BR Bears 1st-Round Big Board 3.0

In the third installment of our BR Big Board, in which we rank the Top 10 players for the Bears at 7th overall, an offensive player has climbed to the top of the list. View the Big Board below.

Immediately following the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, we updated our Bear Report Big Board to reflect the workouts in Indianapolis.

Since then, the Chicago Bears roster has undergone significant changes. In particular, the departure of Brandon Marshall has shifted the team’s list of priorities.

In addition, the acquisition of OLB Pernell McPhee mitigates the dire need for an edge rusher in this year’s draft.

Here is our Big Board from Feb. 27:

1. Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
2. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
3. Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida
4. Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
5. Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri
6. Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
7. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
8. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
9. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
10. Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)

Beasley has sat atop our Big Board since Feb. 3 but this week he has been surpassed by the biggest playmaker in this year’s class:

1. WR Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (6-3, 215)

After careful consideration and film review, along with the team’s shift in priorities, White jumps six spots to the top of our list.

He has ideal size and speed – he had a 4.35 40-yard dash at the combine, third fastest among receivers – to go along with elite-level playmaking ability down the field. He finished third in the nation in receptions (109) and sixth in receiving yards (1,447) as a senior.

White is the full package and has the skill set to immediately replace Marshall opposite Alshon Jeffery in Adam Gase’s offense, which is why he’s now Chicago’s top target in the first round.

2. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington (6-2, 339)

Shelton retains his runner-up position, as he’s still an ideal anchor for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense. He eats space like Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs, yet has the quickness to be disruptive on passing downs. Very few 340-pound interior defenders compile 9.0 sacks in a season, as Shelton did as a senior.

3. Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson (6-3, 246)

Beasley is an athletic freak who has the fastest first step of any pass rusher in this draft. If he falls to the Bears at 7th overall – which many believe is unlikely after his amazing combine performance – there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a player who has the potential to be a dominant edge rusher at the next level.

Yet the Bears are flush with outside linebackers right now, making it tough to prioritize the position in the first round. Beasley is a stud and definitely worth Chicago’s pick in the first round but he drops to third on this list due to the glut of OLBs already on the roster.

4. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (6-0, 186)

The Bears are dangerously thin at cornerback, which is why Waynes moves up five spots on our Big Board. He’s the top lockdown corner in this year’s class, one with good size and blazing speed (4.31 40-yard dash).

Waynes has the potential to replace Charles Tillman and would provide stability at a shaky position with no depth. He might be at the top of the list in a few weeks.

5. Alvin Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky (6-4, 269)

Since obliterating the combine, Dupree has become a legitimate Top-10 candidate. In addition to his elite athleticism, he’s bigger than the other top edge rushers in this class, which could give him value at both 5-technique and outside linebacker in Chicago.

And when you consider the Bears will be using sub package 60 percent of the time, according to GM Ryan Pace, Dupree will have plenty of opportunities to rush with his hand in the dirt.

6. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (6-1, 211)

Cooper appeared at No. 7 on our list in early February but dropped off the Big Board following the combine. Yet he re-emerges at No. 6 in this edition due to the increased need for a playmaker at wide receiver.

Cooper is arguably the most polished pass catcher in this class and has good size, speed (4.41) and quickness (6.71 three-cone drill, 3.98 short shuttle). He’s on the same level as White, a player who could start in Chicago’s offense from Day 1 and provide an immediate impact, although he doesn’t have White’s upside.

7. Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida (6-3, 261)

Fowler drops four spots on this list because, on film, he wasn’t a finisher in college. He’s a high-level athlete but his numbers at the combine were average nearly across the board. He also struggles mightily to shed blocks and has no real position.

Fowler is attractive due to his positional versatility and upside but he carries far more risk than the six players ahead of him.

8. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa (6-3, 319)

Scherff stays put at No. 8 on our list because he’s a plug-and-play NFL right tackle. His ability to maul in the run game would be a huge boost for Chicago’s rushing attack. If the Bears are going to take the ball out of Jay Cutler’s hands and lean on the run game, finding a road-grading right tackle is a priority.

9. Shane Ray, OLB/DE, Missouri (6-3, 245)

Ray is behind only Beasley in first-step quickness. He’s a little stiff and could struggle in coverage but as a pure pass rusher, Ray has a ton of potential. The Bears are loaded at the position but Ray’s upside keeps him on our list.

10. La’el Collins, OT, LSU (6-4, 305)

Collins makes his first appearance on our Big Board, leapfrogging both Andrus Peat and Ereck Flowers, offensive tackles who each held one-week slots at the back end of our list.

Collins emerges due to his brawling, bruising style of play. He would bring attitude and a needed boost in the run game. He’s also versatile and can play either right tackle or guard at the next level.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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