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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Could Bears' Ryan Pace trade back from No. 7?

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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Could Bears' Ryan Pace trade back from No. 7?

The NFL Draft always provides surprises and 2015 will be no different.

The only first-round lock appears to be Jameis Winston going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1. After that it's a crapshoot. Will Marcus Mariota land in Tennessee or is he destined to reunite with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia? Will a running back finally be drafted in the first round? And how will Ryan Pace fare in his first foray into the draft as GM of the Bears?

[MORE NFL DRAFT: Check out our 200 player profiles]

With less than two days until the 2015 NFL Draft officially kicks off, CSNChicago.com's Scott Krinch tries mocking the first round.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston (QB), Florida State

Lovie Smith does not have the best poker face. Winston will be the pick here and he has been all along.

2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB), Oregon

Does Mariota stay in Tennessee or get flipped on draft night? Regardless, expect the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner to come off the board at No. 2.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Williams (DL), USC

David Caldwell passes on in-state edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and elects to snag the draft's most complete defensive lineman in Leonard Williams.  

4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper (WR), Alabama

If this was 10 years ago the Raiders choice would probably be the enigma that is Breshad Perriman, but Reggie McKenzie goes the safe route with Amari Cooper.

5. Washington Redskins: Dante Fowler Jr. (OLB), Florida

The Redskins are floored to see Fowler Jr. still on the board, who they hope becomes the next LaVar Arrington — minus the injuries.

6. New York Jets: Vic Beasley (OLB), Clemson

The rich get richer as Todd Bowles' defense adds arguably the best pass rusher in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

7. New Orleans Saints via trade with Chicago Bears: Bud Dupree (OLB), Kentucky

Ryan Pace swings a draft deal with his former club, who desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball. Chicago swaps No. 7 for New Orleans' Nos. 13 and 31 picks in the first round. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Randy Gregory (OLB), Nebraska

Dan Quinn ignores Gregory's off-the-field issues, and gets his first major rebuilding piece for the Falcons defense. 

9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff (OT), Iowa

The Giants take a page out of their NFC East counterpart Dallas Cowboys' book, and snatch up the most versatile offensive lineman in this year's draft. 

10. St. Louis Rams: Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford

Rams have to find a way to protect whoever is playing quarterback for them in 2015.  

11. Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker (WR), Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater gets his former Louisville running mate in Parker, who gives the Vikings a dangerous tandem in the NFC North for years to come. 

12. Cleveland Browns: Kevin White (WR), West Virginia

The slide finally ends for White here. The Browns have a glaring need at wide receiver and White gives Josh McCown/Johnny Manziel a bonafide No. 1 wideout.

13. Chicago Bears via trade with New Orleans Saints: Danny Shelton (DT), Washington

The Bears trade down, pick up an extra first rounder and get the guy they wanted all along. Shelton fills an immediate need and has a chance to be a dominant presence in the middle of Chicago's defense.

14. Miami Dolphins: Kevin Johnson (CB), Wake Forest

Johnson's stock is sky high and the Dolphins fill a major need at corner.

15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead (DT), Oregon

Armstead and the 49ers are a match made in heaven. The 49ers desperately need help on the defensive line as Armstead becomes San Francisco's heir apparent to Justin Smith. 

16. Houston Texans: Breshad Perriman (WR), Central Florida

Perriman was one of the most explosive players in college football last season and the Texans elect to fill the void at WR left by Andre Johnson.  

17. San Diego Chargers: La'el Collins (OT), LSU

Collins could step in and play either right tackle or right guard in Week 1. 

18. Kansas City Chiefs: Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State

Wide receiver or secondary seem to be the route the Chiefs will go at No. 18. With an early run-on of receivers, Kansas City snags the next best corner on the board.

19. Cleveland Browns: Malcom Brown (DT), Texas

Brown fills a huge need on the D-line for Cleveland. Ray Farmer makes out like a bandit with both White and Brown in the fold.  

