: 287 PP Rank: 299
It appears to me that DA BEARS hit the jackpot in the first 3 Rounds, with great value at positions of need for their roster. Starting in Round 4 the picks got a bit more questionable, but given some serious holes in their overall roster even some of those guys could represent upgrades overall. A solid Draft effort overall.