1 (14)- Kyle Fuller, CB/FS, Virginia Tech. The Bears have shown a ton of interest. Visit, pro day, private workout. While I think ideally the Bears get Fuller with a trade down, they won't be able to trade down too far to get him. And in that case, might as well take him at 14 to be assured he's wearing navy and orange. Fuller is the most technically sound CB in this draft (apologies to Jason Verrett). But he's also a jack of all trades. And if there's one thing that GM Phil Emery likes, it's versatility. Last year's 1st round pick, Kyle Long, was a potential starter at OG or OT. The year before, McClellin was a potential DE/LB and was supposed to be scheme versatile. Fuller has played field corner and the vaunted boundary CB that all the best VA Tech CBs play. He has experience in the slot. Has played back some safety. And against option heavy teams like Georgia Tech, he played a pseudo LB position. Not only that, but you can't be a stud in VTs defensive backfield without being a standout special teamer. Fuller's been a jammer on punt returns, a gunner on punt coverage, and he's returned the occasional punt. Fuller takes over the nickel immediately, and competes to start at FS.
2 (51)- Dominique Easley, DT, Florida. So far, after 2 drafts, Emery has followed up his versatile first round pick with a talented athlete from the SEC. This year, he goes back to Florida and takes Easley. While the Bears could use a big body inside to help the league's worst run defense, they are still a defense predicated on getting up the field pressure from the 3-technique. No college player in the country got off the ball inside faster than a healthy Easley early in the year. Easley is a top 15 talent that falls this far because he is recovering from his 2nd ACL injury. While he is an injury risk, especially for a team that lost 2 3-techs to ACLs last year, Easley reportedly looked healthy and quick at his pro day, which the Bears DL coach, Paul Pasqualoni, in attendance. Easley also has the versatility to play outside as he did rush off the edge and from a 5-technique as a Gator at various times.
*Watch for the trade up here. If a player the Bears really love is around the mid 40s (thinking Rams pick at 44 is a prime target) I could see a trade up. Targets would be Bucannon at S, or DTs Hageman or Nix.
3 (82)- Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota. The Bears have Chris Long's brother, Jake Long's brother, Carson Palmer's brother, and Michael Bennett's brother. This mock has them drafting the 3rd Fuller brother in the 1st (oh and there is still 1 more at Va Tech). Now they add Shane Vereen's little brother. Brock is kind of a late bloomer. Was a late pick until his combine and pro day performances where he ran a 4.45 and showed tremendous ability in drills. Another versatile player, who has been both a FS and a CB in college. Also a guy that should be able to be a core special teamer. Sleeper pick that could prove to be a steal.
4 (117)- Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton. While Reid doesn't have the great size many want on the interior of the Bears defense, he's very stout at the point of attack and can really rush the passer. He played mostly the NT position at Princeton where he consistently beat double and held his own against triple teams from what I saw. At the Senior Bowl, Reid showed that he can play with the big boys as he quietly had one of the best performances of the day with 2 sacks from the nose tackle position. In the mold of current Bears NT, Stephen Paea, Reid is stocky, strong, and quicker than many think off the ball. Bears are rumored to have a strong interest.
5 (156)- James White, RB, Wisconsin. While White wouldn't necessarily be my ideal choice as a backup RB to Matt Forte, he's definitely on the list. That list is the group of RBs who could be available at either pick between the 4th and 5th rounds for the Bears that would make fine backups. Among those are Storm Johnson-UCF, Charles Sims-WVU, Jerick McKinnon- GA Southern, Isaiah Crowell, KaDeem Carey, Raijon Neal. White appears to be one of the better pass blockers of this group, as he very willingly threw his body around as a Badger. He is smaller than ideal, but has good quickness, vision, and fits in the 1-cut style that Forte has had so much success with. White gets the nod over the other backs because he fits the scheme, pass blocks well, and had a visit to Halas Hall. McKinnon also had a visit but the Bears worked him out as a CB.
6 (183)- Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky. This is a pretty weak LB class, but the Bears need to add more depth at the position, especially inside. DJ Williams hasn't played a full season in 3 years. Jon Bostic failed on the interior last year. And Shea McClellin certainly doesn't seem like any kind of realistic answer. Not that the Bears are going to get an answer at this point in the draft, but they could find a diamond in the rough. Jackson is a straight thumper. He hits anything that moves toward him, with or without the ball. He's big at almost 260, but has questionable speed, and may be just a 2-down LB. But as bad as the Bears run D was last year, they could use a player like him. Jackson is a very experienced starter, albeit against lower level competition. The Bears attended the WKU Hilltoppers pro day, and supposedly focused on OLB, Xavius Boyd, so Boyd could be a realistic pick here also. Other potential late LBs here could be Yawin Smallwood-UConn (coached by Pasqualoni), Preston Brown (coached and recruited by Bears' coach Clint Hurtt at Louisville), or Avery Williamson of Kentucky who has sleeper written all over him.
6 (191)- Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon. OK, I had to do it. This pick makes a lot of sense though. The Bears bring back all 11 starters and most of the key reserves on offense, but they should continue to add dynamic playmakers to continue the explosiveness we saw for the first time in our lives as Bears fans last year. Lyerla is an easy top 50 talent, but has some huge issues. First, he quit the team at Oregon this past year to get ready of the NFL draft. Secondly, shortly after quitting he was busted for cocaine. But there are a couple things working in his favor. Marquess Wilson similarly quit his team last year and was drafted with the Bears' last pick last year. Wilson stayed clean his entire rookie year, keep his head in the playbook and looks to have a leg up on taking over the #3 WR role in his sophomore year. The Bears first draft pick last year, Kyle Long, is also a former Oregon player who had some substance abuse issues and off field concerns, but he has become a model citizen and leader in the Bears lockeroom. Most notably, Long tweeted this offseason that if the Bears get Lyerla he would personally take him under his wing, as he did in Oregon, and would make sure the Bears got the most out of his immense talent. As for Lyerla the player, he's a prototype move TE. Play him off the line, in the slot, send him in motion and create mismatches with him on slower LBs and smaller safeties. Also intriguing is that he played in the backfield some for the Ducks and can protect the QB in the shotgun and was even used as a short yardage back at Oregon at times.