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Phillip Dorsett (WR), Miami

All the pre-draft talk of the Eagles moving up comes to a halt as Chip Kelly stays at No. 20 and finds a Jeremy Maclin replacement in the speedy Dorsett.  

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Ereck Flowers (OT), Miami

How do you make Andy Dalton better? Well, the Bengals have given him numerous weapons to work with at WR, RB and TE, so why not find him some O-line help this time around?

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters (CB), Washington

Peters is probably the most talented corner in the draft, but his stock has plummeted due to off-the-field issues. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers go for the home run with the former Husky.

23. Detroit Lions: Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma

The Lions would love a chance to grab either Danny Shelton or Malcom Brown to fill the hole left at defensive tackle after offseason departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but Phillips is no slouch as a consolation prize. 

24. Arizona Cardinals: Todd Gurley (RB), Georgia

The Cardinals waste little time ending Gurley's slide and finally find a legitimate weapon at running back. The former Bulldog has Top 5 talent.

25. Carolina Panthers: T.J. Clemmings (OT), Pittsburgh

The Panthers need to find a way to protect Cam Newton and take the first step in doing so with the athletic Clemmings. 

26. Baltimore Ravens: Melvin Gordon (RB), Wisconsin

Gordon is a steal for the Ravens at No. 26. Matt Forte had two of his most productive years under Marc Trestman, who will have that same affect on Gordon in Baltimore.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Byron Jones (CB), Connecticut

What a tough break for the Cowboys after missing out on both Gurley and Gordon. Instead, Dallas goes with the high character corner in Jones. Not like they need some good character guys for the locker room or anything...

28. Denver Broncos: D.J. Humphries (OT), Florida

Humphries is snatched up by the Broncos and fills an immediate need on the right side of the offensive line.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Landon Collins (S), Alabama

The draft's first safety finally comes off the board. The Colts need a playmaker on the back end of their defense and Collins fits the bill.

30. Green Bay Packers: Eric Kendricks (ILB), UCLA

The instinctive Kendricks would be a tackling machine in Green Bay's 3-4 defense.  

31. Chicago Bears via trade with New Orleans Saints: Shane Ray (OLB), Missouri

Shane Ray finally hears his name called after a whirlwind week. Pace and the Bears use their additional first rounder to get a Top 10 talent, and hope Ray's character issues are a thing of the past.

32. New England Patriots: Jalen Collins (CB), LSU

No Darrelle Revis. No Brandon Browner. The Pats re-tool at corner with Collins. 

Three questions for Bears CBs: Will continuity breed success?

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USA TODAY

Three questions for Bears CBs: Will continuity breed success?

 

Pre-camp depth chart

Outside corner

1. Kyle Fuller
2. Marcus Cooper
3. Michael Joseph
4. Tyrin Holloway

1. Prince Amukamara
2. Sherrick McManis
3. Kevin Toliver II
4. Rashard Fant
5. John Franklin III

Nickel corner

1. Bryce Callahan
2. Cre’Von LeBlanc
3. Jonathon Mincy

1. Can Kyle Fuller build off a 2017 breakout?

A year ago, it would’ve been unbelievable to hear Fuller would be fifth highest-paid cornerback in the NFL by average annual salary, ahead of two guys (A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore) in whom the Bears had interest in free agency. This was a guy who — justifiably, given he missed all of 2016 with an injury — didn’t have his fifth year option picked up and wasn’t even assured of a roster spot coming into training camp.

But Fuller earned that paycheck with an outstanding season. Consider:

No cornerback was targeted more times than Fuller last year, even though only 51 percent of those targets were caught and he led the NFL in passes defended with 17, according to Pro Football Focus. Fuller held opposing quarterbacks to a rating of 69 when they threw his way, good for 17th among all cornerbacks.

“His preparation Is second to none,” fellow cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “How he prepares for games and how he anticipates what’s going on —  I feel like I prepared enough but when I watched him and how he does it before games there’s a lot I can learn from him and I’m just glad he’s back because he’s going to improve my game a little more and hopefully I can help him improve his.”

