Chicago Bears NFL Draft Needs: Linebacker

McClellin remains the wild card as Emery decides what to do at the position

The NFL Draft will kick-off Thursday night at 7pm, 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.

One of the more interesting questions heading into the draft is whether the Bears will spend a pick at the linebacker position, and that’s the position we’ll tackle here.

The Situation:

The Bears have been trying to address questions at the linebacker position ever since Brian Urlacher retired, and they’ve tried both free agency and the NFL Draft for help. DJ Williams and James Anderson were brought in last year to play alongside Lance Briggs, and the team drafted Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene as well.

Unfortunately for the Bears, things didn’t really work out as planned. Bostic and Greene had a tough time adjusting to the team’s scheme, and both Williams and Briggs suffered injuries that kept them out for big chunks of the season. The team’s pass coverage and run defense both suffered as a result of the constantly shuffling deck of cards, and Mel Tucker’s squad really left fans and pundits unimpressed.

Urgency: 7/10

Even with those injuries, the Bears still do need to have some patience with their youngsters. Bostic has all the tools to be an effective linebacker in the league, and even though he had some growing pains last year, he should be a lot better off with another year under his belt. Greene is a bit more of a question mark, but it’s too early to write him off.

The wild card in all of this is Shea McClellin. He has slimmed down as he moves from defensive end to the linebacker spot, and he very well may end up starting in Week 1 for the Bears if he can prove himself effective enough at the position. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but the Bears could very well give themselves some depth at the position just in case the experiment fails.

It seems unlikely that the Bears will go linebacker in the first round with glaring needs at three other defensive positions (safety, cornerback, defensive tackle), but if they do, they’ll have an option or two available. Anthony Barr out of UCLA could still be available (although we had him going 11th in our mock draft to the Tennessee Titans), as could C.J. Mosley, an inside linebacker out of Alabama. More likely, the Bears will take a linebacker a bit later in the draft, and players like Telvin Smith and Jordan Zumwalt could be on the team’s radar.

Round to Address Position: 2nd Round and Later

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