Yeah, I couldn’t think of a better title than that. Sue me.
With the NFL Combine and the draft approaching, I thought it might be interesting to see who the experts around the country see the Bears taking with the 31st pick. I’ll update this list a few times as the offseason progresses along with a comment at the end.
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
“Chicago needs help at corner and Williams is a safe pick. A solid character guy with exceptional ball skills, he has good speed, awareness and above-average size for the position, at a hair under 6-1 and 192 pounds. A guy who excels at the takeaway, he’ll be able to deliver INTs for a coach who craves turnovers. He is also a very good special teams player.”
“If Liuget falls to this spot, the Bears will get a steal. He’s a top-20 pick in our rankings thanks to his strength, quickness, balance and motor. Chicago has bigger needs at offensive tackle and wide receiver, but Liuget is a better value than any player available at those positions.”
“The Bears have decent options when their turn comes around. They can get help for the offensive line that caused them so many headaches, particularly early in the season, or address their needs at either defensive tackle, receiver or cornerback. Sherrod is the highest-rated remaining tackle, but Texas cornerback Aaron Williams and LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis would also make sense.”
“The Bears’ offensive line was disastrous in the 2010 preseason and worse than ever in a Week 4 loss to the Giants at New York, where Jay Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half. But slowly but surely, the unit came along. The running game excelled, Cutler had more time in the pocket and the offense clicked. That said, there’s still room for both depth and improvement across the line. At 6-9, 320 pounds, Solder is a mountain of a man. He is a terrific pass protector and could line up opposite Chris Williams as the other tackle but could also contribute right away at guard if needed. He had a strong showing in Mobile and solidified himself as a first-round pick. The Bears would be delighted to see him — pegged by some as a top-10 possibility — slip to them at 30.”
I, along with many Bear fans, I’m sure, am happy to see so many of these drafts have the Bears taking an offensive lineman. But knowing how these things typically work and knowing that general manager Jerry Angelo likes to take the best player available, I’m thinking McShay, Kiper and Nawrocki may have the right of it.
I will add one more thing. If the Bears are smart, they won’t automatically take the fifth or sixth best offensive tackle available if the best guard on the board is still there. The position is typically under valued and I think a guy like Danny Watkins out of Baylor might make more of an impact. With the team probably thinking about the future there, guard Mike Pouncey, who is also projected as a center, might make some sense as well.