Could Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson be there for the Bears at No. 20?
With the Senior Bowl just taking place on Saturday, I figured it would be a great time to take our second look (here's our first) at what players some draftniks think the Bears could select in the 2013 NFL Draft (which begins April 25th). Additionally, I'll include the five players each draftnik has being selected before and after the Bears' first round pick, so we can get a nice idea of what players could be available in the range of No. 20.
Now, keep in mind that much can change with the perception of the draft prospects after the NFL Combine which begins February 20th, and with (perceived) team needs after moves are made in free agency (begins March 12th).
Oh, and make sure to click over and check out the full mock drafts from these writers.
Walter Football (1/29)
(1st Round) Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
It's sad to see the Brian Urlacher era come to an end. Urlacher will be a free agent in March, but he was playing poorly anyway. The Bears will have to find a replacement this offseason - perhaps in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They'll probably be interested in Alec Ogletree, who has been tremendous for Georgia this season. Ogletree is arguably the top prospect available.
(2nd Round) Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Bears have revealed that they will be searching for a speed element to their passing game this offseason. If that's the case, they won't hesitate selecting Tavon Austin if he's available at this juncture. Chicago cannot have Devin Hester on the field as a receiver any longer.
(4th Round) Oday Aboushi, G/OT, Virginia
If you've watched Jay Cutler take a beating throughout this past season, you know that they need to find multiple upgrades for their struggling offensive line.
5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, OG Chance Warmack, OLB Jarvis Jones, DT Sheldon Richardson, OT Lane Johnson.
5 players selected after: LB Manti Te'o, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Keenan Allen, DT Johnathan Jenkins, DT Bennie Logan.
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler (1/28)
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
With larger needs at linebacker and offensive line, tight end might be a long shot here, but Chicago needs to upgrade the position at some point this off-season. A Midwest kid, Eifert is a reliable pass catcher who will fit well with what the Bears want to do on offense.
5 players selected before: DE Dion Jordan, OT Lane Johnson, OLB Jarvis Jones, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Ezekiel Ansah.
5 players selected after: DE Datone Jones, S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Keenan Allen, DT Johnathan Hawkins, DT Jesse Williams.
CBS Sports' Rob Rang (1/28)
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Bears' offensive line is a mess and with little hope of getting better without reinforcements. Johnson, a former quarterback, tight end and defensive lineman at the junior college level, has developed into a quality tackle over the past two seasons with the Sooners and possesses the athletic upside to eventually be the top flight NFL left tackle Jay Cutler so desperately needs. Only the fact that Johnson remains a bit raw might keep him on the board at this point, as he has the feet and length of a future Pro Bowler.
5 players selected before: DE Ezekiel Ansah, OG Chance Warmack, DT John Jenkins, DT Kawann Short, TE Zach Ertz.
5 players selected after: OLB Alec Ogletree, S Matt Elam, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, CB Desmond Trufant, DE Alex Okafor.
Fansided's Josh Sanchez (1/28)
Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
Johnson solidified his status as a first-round pick with his performance in Mobile and the Bears could use someone to keep Cutler on his feet. If the Bears can protect Cutler next season, he will thrive under new head coach Marc Trestman.
5 players selected before: DE Ezekiel Ansah, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, LB Jarvis Jones, QB Tyler Wilson, DE/LB Dion Jordan.
5 players selected after: DE Sam Montgomery, OT DJ Fluker, WR Keenan Allen, CB Johnanthan Banks, WR DeAndre Hopkins.
Walter Football's Charlie Campbell (1/28)
(1st Round) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Obviously, Chicago needs tackle help above everything else. Their new coaching staff isn't married to J'Marcus Webb, so replacing him with a first-round pick is a potential no-brainer for the Bears.
There is building buzz for Johnson to be a first-rounder following his impressive Senior Bowl performance. He was a 2-year starter and a good edge-blocker for Landry Jones. Johnson protected the blind side of his quarterback extremely well in 2012. The senior had a strong game against Texas protecting his signal-caller versus some good Longhorn pass-rushers. He did that again against Texas A&M in his collegiate finale.
Johnson has nice athleticism with quick feet to mirror speed-rushers. The 6-foot-6, 302-pounder showed at the Senior Bowl that he is a viable left tackle prospect for the NFL. He started at right tackle for the Sooners in 2011 having played tight end and defensive end the previous season. Johnson redshirted in 2009.
