Chicago Bears Draft Coutdown: Making the Case for Jimmie Ward By Ross Read , Featured Columnist Apr 7, 2014 When I first started to analyze who the Bears might draft this year, I had them slated for a defensive tackle. With the flurry of moves on the defensive line, I now believe the team will go a different route. The Bears will still need a tackle, but I see them waiting until the second or third round for one. There's a long-term need at cornerback and a short-term one at safety. I have the Bears drafting a safety, but not the one you might expect. Jimmie Ward was a standout at Northern Illinois. He played in every game during his freshman season and blocked a school-record three punts. He recorded over 100 tackles in his second and third seasons and had 95 tackles last year. Tackling isn't all Ward excels at. Last season he had seven interceptions and 12 pass deflections. He works best at strong safety but can certainly play free safety if needed. When you hear any talk of safeties in this draft, you hear Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. Clinton-Dix is the best safety in this draft and should be off the board by the time the Bears pick. As for Pryor, I value Ward over him. During his pro day, Ward informed scouts he will undergo surgery soon to insert a screw into his foot. After the proclamation, he proceeded to show his toughness by running through the pain all the way to a 4.47-second 40-yard-dash time. Ward's time comes in better than Pryor's 4.58. Pryor's greatest strength is his ability to lay the wood. He's a hard hitter who loves to stick his nose in on plays. His strengths can be a concern in the NFL. Pryor might have to adjust his game at the next level as the league continues to force players away from the bone-jarring hits. The overzealous technique Pryor has could get him exposed. He has a tendency to cheat up and jump the gun, leaving him susceptible to double moves and shifty running backs.