With draft day upon us, I decided to take a look at 40 NFL mock drafts from draftniks around the web to get a good idea of what player the experts think the Bears will select with the seventh overall pick.
This also gives us a good idea of what players the experts think will still be around when the Bears pick seventh. And that's of course as equally important as what players the team actually wants, although you can be sure in the next few days you'll hear from NFL coaches and front offices that the player selected is the one guy they wanted all along!
I also decided against including mock drafts where the Bears traded the pick for this exercise, as that just makes things extra confusing. So, let's just take a look at what the experts think the Bears could do should they hold on to the No. 7 pick...
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (11)
Don Banks (4/30; Sports Illustrated)
Dane Brugler (4/30; CBS Sports)
Charlie Campbell (4/30; Walter Football)
Dan Durkin (4/27; 670 The Score)
Patrick Finley (4/30; Chicago Sun-Times)
Daniel Jeremiah (4/30; NFL.Com)
Dan Kadar (4/30: Mocking The Draft)
Mark Maski (4/30; Washington Post)
Bob McGinn (4/29); Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel)
Todd McShay (4/30; ESPN)
Ross Read (4/30; Bleacher Report)
The most popular pick of the mock drafts I reviewed was West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White, and that's certainly no surprise. When you add up the most likely scenarios in regards to how the board will fall in the top six picks, when you consider what the Bears needs are, and when you consider potential best players available, White checks all the boxes.
Still, it only seems about 50/50 that the 6'3", 215-pound White will be available at No. 7, but if he is, he makes plenty of sense for the Bears, especially after the Brandon Marshall trade. The team is still looking for a wide receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery, and people may say, "Eddie Royal!", but Royal is primarily a slot receiver. And putting need aside, White is considered by most to be one of the top-seven players in this draft.
If I had to put money on the most likely Bears pick at this point, I'd agree with these 11 experts. But, at the same time, we know it rarely goes as we expect in the NFL Draft, right?
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington (8)
Will Brinson (4/30; CBS Sports)
Charles Davis (4/27; NFL.Com)
Doug Farrar (4/30; Sports Illustrated)
Shaun King (4/30; Yahoo)
Geoff Mosher (4/29; CSN Philly)
NFL Draft Geek (4/29; NFL Draft Geek)
Rob Rang (4/30; CBS Sports)
Frank Schwab (4/30; Yahoo)
When the Bears released their current roster over the last few days, the most notable part of it was that there was only one nose tackle on the roster, in veteran Jeremiah Ratliff. And they're now installing the 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. One of the three guys on the defensive line in that alignment is the nose tackle. So... the fact that the Bears only feel they have one on the roster right now was pretty eye-opening, although not entirely surprising given what we knew about these players already.
Danny Shelton is clearly the best nose tackle in this draft, drawing comparisons to Vince Wilfork with his ability to clog the middle of the line at 6'2", 339 pounds. But the concern is that Shelton is only an early-down player, in a quarterbacks' league.
Shelton certainly makes sense for the Bears, but you'd probably feel better about getting him in a trade-back scenario rather than at No. 7. Either way, he makes sense as a piece to start up the new defense and you could probably do a lot worse than him with this pick.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (7)
Eddie Brown (4/29; U-T San Diego)
Chris Burke (4/30; Sports Illustrated)
Nate Davis (4/29; USA Today)
Nick Klopsis (4/28; Newsday)
Pat Mayo (4/27); SportsGrid)
Matt Miller (4/30; Bleacher Report)
Pete Prisco (4/30; CBS Sports)
Most have Amari Cooper as the top wide receiver in this draft, and one of the safest picks in this draft. He is an extremely polished wide receiver as we all witnessed against elite competition in his years at Alabama.
With all that in mind, Cooper falling to No. 7 is something I wouldn't bet on. I doubt there is a team in the league that wouldn't love to have this guy. And there are teams ahead of the Bears in this draft (like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders) that would especially love to have Cooper as a great weapon for their young quarterback.
If Cooper happened to be at No. 7, I think the Bears would take him, but I just don't think the scenario presents itself.
Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky (5)
Dan Bilicki (4/29); Toronto Sun)
Rich Cimini (4/30; ESPN)
Eric Edholm (4/29; Yahoo)
Peter King (4/28; MMQB)
Peter Schrager (4/29; Fox Sports)
Bud Dupree is a player that some feel could even go ahead of the Bears' pick, but others feel is too raw to confidently select this early. His potential is undeniable, but we would be looking at a classic Phil Emery type of pick here- A great athlete with outstanding upside, but far from a sure thing.
But if the Bears take Dupree, they feel good about his chances to reach his potential, and be the ideal pass-rushing outside linebacker to plug into their 3-4 defense for a long time.
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson (4)
Brad Biggs (4/29; Chicago Tribune)
Jason La Canfora (4/29; CBS Sports)
Bob LeGere (4/29; Daily Herald)
Steve Serby (4/29; New York Post)
Like Dupree, another tremendous pass-rushing talent at outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense. Many even have Beasley going in the top-five, so it's possible the Bears wouldn't even get the chance to decide if they want to take him.
One thing that I found very notable, though:
Vic Beasley, two days from the Draft, tells me he has not had any real conversations with the Bears.— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) April 29, 2015
I feel like if you're a team with a pick in the top-seven and you haven't even spoken much with a player, that player is probably not in your plans with the pick. When we're talking later rounds, this isn't necessarily the case, as players you didn't think would last to your pick -- and thus didn't take the time to get more to know about the player-- may fall and you feel their talent is too good to pass up. But when we're talking a pick at No. 7? If you're considering a player there, you want to get to know as much about him as you can.
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa (3)
Mel Kiper (4/30; ESPN)
Mark Potash (4/30; Chicago Sun-Times)
Evan Silva (4/30; Rotoworld)
Scherff is considered the best offensive lineman in this draft. Some evaluators think he is good enough to be an NFL left tackle, some think he is destined for guard.
If you're the Bears, I have a hard time seeing them make this pick unless they're confident he's a future tackle, given that they already have a young Pro Bowl guard in Kyle Long. They also have a very good left guard in Matt Slauson.
Also, top-10 is just early for a guard in general unless you're sold the guy is another Kyle Long. So, the Bears likely only make this pick if they feel Scherff can not just stay at tackle, but be a very good one as well.
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (2)
Charley Casserly (4/27; NFL.Com)
Mike Mayock (4/29; NFL.Com)
Whenever Mike Mayock predicts something, I listen, but I think Waynes is a reach here at No. 7. Most feel he is a mid-to-late first round talent, and the Bears just selected a first-round cornerback in Kyle Fuller.
Cornerback is an extremely valuable position, but Waynes would seem to be a reach at No. 7. Now, if the Bears were to trade back, this is a target that makes sense.
Get the latest DBN updates by following us on Facebook & Twitter.