Posted by Matt Clapp | 5/05/2015 03:31:00 PM | Adrian Amos, Eddie Goldman, Hroniss Grasu, Jeremy Langford, Kevin White, Ryan Pace, Tayo Fabuluje
1st Round (7)- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
After five picks, the board had set up as best as realistically possible for the Bears with the No. 7 overall pick, as USC defensive end Leonard Williams and West Virginia wide receiver were still available. In my opinion -- and, far more importantly, the opinion of many draft experts -- those were the two best talents left in the draft, and two players that would feel a huge need for the Bears.
I said a few times on Twitter leading up to the draft that Williams falling to the Bears would be an unlikely, dream scenario. The scheme-versatile Williams was considered the top prospect in the draft by most, and was expected to be selected in the top-four picks. The Bears have made it clear that they don't feel they have a clear, lockdown starter 3-4 defensive end for new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's scheme, and Williams would've been a perfect fit there.
But, Williams was finally selected by the Jets at No. 6, and we'll never know if he would've been a Chicago Bear had he lasted one more pick. It's certainly possible that they would've just gone with White anyway, seeing as how he is a potential superstar at wide receiver that the Bears can plug in to replace Brandon Marshall opposite Alshon Jeffery.
The 6'3", 215-pound White is a physical specimen with perhaps the highest upside of any wide receiver in the draft. His 4.35 40-yard dash was the third-best among wide receivers at the Combine, and his 23 bench-press reps tied for first among wide receivers at the Combine. It's not just size and speed that White brings to the table, either. He showed off terrific hands in 2014 for the Mountaineers and has rare playmaking ability. He can go up and get it, and he can take a quick pass at the line of scrimmage to the house. All of these traits are why White draws comparisons to receivers such as Julio Jones.
White's route tree is limited and he will need to expand on that for the NFL, but that's a pretty common issue for wide receivers entering the league, as many colleges don't feature the full-blown NFL passing system.
The bottom line is White's potential was too good to pass up, and at a position of need for the Bears. He had to be the pick once Williams was off the board. And when doing these grades, you can only judge based on the players available at the time of the pick. Add everything up and White was the right pick for the Bears, and a great, safe (on the surface) first draft decision for general manager Ryan Pace.
2nd Round (39)- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
When the Bears released a depth chart (note that much could change with it in the coming months) last week, there was one thing that everyone following the team immediately noticed: The Bears only listed one player at nose tackle. And that player is a guy that will be 34 years old in August, in Jeremiah Ratliff.
That was a pretty nice hint that the Bears would look for a potential long-term nose tackle, and at least some depth, in the draft. So, the selection of Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman in the second round was no surprise.
Goldman is a very large man, checking in to the Combine at 6'4", 336 pounds. He should be a nice fit as a 3-4 nose tackle and the Bears feel he may be able to handle some defensive end in their scheme as well.
Goldman's pass-rushing skills are in question, but that's certainly not uncommon for a player of his size. His main job will be to clog the line and slow down the run game on first and second downs, and he should do a good job of that.
Some draftniks had Goldman going in the first round, so the Bears got very nice value here, and at a need position.
3rd Round (71)- Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
The Bears hadn't drafted a center since 1998, when they selected Olin Kreutz in the third round. Kreutz of course went on to be a star for the Bears, making six Pro Bowls and being named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. And since retiring in 2010, the Bears haven't been able to find a quality replacement for Kreutz. Roberto Garza played decently for a while but he was steadily declining every year thanks to father time. The Bears then signed veteran center Will Montgomery this offseason, but he's no more than average and 32 years old himself.
Unlike Phil Emery, Ryan Pace realized it's time to finally address the center position and hopefully find a long term answer at the position again. Enter Hroniss Grasu.
The 6'3, 297-pound Oregon Duck started at center for all 52 games he played at the university, and even played alongside Bears right guard Kyle Long. The familiarity those two share should not be overlooked and should add an immediate comfort factor for the rookie center.
