The Chicago Bears knew going into the 2014 NFL Draft that they’d have to to continue addressing the defense, something they did a good job of in free agency. Well, you can’t say defense wasn’t on their mind considering four of their top five picks were on defense.
Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) at no. 14 was a solid pick, though I wonder if they could’ve traded down about 6 slots and still been able to take him. He doesn’t have the ceiling of someone like Justin Gilbert (taken by Cleveland Browns at 8), but has a much higher floor and is more polished.
Another big question that will arise from this pick is what it does to the safety position. Safety was an even bigger question mark in the draft than cornerback for Chicago, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (the best safety in the class) could’ve been had at 14. Charles Tillman, an aging CB who looks like he could age even better by moving to S like Charles Woodson, has already shot down any idea of him changing from CB, and GM Phil Emery concurred with that sentiment.
What about S Brock Vereen (Minnesota) drafted in the 4th round? Vereen has excellent versatility and a ton of experience playing all the positions in a secondary, but has limited upside. I think he could be an average starter in the NFL, but don’t see him as a high impact playmaker in the backend.
Considering how big of a need both CB and S were for the Bears entering the draft, how do they only spend one draft pick on each? That was a head scratcher for me.
Ego Ferguson (DT, LSU) and Will Sutton (DT, Arizona State) were the teams 2nd and 3rd round draft picks. Sutton was a great value in the third round and if he can keep his weight down I think he could go down as a major steal. Ferguson was a reach in the middle second, but projects well in Chicago’s scheme. Both will help fill out the Bears DT rotation moving forward with Jay Ratliff and Stephen Paea, both of whom could be gone next year.
Ka’Deem Carey (RB, Arizona) was a solid pick in the fourth round. His stock took a hit when he tested out poorly, but plug in the tape and you’ll see the appeal. He’s a good one-cut back who can get up field and should be a reliable backup to Matt Forte, and potentially replace him after next season when his contract is up.
The Bears two sixth round picks were QB David Fales (San Jose State) and P Pat O’Donnell (Miami). Fales was a good value here and has a good chance to be the teams backup to Jay Cutler in 2014. About a year ago Fales was being viewed as a guy who could be a franchise QB but regressed somewhat his senior year after HC Mike MacIntyre took a better job. He could turn into trade bait someday but I think at worst he’ll be an upgrade over Jordan Palmer for the backup spot. O’Donnell was the best P in the class and the Bears had a hole here, so a nice selection there.
OT Charles Leno (Boise State) was the teams 7th round pick, and he’ll be a long shot to make the team out of camp.
All in all, a decent class for the Bears. The value of some of the picks wasn’t great, and they still didn’t find a difference maker at safety, but they improved their depth on defense and landed some intriguing developmental prospects.