Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/15/12
Mock Draft: Chicago Bears The Chicago Bears have made strides since Free Agency began. The signing of Brandon Marshall gives Chicago a No. 1 receiver that has been missing for years. Eric Weems and Blake Costanzo were special teams players.This allows the Bears to replace players like Corey Graham and Zach Bowman. One thing people do not know about the Chicago Bears is how much they emphasize "Special Teams." It's one of the main reasons Dave Toub has enjoyed great success as a special teams coach. 

The teams that win in Free Agency rarely make it to the Super Bowl. It is the teams that draft the best players--always. Jerry Angelo's record was below average at best but having success through the draft is tough and often very challenging. Look at each team. Only a handful are successful. Even the Patriots have been struggling lately at drafting. Thus, the Chicago Bears are hoping that Phil Emery, a former Chicago Bear scout, will have better draft results than Jerry Angelo. 

Therefore, the Chicago Bears still have needs and still need to prepare to replace aging stars like Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers. That's what the draft is for, period.
1st round: Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End

The Good: Whitney Mercilus led the nation in 2011 in sacks (16) and forced fumbles (9). 

The Bad: The label on Whitney is that he is a one-year wonder, but that label could be incorrect. He is similar to Jason Pierre-Paul.

Reason: The Chicago Bears need to help an aging defense and provide some youth. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Julius Peppers are on the wrong side of 30. Julius Peppers is still very dangerous at 32 years old. He still requires double teams and for offensive coordinators to prepare for him. Adding Mercilus will provide depth and give someone to complement Julius Peppers.
2nd Round: Harrison Smith, Safety

The Good: Harrison Smith is very instinctive and has a very high football IQ

The Bad: At the Combine, Harrison Smith ran a 4.57 (40-yard dash) and is deemed as athletic enough to play in the NFL.

Reason: Lovie Smith is always drafting a safety (whether that changes under Emery is another story) and he needs to find a way to stabilize it. The safety position in Chicago does not require a playmaker like Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu. The main strength of a Cover 2 system is the pass rush. Thus, all the safety needs to do is read his assignments and line up in the correct spots. Harrison brings that and more. He is instinctive, smart, and knows when to make plays. That's something their defense needs. 
3rd Round pick: Zebrie Sanders, Offensive Tackle

The Good: Zebrie Sanders started every year at FSU. He has nice size for a right tackle or left tackle. His height is 6'6 and he weighs 305.

The Bad: He has bad technique and does not finish his blocks well.

The Reason: Mike Tice is now the offensive coordinator. Tice's last job was the offensive line coach. Tice knows he needs help but he seems to get the best out of players. Sanders will provide depth at either right tackle or left tackle. I wouldn't be surprised if Tice has a competition at left tackle this season, especially with rumors that Chris Williams might get another shot at left tackle. 
4th round pick: Ben Jones, Center

The Good: Ben Jones makes smart calls at the line of scrimmage and is a better pass blocker than run blocker.

The Bad: Ben is not a powerful center or a mauler. He loses his  technique at times and does not finish blocks.

The Reason: Roberto Garza is getting old and Chris Spencer is an "okay" solution at center. Adding Ben Jones will add depth to the offensive line and provide the Chicago Bears time to prepare Ben for the future. 
5th round pick: Audi Cole, Linebacker

The Good: Audie Cole reads plays well and is instinctive.

The Bad: He is slow. The film shows he is not a very consistent tackler. 

The Reason: The Chicago Bears are getting old at the linebacker position. Audie Cole would be a solid special team player and is a low risk/solid pick for Chicago. 
6th round pick: Josh Kaddu, Linebacker

The Good: Josh Kaddu is a great tackler and an aggressive one as well.

The Bad: Slow reaction time and is not very instinctive. Relies too much on natural ability instead of reading how a play is developing. 

The Reason: The Chicago Bears love their special teams and depth at linebacker. Josh Kaddu is the project player out of all the draft picks. There is some potential but a high bust rate.
7th round pick: Devon Wylie, Wide receiver

The Good: Devon Wylie is extremely fast. He runs in the 4.30's range and is a great returner.

The Bad: Devon is only 5'9 and was very injury-prone during his time at Fresno State.

The Reason: The Chicago Bears picked Eric Weems and still have Devin Hester as punt/kickoff returner. Johnny Knox is coming off a severe injury. On twitter I asked him a question, "Why come back and play after and serious injury like that?" Johnny Knox responded "I don't know, good question." Thus, Devon would be a nice special team player to hopefully fill in for Johnny Knox.

Follow me on Twitter, ErikGrogan@ErikGrogan for the latest information on the NFL for anything. Trades, Free agency, or players getting cut. I follow and know the right people. 

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