The NFL Draft begins this Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. The Chicago Bears have the following seven picks in the upcoming draft:
Round 1 - 19th pick within the round / 19 overall
Round 2 -18 / 50 overall
Round 3 - 17 / 79 overall
Round 4 - 16 / 111 overall
Round 5 - 15 / 150 overall
Round 6 - 14 / 484 overall
Round 7 - 13 / 220 overall
In our first mock, we had the Bears addressing the defensive line with the first two picks. In our second mock, we take a different, yet equally realistic, approach. Here's Bear Report's second round of projections for Chicago's seven 2012 draft selections.
DE Whitney Mercilus
DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (6-4, 261)
The Bears worked out Mercilus individually in Champaign, brought him to Halas Hall for a visit and showed up at his pro day. Smith had lunch with Mercilus that afternoon. There is obviously a ton of interest in Mercilus as a pure pass rushing defensive end. He struggles mightily against the run but he led the nation in sacks last season (16) and should be able to contribute on passing downs right away, rotating with Israel Idonije. Mercilus has double-digit sack potential.
WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois (6-0, 190)
Jenkins has soared up draft boards since running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. As such, if the Bears want him, they'll need to take him in the second. He was a productive two-year starter for the Fighting Illini, catching 90 passes for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season. He has the speed to blow the top off defenses, the explosiveness to create separation from defenders and good hands. He lacks strength and will struggle against press coverage in the pros. Yet Jenkins has the size and speed the Bears are looking for in Johnny Knox's replacement.
OT Jeff Allen, Illinois (6-4, 307)
Allen is a four-year starter with the potential to play either tackle or guard at the next level. He's technically sound and understands the value of hand placement and leverage. In pass protection, he does well mirroring defenders and rarely gives up sacks. His flexibility along the offensive line will make him very attractive to Chicago, a team with multiple needs along the front five. Allen is a bit of a slow mover and doesn't possess ideal athleticism but his experience and versatility makes him a good value pick in the third.
**Editor's note: I did not purposefully pick all Illinois players in the first three rounds. In fact, I didn't realize I had done it until after the entire mock was finished.**
LB Keenan Robinson, Texas (6-3, 242)
Robinson is an experienced player that was a three-year starter at inside linebacker for the Longhorns. He has the speed to track down ball carriers from sideline to sideline. He shows good recognition skills and leadership. Athletically, he's quick enough and strong enough to play any of the linebacker positions in Chicago's 4-3. Long-term, Robinson has the skill set to replace Brian Urlacher at ILB a few years down the line. Bears head coach Lovie Smith and linebackers coach Bob Babich worked out Robinson at his pro day.
DT Brett Roy
DE Brett Roy, Nevada (6-3, 275)
Roy is an undersized defensive tackle with the quickness to play 3-technique in Chicago's 4-3 scheme. He explodes off the ball and has active hands that allow him to get pressure in the quarterback's face. He has experience at both end and tackle, giving the Bears added flexibility. He'll struggle against the run but Roy's ability to penetrate gaps will give him value as a mid-round selection.
CB Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson (5-11, 189)
Sensabaugh is a fast, athletic player. He ran a 4.42 at the combine. He has very good man-to-man skills and works well in press coverage. He's a solid tackler who looks like he would fit well in a Cover 2 scheme like Chicago's. His game has been compared favorably to that of Tim Jennings. Under good coaching, Sensabaugh could turn into a producer down the line, likely at nickelback. Additionally, he has value on special teams, having played both gunner and jammer in college. If he falls to the sixth, he'll make an outstanding selection.
SS Matt Daniels, Duke (6-0, 212)
Daniels is an experienced prospect, playing in 46 games during his collegiate career. He's at his best as a strong safety in the box, where he can utilize his tackling prowess. He led all ACC defensive backs in tackles per game last year (10.5). He's athletic and showed very good speed at his pro day (4.47). His combination of size and speed, to go along with his tackling ability, could make Daniels a standout special teams player in the pros.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.