NFL Chicago Bears

2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Needs for Chicago Bears

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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Needs For the Chicago Bears

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears are in much better shape than they were at the start of the off season. There have been many changes in Halas Hall since the close of the 2012-2013 season. Former head coach Lovie Smith was let go, future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher was released and a few other role players have found new teams along the way.

The Bears have already addressed major needs in signing a few key free agents. Martellus Bennett and Steve Maneri will fill the void at the tight end position, with Bennett being the big acquisition. He will provide quarterback Jay Cutler with a legitimate pass-catching tight end as well as a guy that can help in the run blocking game. Tight end was a big need for the Bears going into this free agency period after former starter Kellen Davis failed to meet expectations over the past couple of seasons.

The offensive line has also been upgraded to a higher level than it has been in recent memory. Signing guard Matt Slauson and left tackle Jermon Bushrod will provide a much-needed boost in protection for Cutler and will more likely open up bigger running lanes for running back Matt Forte.

After letting go of Urlacher, the Bears also lost starting outside linebacker Nick Roach and at the time had two gaping holes at the linebacker position. Since then, they have addressed that need in signing D.J. Williams and James Anderson.

There are still a few areas where the Bears can improve and add another talented player to the mix. Here are the top five needs for Chicago heading into the draft.

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5. Defensive Tackle

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The Bears did themselves a huge favor in signing defensive tackle Henry Melton to the franchise tag. If all goes according to plan, they will be able to work out a long-term deal for the young and upcoming lineman. General Manager also decided to let go of Matt Toeaina, who wasn't necessary the best option for the line's rotation. Still having Nate Collins and Stephen Paea in the mix will provide depth, but the Bears still need somebody else to fill that spot left by Toeaina and possibly get in the rotation on a regular basis.

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4. Cornerback

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Chicago let go of former nickelback D.J. Moore and nearly lost current nickelback Kelvin Hayden, but ended up re-signing him. Hayden didn't perform spectacularly and is better served being in a reserve role. If the Bears can grab themselves a solid third cornerback to play the nickel at times, they would be much better off. In any event, they need another guy to take the spot of Moore and possibly groom into a future starter.

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3. Linebacker

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This is still a touchy subject for some fans. After losing Urlacher, the Bears signed a couple of solid replacements for him and Roach. But, they would still love to add yet another guy to come in and instantly compete for a starting spot with both Anderson and Williams. Emery will most likely draft with a strategy of "best available" and if they can get themselves another linebacker who can contribute and also potentially turn into a starter down the road, they will absolutely take that opportunity.

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2. Wide Receiver

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With Brandon Marshall, the Bears have solidified their need of a true number one wide receiver. Entering his second year, Alshon Jeffrey should be coming along nicely. But aside from those two, the Bears need a third receiver to play the slot now that Devin Hester is returning to his special teams role. If a guy like Tavon Austin appears at number 20, the Bears will have no problem taking him. Otherwise, they should be on the lookout for another receiver throughout.

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1. Offensive Line

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Even with the signings of Bushrod and Slauson, the Bears would jump at the possibility of grabbing another starter either at guard or tackle. J'marcus Webb will be competing for the right tackle position while Gabe Carimi may compete at guard. But if a starting caliber offensive lineman were to fall into the Bears' lap, you better believe they are drafting him. Webb and Carimi were both underachievers not only last year but for every year they have been a pro.