Bears Mail: Finding the right safety, DT draft combo

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  1. riczaj01

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    Bears Mail: Finding the right safety, DT draft combo
    By KEVIN FISHBAIN - - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:28 p.m. CDT

    Alabama defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix makes a catch during drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
    Thanks for sending in your Bears questions! Be sure to tweet any Bears or draft inquiries to @bears_insider, @Hub_Arkush or @kfishbain during the week.

    From @jermaine611: Is it a must that the Bears draft a starting safety in the first two rounds?

    Well, it’s definitely not a “must,” and the Bears are not a franchise that has highly valued the safety spot of late – they haven’t drafted a safety in the first round in more than 20 years. They also signed three bargain safeties this offseason. Plus, there’s certainly a chance that Chris Conte and Ryan Mundy are your Week One starters. Bears fans may shudder at the thought of Conte getting his job back, and it won’t be easy with extra competition and the fact that he’ll be coming off surgery, but don’t rule it out. They will draft a safety, maybe two (more on that later), and I am in the school of thought that they should take Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor at 14, but I won’t be the least surprised if they don’t. Isn’t draft speculation fun?

    From @jfinger2011: Would it be a bad decision if the Bears took DT (Aaron) Donald (Round) 1 and DT (Ra’Shede) Hageman Rd2? Two potential stud DTs, but they have other needs.

    Here is double-down question No. 1 of this tweet-mailbag. If the Bears took Donald at 14, he would likely start next to Jeremiah Ratliff, with Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young rotating on the ends. Then if they took Hageman in the second, he could mix in with Ratliff and Stephen Paea, as well as Donald, and the Bears would certainly have a deep and very talented defensive line. They do have other needs, but we have seen how important the D-line is to the Bears based on their offseason. The disparity between their depth on the D-line and that at safety is staggering, though, and with depth questions at cornerback, linebacker and on offense, it'd be a curious move. Also, when discussing the Bears' D-line depth inside, don't forget that a) Houston and Israel Idonije can play three-tech, b) Nate Collins is back and played very well before his injury, and c) Paea also had a great start to his season before a toe injury.

    From @sim54gar: You think this could happen: (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at 14) and (Deone) Bucannon at 51?

    Another intriguing double-down option, but here’s the problem with doing this at safety: there are only two on the field at a time, and pretty much for the whole game, as opposed to the D-line, which has constant rotations. If the Bears went with Clinton-Dix and then Bucannon, one of them is bound to be the No. 3 safety and play on special teams, then potentially groomed to start down the line. It’s not a ridiculous premise – remember, that was the Bears’ original thought with second-rounder Jon Bostic last year, and it’d likely be what would happen if they take a corner in the first or second round. But with three safeties added in the offseason and another in Conte factoring in the starting competition, I doubt taking a safety in each of the first two picks is a strong possibility, though I would expect another safety to be added later if they go with Clinton-Dix or Pryor at 14.
    From @NoahOsen: Is Timmy Jernigan a high possibility to be drafted by the Bears?

    Early on in the process, I would have said yes. But with Ratliff back, along with Paea, I think the Bears would be better served with a player like Donald if they wanted a first-round defensive tackle. I know Jernigan was productive and versatile, but a better pass-rush option would make more sense – at 14, at least. If Jernigan is still there in the second, that’s another story.

    From @wardwins: Any chance Earl Bennett comes back at a reduced salary? Doesn’t seem to be much of (a market) for him and he and Cutler had good (chemistry).

    Considering that the Bears reportedly offered Bennett a pay cut and he declined, I would say no. The team seems content moving forward with Marquess Wilson, who spent time with fellow Bears this winter in Miami to help gain that chemistry. Bennett will catch on somewhere.

    From @ryneteem: What are some 3rd round projected CB draft prospects that could interest the Bears? Guys like Pierre Desir or Lamarcus Joyner?

    With this possibly being Charles Tillman’s final season, I would guess the Bears have their eyes on bigger corners. Desir has the desirable frame (6-1, 198 pounds) and did enough at the Senior Bowl to quiet doubts about his competition at Lindenwood. Joyner does not have that size (5-8, 184), but he is very physical and was productive in college. Another third-round corner prospect that has intrigued me from watching him play in college is Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste. He’s the tallest at 6-foot-3 and has good ball skills, but you always have to be cautious about a cornerback's ability to turn and run at that length.

    From @brianm731: Have you ever seen a top 10 so uncertain before?

    Yes, last year. In all seriousness, though, this one has plenty of quarterback intrigue that makes it unpredictable. Some say that no signal caller is worthy of a top-10 pick, which we saw last season. Others think Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles could all go early. I think we can be pretty confident about other players who will go in the top 10 (Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Sammy Watkins, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson), but the quarterback situations throw plenty of wrinkles in it.

    From @Beam0616: A lot of hype surrounding D-line/secondary picks. Any other needs that they need to address in later rounds?

    Oh yeah. This is a Bears team that needs to add depth on offense and linebacker. Lucky for you, we have analysis pieces breaking down the draft prospects at the following positions: linebacker, wide receiver, offensive tackle and tight end.

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