Round 3: No. 75
Florida S Major Wright (6-0, 206)
Desperately needing a pure free safety to play center field in the middle of their Cover 2, the Bears fill the biggest hole on what used to be one of the dominant defenses in this league. General manager Jerry Angelo
has stockpiled a bunch of young safeties in recent drafts – Danieal Manning
, Kevin Payne
, Craig Steltz
and Al Afalava
all came to Chicago from 2006-09 – but is yet to find anyone capable of being what Mike Brown
used to be in his prime. Not only is Wright a playmaker in the secondary, but he can also come up in run support and lay the wood to enemy ball carriers.
Round 4: No. 109
USC CB Kevin Thomas (6-0, 192)
Sticking in the secondary, Angelo takes a corner because you can never have too many defensive backs in today's pass-happy NFL. Zack Bowman
led the Bears in 2009 with six interceptions as a first-year starter, but Charles Tillman
keeps getting beaten up season after season because of his physical style of play. With former Pro Bowler Nathan Vasher
recently released and free agent signee Tim Jennings
only expected to compete at nickel back, Thomas could very well be the No. 3 corner as a rookie because he had an excellent Pro Day and appears to be on the rise.
Round 5: No. 141
Arizona State G Shawn Lauvao (6-3, 315)
If the rumors turn out to be true and Chicago is going to kick Frank Omiyale
out to right tackle, then a Day-1 starter may be needed at left guard because the coaching staff has apparently soured on Josh Beekman
. Omiyale struggled immensely his first season starting at guard after being just a reserve tackle throughout his career, so he may prove to be a better option at right tackle than incumbent Kevin Shaffer
. Lauvao showed some durability by starting his last 33 games at the collegiate level, and his upper-body strength makes him a good fit for a man-on-man blocking scheme.
Round 6: No. 181
Virginia DT Nate Collins (6-2, 279)
If Israel Idonije
is now in the mix to start at defensive end after playing well in 2009 as a backup defensive tackle, that means the Bears are putting an awful lot of faith in Tommie Harris
to be on the field more than 55-60 percent of the snaps. The three-technique tackle is the most important position in Chicago's version of the Cover 2, and right now the only player behind Harris at that critical spot is second-year pro Jarron Gilbert
. Already scheduled Thursday for a pre-draft visit to Halas Hall, Collins was a late bloomer with the Cavaliers and may have his best football still in front of him.
Round 7: No. 218
Cincinnati OT Jeff Linkenbach (6-7, 311)
Angelo has taken lots of late-round flyers on offensive linemen over the years, and while he is yet to find a true diamond in the rough, 2009 seventh rounder Lance Louis
did make the 53-man roster and may have a future in this league. Even if Omiyale gets moved to right tackle and Shaffer goes back to his role as a swing option off the bench, the Bears could use some young bookend talent since Louis is probably best suited to play guard and James Marten
is a journeyman at best. Offensive line coach Mike Tice
has already put Linkenbach through a private workout, so the familiarity is there.
Note: These selections are based on team needs, draft value and, in some cases, which prospects the Bears have shown the most interest in thus far.
Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.