Most experts had Grasu as the second-best center in the draft and feel he can be a starter in the league rather quickly. He may not asked to be immediately with Will Montgomery in the fold, but he'll surely push the veteran for the job this camp. It is also believed that Grasu can handle guard so he'll provide the Bears with some depth there as well.
Center isn't a sexy position to pick in the third round, but if this is a long-term starter at the position, that's great value with the 71st overall pick. Whatever the case, credit Pace for noticing the Bears need an upgrade and youth at this position, something that has gone overlooked in recent years.
4th Round (106)- Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State
This was an absolutely loaded running back draft, with quality talent falling into the third, fourth, even fifth round. Given all of the value that could be found at the position in this draft, and given that Matt Forte is a free-agent next offseason (and most likely signing elsewhere given his age and demands), I wanted the Bears to grab one of these backs in the middle rounds. And they did just that with the drafting of Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford in the fourth round.
Langford is a 6'0", 208-pound back whose 4.42 40-yard dash was the highest for running backs at the Combine. The Michigan State product ran for over 1400 yards in each 2013 and 2014 for the Spartans, and combined for 40 touchdowns over those two seasons, an impressive feat in the loaded Big Ten.
What this move, and the Jacquizz Rodgers signing say- Ryan Pace and company are not sold on Ka'Deem Carey, whom Phil Emery selected in this same round just a year ago. There are question marks as to whether or not Langford can has the overall skillset to be a starting NFL running back, but he should quickly get a chance to be a key part of the Bears' rotation and immediately brings a solid third-down back skillset.
My "guy" coming into the draft was Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, but serious concerns about his knee holding up caused him to fall to the fifth round, so I can't fault the Bears for passing on him as every other team did until the Dolphins finally took a chance on him late. The Bears also passed on some other bigger names at running back in this draft, so clearly they are big fans of what Langford brings to the table in the system John Fox and Adam Gase will install.
5th Round (142)- Adrian Amos, S, Penn State
Arguably the best value on the board at this spot for the Bears, at a position they have been desperately looking for solutions pretty much since Mike Brown.
Amos is a rangy safety that ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. The 6'0, 218-pounder was expected to be drafted in the third and fourth round as safeties with his athleticism are highly coveted in a league that is full of explosive passing attacks. Amos has had some struggles in run support, but currently has a solid NFL skillset in pass coverage and can even line up at nickel. He's a high-IQ football player so perhaps he will show improvements against the run as well.
And he should immediately be able to be a contributor on special teams, a department you are targeting in the draft's late rounds.
6th Round (183)- Tayo Fabuluje, OT, TCU
Easily the first thing you notice about Fabuluje is his massive size- 6'6", 353 pounds. And that size, to go with very good feet, make him a very intriguing upside prospect to grab this late in the draft.
Fabuluje is very raw, with only two years of college football under his belt, and some think he is better suited for guard rather than tackle. So, there is likely a large developmental period here and Fabuluje makes great sense as a guy to stash on the practice squad in 2015.
Going offensive line here was an interesting choice, as linebacker and cornerback are positions where the Bears are looking for long term answers as well, but they got some nice upside and value here.
Having said all that, it's hard for me to give a great grade here given that he's such a question mark and won't offer any special teams value. Not at all saying it's a bad pick and it could loo
This was a highly impressive first draft by Ryan Pace. Prior to the draft, Pace kept talking about being big on taking the best player available, and not reaching for need. This draft reflected that.
The Bears came away with good value in every single pick, with multiple picks being players expected to go in earlier rounds. And they still were able to fill some needs with those picks.
The top four picks all have good bets to be future starters, or at least key contributors. White has the potential to be superstar and was the best talent on the board at No. 7. And Amos was a terrific pick in the fifth round with the talent to potentially be a starting safety in time.
This was a great start to a rebuild that may take some time, and a nice sign of things to come from Pace in future drafts.
Overall Grade: B+
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