CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2015 NFL Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what could be in store.
Bears pre-draft situation
No position group was addressed more aggressively by the Bears this offseason than linebacker in what will be the team’s iteration of a 3-4 scheme, as directed by new coordinator Vic Fangio. The priority signing was former rush linebacker Pernell McPhee from the Baltimore Ravens, with the Bears subsequently adding Mason Foster from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Sam Acho from the Arizona Cardinals.
Along with that, GM Ryan Pace said that Lamarr Houston, recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL, is ticketed for linebacker after spending his Bears’ half-season at left defensive end.
[DRAFT PREVIEW: OL Rebound in 2015 a must but not via draft]
All of these moves come on top of three drafts by former GM Phil Emery that brought in linebackers Jonathan Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Shea McClellin.
Bears draft priority: Moderate
Pace, Fox and anyone in the NFL know the value of and priority placed on pass rushers. The change to a 3-4 simply shifted that priority from the linemen to the linebackers, and the Bears reflected that in their aggressive work to add linebackers (Acho, Foster, McPhee).
Notably, those moves make a strong secondary statement about the questionable results of the drafts that included McClellin in the 2012 first round, and Bostic and Greene in the 2013 second and fourth. None of the draft picks established themselves as impact linebackers regardless of scheme or specific position.
[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans]
Regardless of the offseason additions in the position group, however, the priority placed on pass rushers effectively sets the need level permanently at “moderate.” Fox and Pace come from organizations that built strong pass rushes.
Keep an eye on...
Vic Beasley, Clemson: With 25 sacks over his past two seasons, Beasley flashed at the Combine as well.
Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Kentucky: Has size (6-foot-4, 269 lbs.) and speed (4.56) that could be a find at No. 7 of round 2.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville: A pass rusher who won’t go high in the first round but has the length (6-foot-4) that Bears prefer.