Why opposing teams targeted Fuller so much when Amukamara allowed a higher quarterback rating (89.1), didn’t have an interception and only broke up five passes is still a head-scratcher of sorts. But if Fuller wasn’t respected last year by opposing offensive coordinators, he will be in 2018.

So the goal for Fuller will be to be even more stifling when the ball is thrown his way. Adding a few more interceptions — he only had two last year, and both came in December — would go a long way toward him earning that four-year, $56 million offer sheet the Bears had to match.

2. Where will the interceptions come from?

The Bears are the only team in NFL history to record eight or fewer interceptions in three consecutive seasons, and Ryan Pace doubled down on an outside cornerback pairing of Fuller and Amukamara that only produced two interceptions in 2017. Nickel corner Bryce Callahan showed a bit of a playmaking streak last year with two interceptions (and a pretty sweet punt return touchdown in Week 1).

But that only accounts for four picks, a number which was equaled or eclipsed by 13 cornerbacks in 2017. All the pressure to get takeaways isn’t on Amukamara, Fuller, Callahan and a handful of reserves — Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos will need to contribute more too — but given the questions surrounding the Bears’ pass rush, increasing the interceptions generated from this unit will be important for the overall success of the defense.

So if you see Fuller or Amukamara pick off Mitch Trubisky in Bourbonnais, perhaps look at it as good thing (it’ll be a learning experience for Trubisky, too, which isn’t a bad thing either).

3. Will any of the intriguing UDFAs make the team?

The Bears, a little surprisingly, didn’t draft a cornerback in April, but did sign a handful of undrafted free agents that will have an opportunity to fight for a roster spot in training camp. Two players in particular will be interesting to watch in July and August: Kevin Toliver II and John Franklin III.

Toliver is a former five-star recruit who didn’t live up to that hype at LSU, only intercepting two passes in 31 career games. The 6-foot-2 Toliver has projectable size and length, but his lack of production was why he went undrafted after leaving Baton Rouge following his junior season. He’s the kind of high-upside guy undrafted free agent who could garner some attention in training camp with a few good practices, but will have to consistently prove to the defensive coaching staff and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor he’s worthy of a roster spot.

Franklin may be more of a long shot, but the former “Last Chance U” star nonetheless will be a fascinating watch in Bourbonnais. The former quarterback-turned-receiver is now trying to not only make an NFL roster, but is trying to do so while learning an entirely different position on the side of the ball on which he’s never played before. Franklin had a healthy perspective on learning how to play cornerback during OTAs and minicamp (https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/bears/last-chance-u-john-franklin-iii-chicago-bears-nfl-defensive-back-quarterback-wide-receiver), and the Bears saw something in his raw speed and athleticism to give him a shot on defense. It’d be a surprise if Franklin earned a spot on the 53-man roster, but it’d be one heck of a story if he even wound up on the Bears’ practice squad come September.

Allen Robinson appears on latest 'Big Guys in a Benz'

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USA TODAY

Allen Robinson appears on latest 'Big Guys in a Benz'

New Bears wideout Allen Robinson appears on the latest episode of 'Big Guys in a Benz' hosted by Anthony Adams. In the episode, Robinson touches on a number of topics from growing up rooting for the Minnesota Vikings despite being from Detroit, his favorite Chicago baseball team and how he went about free agency.

When asked where the Bears were ranked when looking at teams in free agency, Robinson said the Bears were No. 1 on his list.

...especially once they hired coach Nagy, you know, I had been watching his work over the past couple of years and I know it's a system that I would definitely fit into and flourish in. 

As far as growing up a Vikings fan?

Bears fans can forgive Robinson as he grew up idolizing Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. He went on to explain that once a year for his birthday he would get to go see the Vikings play in Detroit. Things came full-circle for Robinson when he was able to train for four weeks straight with Moss last summer, which Robinson said "took his game to the next level". 

When pressed to choose White Sox or Cubs, Robinson quickly responded "Cubs", making his allegiance to the North Siders known. 

And though the interview didn't touch on Robinson's ACL rehab, it did show how Robinson is quickly endearing himself to Bears fans as he prepares for a bounce-back season.