- The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Bears should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
Two weeks ahead of the NFL draft, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.
Biggest Need: Safety
Chicago is in the enviable position of having no glaring needs and being able to draft for depth and for the future. Looking to 2020, a hole could form at safety, as recent free agent acquisition Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed only a one-year deal to replace the departed Adrian Amos (Packers). Clinton-Dix is not always disciplined, and it could take a mega deal down the road to hold onto third-year star safety Eddie Jackson. Drafting a safety who could replace Clinton-Dix as the starter in Year 2 and play on a rookie deal alongside Jackson would be prudent.
Hidden Need: Cornerback
New defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will presumably employ more single-high coverages and outside matchup concepts than predecessor Vic Fangio. That puts more stress on corners Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara, who had developed into excellent pieces in Chicago’s old scheme. Fuller is coming off an All-Pro season and has a new contract that can’t be cost-effectively dumped until 2021. So if—if—the Bears did make changes at corner after this season, it would involve releasing Amukamara (which would bring $9 million in cap savings). This is pure speculation, though, and maybe even wild speculation. Chicago’s starting corners are sound. But with more man coverage on the horizon and no major needs to address, GM Ryan Pace can afford to take an athletic corner if one he likes is sitting there at Pick 87.
Also Looking For: Offensive Line Depth
Starting center Cody Whitehair is in a contract year, as are top veteran backups Ted Larsen (guard) and Bradley Sowell (tackle).
Who They Can Get
Assuming the Bears stay at Pick 87 as their first selection of the draft, they're looking at safeties along the line of Utah's Marquise Blair, undersized but instinctive, aggressive and physical. This is also the range for some developmental offensive linemen, like Wisconsin's David Edwards, West Virginia's Yodny Cajuste and Oklahoma's Bobby Evans.
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