The Bears are already a great team, there were points in the season where I thought they could win it all. Unlike many teams, they have the luxury of not having too many needs. Their biggest needs are blockers, the Offensive line needs to protect their backfield in the biggest way. Also, some youth at ILB could do this team a solid. Below is the Chicago Bears’ NFL Draft Wishlist.
Round 1 – Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC – This guy is the truth, if around for Chicago at pick #20, the Bears couldn’t pass this up. He also can be well worth a trade up for the Bears being that they don’t have many other gaping needs at their other positions and Cooper’s rapidly rising stock. It’s a rare year where there are a bunch of great guards in the draft. Jonathan Cooper has pro bowl potential and would help the Bears interior O Line immediately.
Round 2 – Manti Teo, ILB, Notre Dame – Manti Teo has a decent natural skill set but is either over-hyped or under estimated depending on who you may ask. That’s what happens to players who are drowned in media attention to the point where it’s impossible to not have some bias either towards or against them. Manti does bring that extra charisma and positivity (reminiscent of Tim Tebow) and led all linebackers with 7 INTs his senior year. This shows that he does have some potential as a coverage linebacker in the NFL. The reason he falls so far into round 2 (on top of his disappointing combine) is that he doesn’t even rank in the top 100 in other important stat categories such as solo tackles, sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles (Fun Fact: Heisman winning QUARTERBACK Johnny Manziel had more forced fumbles in 2012 than Manti Teo). Manti won’t be a dominant, 1st round caliber linebacker his rookie year but would be a strong project player that can be great in a season or two under the right hands. Briggs and Urlacher would be the perfect mentors until one of the two is ready for retirement. Also, it helps that Chicago down the road from South Bend and is full of Notre Dame fans and alumni who would love to buy tickets to see Manti play at Soldier Field.
Later Round Sleeper – Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas – The Bears could really use a receiving Tight End. Chris Gragg ran the fastest 40 of all the tight ends at the combine, and can give Cutler another play-making target on top of helping block for him. Definitely worth a mid-late round pick for development as the Bears continue to look for a play-making tight end.