Depending on who drafts him, Johnson could start his career at right tackle before moving over to the left side.
(2nd Round) Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
The Bears badly need a receiving tight end who can exploit the middle of the field. That is Reed's speciality.
Reed played well for Florida and has some real play-making ability. He led theam with 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. The Gators could have gotten more out of Reed, but sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was inconsistent. Reed had a costly fumble inside the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter in a close loss to Georgia.
Reed, a former quarterback, is still developing at tight end, and he should have returned for his senior season. Reed is a dangerous receiver, but needs to improve his blocking ability to be a three-down player. He caught 28 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns as sophomore in 2011. The redshirt junior has also been tutored by former Gators and current Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Reed caught only six passes for 79 yards and one touchdown in 2010, but that was because Florida had him playing other positions in the majority of his snaps. For instance, he played some spread-option quarterback and completed 26 of 46 passes for 252 yards. Reed also ran for 328 yards and five touchdowns.
5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, S Kenny Vaccaro, DT John Jenkins, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Ezekiel Ansah.
5 players selected after: DE/LB Sam Montgomery, LB Manti Te'o, DT Kawann Short, OG Jonathan Cooper, DT Shariff Floyd.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar (1/28)
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Bears will have their pick of tight ends in the first round between Eifert and Stanford's Zach Ertz. Eifert's pass catching numbers were down this season, but that's only because teams often had multiple defenders on him. After greatly improving as a blocker last season, he's a better all-around tight end than Ertz.
5 players selected before: DT Jesse Williams, WR Keenan Allen, DT John Jenkins, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Ezekiel Ansah.
5 players selected after: LB Arthur Brown, OG Jonathan Cooper, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DT Shariff Floyd, WR DeAndre Hopkins.
Eat Drink And Sleep Football's Kevin Hanson (1/27)
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
While Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, Te'o finished a close second and an argument could be made that he should have won it. Meanwhile, he won numerous awards including the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award, which are national player of the year awards himself.
As an insider linebacker, Te'o has his third consecutive season with 100-plus tackles, but he is also tied for second in the country in interceptions (seven) for the Fighting Irish, who played (and lost to) Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.
Te'o had his worst game of the season against the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, that coincides with his final game and against his toughest competition. While that performance certainly doesn't help his draft stock, Te'o should not slip much beyond this point.
5 players selected before: DT Sheldon Richardson, OG Chance Warmack. LB Alec Ogletree, DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Xavier Rhodes.
5 players selected after: OG Jonathan Cooper, S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Margus Hunt, DT Jesse Williams, DT John Jenkins.
First-Round Grade (1/27)
Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Bears will be devastated that Jonathan Cooper (OG, UNC) went two spots earlier, and with no viable offensive linemen available at the #20 pick, they will turn their attention to the LB position. Specifically, the Bears need to add youth to the middle of the defense with the expected departure of Brian Urlacher (MLB, Chi). Minter might be a bit of a reach here, but he was the heart and soul of the LSU defense in 2012. If Urlacher isn’t brought back, Minter would line up as the new starting MLB for the Bears…a position with a lot of history and a lot of pressure. If the Draft falls this way, don’t be surprised to see Phil Emery trade back (possibly even out of the first round).
5 players selected before: S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, OLB Dion Jordan, OG Jonathan Cooper, OLB Alec Ogletree.
5 players selected after: RB Eddie Lacy, OT DJ Fluker, DT John Jenkins, CB Xavier Rhodes, WR Tavon Austin.
Optimum Scouting (1/27)
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Upgrading the offensive line is of major importance for the Bears, and finding a left tackle would be ideal. But with none available, they’ll need to either trade up for Lane Johnson (ideal) or just take the best offensive lineman available, with that being Jonathan Cooper.
5 players selected before: DE/LB Dion Jordan, OG Chance Warmack, ILB Kevin Minter, OT DJ Fluker, DE Ezekiel Ansah.
5 players selected after: S Kenny Vaccaro, TE Zach Ertz, WR DeAndre Hopkins, OG Larry Warford, DT John Jenkins.
Feel free to post your thoughts (below in the comments) on these projected Bears picks, and make sure to check back soon for much more on the draft in regards to the Bears. I'll have posts like this one showing projected Bears picks every couple of weeks leading up to the draft.