Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Back
Bears GM Phil Emery entered free agency needing upgrades on every level of his defense. He attacked the line (Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen, Jay Ratliff, Willie Young) and bolstered the second level (D.J. Williams, Shea McClellin position conversion). Safety remains a pressing issue with only special teams type Ryan Mundy and 2013 disappointment Chris Conte as viable candidates for playing time, however, while returning Charles Tillman is a short-term cornerback fix. Bears DC Mel Tucker's background is mostly in Cover 2, but his corners play plenty of man.
First day option: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama - Too many big plays occurred in the Bears secondary, not only through the arm but also because of catch tackling. Clinton-Dix is a top-10 prospect in my eyes and roams the deeper portions of the field very well, timing to disrupt at the catch point. He is also aggressive to fill the box or motion closer to the line of scrimmage during pre-snap movements.
Second day possibility: S Terrence Brooks, FSU - Brooks did not receive the attention Lamarcus Joyner did, but he could ultimately be the better player. He needs to work on his aggressiveness when tackling ball carriers, however, all prospects have holes in their game. He was very good at anticipating the quarterback’s eyes, recognizing who might be targeted on any given snap.
Third day flier: DB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech - Some want Exum to play safety. Others corner. Either way, he produced very good tape in 2012, especially in zone coverage. Injuries will drop him to the third day, but he could be the type that bounces back once reaching the NFL.
No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Line
It's hard not to like how Emery's defensive line is coming together on paper, but RE Jared Allen will be 32 when the season starts, and DT Jay Ratliff will be 33. Chicago needs to keep its eyes peeled for draft-day values up front. The Bears still don't have a franchise edge rusher, and the interior has been patched together. Chicago could use more means of harassing quarterbacks.
First day option: DT Aaron Donald, Pitt - Interior disruption is king, and the Bears lost their top disruptive threat in Henry Melton. Jay Ratliff and Stephen Paea both have 1-technique experience, although Ratliff is more of an upfield player. Donald is a top-12 prospect in this draft and wins with explosion, hands use, leverage, strength and quickness. There is intent to each one of his movements.
Second day possibility: DT Caraun Reid, Princeton - Reid deserves more attention. Double teams are discussed more frequently than they actually occur, but Reid legitimately faced multiple blockers on each snap. He has some quickness to his game as well as strength. He is not satisfied waiting at the line of scrimmage. Reid wants to penetrate and disrupt.
Third day flier: DT Chris Whaley, Texas - Whaley missed a large portion of the 2013 season but could be a valuable rotational piece. Rotation is tremendously important for front four players in sub-package situations. Whaley offers quickness to fight through gaps and can get offensive linemen off balance because of it.
No. 3 Team Need: Running Back
Marc Trestman's offense made heavy use of Matt Forte during Trestman's first season as Bears head coach. The tailback is critical in protection schemes as well as ball handling. 2013 UDFA Michael Ford offers athletic upside, but could prove a liability if Forte went down. The Bears cut Michael Bush. Trestman demands versatility from his backfield. His backs must block and catch.
First day option: A running back will not be selected in the first-round.
Second day possibility: Devonta Freeman, FSU - Evan's mentioned pass protection being a pivotal piece in the Bears’ running back evaluation. Freeman is a willing pass protector, inviting free rushers his way and attacking them with balance. Add on his decisive, one cut running style and vision to find lanes and open areas, and Freeman is my top prospect at the position. He is at least an adequate receiver.
Third day flier: James White, Wisconsin - The Badgers’ foundation on offense was the ground game, but White did see the majority of pass protection opportunities. He is a squatty 5’9/204 lbs runner who gets to the second level in a hurry. He might not create many yards on his own, but White will pick up what is blocked for him.
Video: Norris on Chicago's top need
Bears 2014 Draft Picks (7)
First Round (No. 14)
Second Round (No. 51)
Third Round (No. 82)
Fourth Round (No. 117)
Fifth Round (No. 156)
Sixth Round (No. 183)
Sixth Round (No. 191)
Current Bears First-Team Offense
QB: Jay Cutler
RB: Matt Forte
WR: Brandon Marshall
WR: Alshon Jeffery
WR: Marquess Wilson
TE: Martellus Bennett
LT: Jermon Bushrod
LG: Matt Slauson
C: Roberto Garza
RG: Kyle Long
RT: Jordan Mills
Current Bears First-Team Defense
RE: Jared Allen
LE: Lamarr Houston
NT: Stephen Paea
DT: Jay Ratliff
MLB: Jon Bostic
WLB: Lance Briggs
SLB: Shea McClellin
LCB: Tim Jennings
RCB: Charles Tillman
FS: Chris Conte
SS: Ryan Mundy