Bears' 2014 draft provides plethora of promise

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, May 11, 2014.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka
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    Bears' 2014 draft provides plethora of promise
    Defensive additions go long way toward putting them much closer to rivals for playoff spots in NFC
    May 10, 2014|David Haugh | In the Wake of the News

    Kyle Fuller greets Roger Goodell at the 2014 NFL Draft. (Elsa / Getty Images)
    With their eight selections in the 2014 NFL draft, the Chicago Bears chose NFC playoff legitimacy.
    They began the entertaining[​IMG], exhaustive three-day process with holes free-agency didn't fill and ended it with a roster complete enough to challenge the Packers in the NFC North.
    They addressed glaring weaknesses on the defensive line and secondary as well as found a backup running back cheaper than overpaid veterans Michael Bush, Marion Barber and Chester Taylor ever were. They balanced drafting the best available player with the team's biggest needs before getting cute in the sixth round when general manager Phil Emery prioritized a quarterback unlikely to contribute, and a punter, over more obvious necessities.

    They created a sense of credibility on defense by infusing promising draft picks with veteran free[​IMG] agents, all geared toward rebuilding one side of the ball the way Emery did for the offense last offseason.
    It all started with solid first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller — the likely 12th starter as a nickel back who plays[​IMG] a majority of the snaps in today's pass-happy NFL. Those wondering why the Bears would draft a cornerback with two Pro Bowl starters at the position neglect league trends and forget how the Bears waited too long to use high picks on young linebackers in Brian Urlacher's final seasons. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Fuller looks like a cross between mentor Charles Tillman and former Bears and current Bills cornerback Corey Graham.
    Emery gambled in the second round with the surprising selection of 315-pound LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson — a massive Ego indeed — who brings more doubts about motivation than a player picked 51st overall should. But taking Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton in the third round potentially lessened the risk if the fellow D-tackles push each other to bring out their best. Based on conversations with several college and NFL sources, expect Sutton to be more NFL-ready than Ferguson on Week 1.
    While not the 2014 equivalent of Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson, the rookie defensive tackle tandem represents the key to making this draft a success for Emery. If they combine to solidify a rotation that needed to get younger to stop the run, then it will make the linebackers and secondary better too.
    Those clamoring for a safety got their wish when Emery traded up to the middle of the fourth round to select Brock Vereen out of Minnesota at No. 131. Vereen, a player known for his smarts and versatility[​IMG], will provide competition the Bears promised Chris Conte would have after his disappointing 2013. Add free-agents M.D. Jennings and Ryan Mundy, the Bears' most accomplished safety, and it's easy to see an upgrade. The influx of new players will improve the secondary as will the ability to rush the passer again with the likes of Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. The Bears can feel better about their defensive depth now than they did a year ago one day after the draft.
    Offensively, fourth-round backup running back Ka'Deem Carey gives the Bears a shifty 5-foot-9, 207-pound complement to Matt Forte's fluidity that they lacked. Carey arrives highly accomplished with 4,239 rushing yards but also with the burden of proving a 2012 domestic-violence incident involving his pregnant girlfriend — in which charges were dropped — truly was an aberration. If Carey can, the Bears offense will have answered one of its few offseason questions.

    What the Bears will do about their No. 3 quarterback wasn't one of those pressing questions, not based on Emery's recent presentation of his research project. Yet nine days after dismissing the idea of using a late draft pick on a developmental quarterback, Emery contradicted himself by taking San Jose State's David Fales in the sixth round.
    Fales possesses accuracy, intelligence and the arm talent to make all the throws. But with the Bears still without a backup tight end or slot receiver, Emery selected Fales after citing his own study that no quarterback chosen after the third round since 2006 had become a long-term starter. Smoke-screen or not, the evidence Emery presented made enough sense to temper expectations for Fales.
    "That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water,'' Emery concluded May 1. "To get a quality[​IMG] quarterback, you've got to draft them high.''
    So what does that say about Fales?
    The pick will get more attention than it deserves around Chicago, as will Emery's odder choice of punter Pat O'Donnell. But as fun as the debate is, those players unlikely will affect the 2014 record and drafts aren't defined in the sixth round anyway. Those players tend to be accessories, and for every Tom Brady and Terrell Davis there are hundreds of Dan LeFevours.
    By the time the Bears stepped out on a limb to take Fales and O'Donnell, their real work was over. And overall, it was a job well done.
    Twitter @DavidHaugh

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