Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times comments on the upcoming NFL draft:
“ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Bears taking Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland with the No. 11 pick in the first round of his first mock draft.
“‘[He’s a] guy who can really, [really] handle the run and be a great leader,’ Kiper said. ‘He’s a run-stuffer. He’s got good range. Coverage ability is OK. It’s not great — you saw that exposed in the National Championship Game. Tremendous, tremendous intangibles. All the physical qualifications you want. Overall, he would fill a void there [and] can step right in.'”
I caught an interview with former Bears personnel man Greg Gabriel on WSCR Wednesday and he was considerably less optimistic about the Bears chances of taking an inside linebacker in the first round. Gabriel is currently preparing the annual draft guide publication for Hub Arkush.
Gabriel doesn’t see Ragland as a first rounder saying “He’ll run 4.7 [seconds in the 40 yard dash] at the combine.” He also believes that Myles Jack out of UCLA, who Kiper has going at the 10 spot to the New York Giants, as more of a hybrid linebacker/defensive back guy who excels in coverage. Gabriel doesn’t believe that Jack would fit the profile the Bears are looking for.
If Gabriel is right, it might not be great year to find a playmaker at the inside linebacker spot and the Bears will likely be looking in another direction with their first round pick.