LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 14: Calvin Pryor #25 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The NFL Draft will kick-off Thursday night at 7 p.m., and with that start time looming ever closer, Grizzly Detail is taking a look at the different positions that the Chicago Bears could address in the draft, and whether or not they need to make each spot a priority when things get underway at Radio City Music Hall.
There are three different positions that the Bears are likely to consider addressing with their first round pick, and one of the more intriguing ones is the safety slot.
There were several positions that the Bears dominated at in the 2013 season, but there were also a couple that were certified disasters. One of those positions that the Bears struggled in the most was the safety position, as both Major Wright and Chris Conte had moments of mind-boggling awfulness as they watched the Bears become arguably the worst defense in the NFL.
Wright is now gone, and even though Ryan Mundy was brought in this offseason to shore up the back end, there are still question marks as Conte tries to recover from shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be ready for the team’s first preseason game, but there’s no question that his starting job is on the line.
If GM Phil Emery doesn’t draft a safety at some point early in the NFL Draft, then he needs to have some serious questions asked of him. There are a few top-tier guys that the Bears may have the chance to draft in the first round, and both would bring some significant upside to the table.
For starters, there is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The Alabama product has been shooting up draft boards because of his speed and his vision on the field, and he would be a great fit in a Bears’ defense that was lacking in playmaking ability last year. Calvin Pryor is the other top-tier option at the position, with his ferocious hitting ability and his coverage skills proving to be valuable assets as NFL prognosticators determine where he’ll go in the draft.
If the Bears decide to go with a cornerback like Justin Gilbert or a defensive tackle like Aaron Donald, they very well could find safety help in the second round of the draft too. Deone Bucannon out of Washington State could be a great option at the strong safety position, and Terrence Brooks could be available to them at the free safety slot in the second round too.
If the Bears trade down in the first round (a possible scenario if a guy like Johnny Manziel starts falling down the board), then one guy they will have to take a look at is strong safety Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois. Some mocks have had the Bears taking him in the number 14 slot, but he’d still be available in the early to mid 20’s range if the Bears make a deal with Cleveland or Arizona.
Round to Address Position In: 1st or Later