Bears

2015 NFL Mock Draft: CSN's Chris Boden makes his picks

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2015 NFL Mock Draft: CSN's Chris Boden makes his picks

I Mock you. Then you Mock me. In our annual dart-throwing contest, I do believe John Fox would love to get an edge rusher as he did in his first drafts that began defensive transformations in Carolina (Julius Peppers) and Denver (Von Miller). They could decide to be patient with Shane Ray's toe injury that could take up to five months of recovery. They could buy into Randy Gregory's lightning bolt pass rush and hope to add to his 235-pound frame and subtract his marijuana issues. If Vic Beasley's there, they might jump on him.

But in this scenario, I still believe they go defense over the talented wideout (Kevin White) because of Fox. I think they could be convinced to trade down for an extra first round pick if someone (Cleveland? Ryan Pace's old friends in New Orleans?) really wants someone at number 7. But if they stay, and they go defense, Danny Shelton is so unique, been so durable, with a knack to also pass rush and likely potential to anchor and dominate up to a decade in this defense, that the options Fox currently has available in Jeremiah Ratliff and Ego Ferguson take a back seat to selecting him.

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

I also believe the Titans will move the second overall pick if they get either Sam Bradford or Philip Rivers in return. The thinking here is the guy in Philly shakes things up early, steals the national headlines and conversation again, and finds a way to get the quarterback he's wanted all along.

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

Lovie Smith is confident he can keep the most talented QB in draft on straight and narrow.

2. Philadelphia Eagles via trade with Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB), Oregon

Chip Kelly sends Sam Bradford and the Eagles' No. 20 pick to Tennessee to get his Duck.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr. (OLB), Florida

Gus Bradley fills his "LEO" spot over super-versatile lineman Leonard Williams.

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

Also tempted by Williams, but Derek Carr is given a go-to guy.

5. Washington Redskins: Leonard Williams (DL), USC

Shouldn't have dropped this far and they listen to offers, but grab him over an edge rusher.

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

Bowles is a "D" man, and concerns about others allow Combine star to jump.

7. Chicago Bears: Danny Shelton (DT), Washington

With injury to Ray & issues with Gregory, the best value is with Shelton or White. Fox wants defense and goes with durable, run-stopping freak who can pressure and hopes deep WR class lasts. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray (DE), Missouri

Ex-Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn needs an edge rusher and will wait for Ray's toe to heal.

9. New York Giants: Todd Gurley (RB), Georgia

The two-year first round drought for running backs ends despite the ACL. Odell and now Gurley.

10. St. Louis Rams: Kevin White (WR), West Virginia

Some much-needed juice for the 28th-ranked offense.

 

11. Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State

Watch out for Zimmer's defense: Waynes follows Barr, Floyd, Rhodes & Smith as first rounders the past four years.

12. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Scherff (OT), Iowa

Higher value than this. Josh McCown gets a little protection. Worry about wide receiver at No. 19.

13. New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory (OLB), Nebraska

Rob Ryan's defense fell from No. 4 to No. 31 in 2014. They'll hope his lanky frame fills a bit and his career won't go up in smoke.

14. Miami Dolphins: Breshad Perriman (WR), Central Florida

Hartline and Wallace out. Stills, Jennings, & now Perriman in to help Landry and Tannehill.

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

So many exits on defense and Justin Smith considering retirement. The repairs start here.

16. Houston Texans: Kevin Johnson (CB), Wake Forest

Stock skyrocketing. Jonathan Joseph is 31. More help for Watt (and Clowney?)

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

Slow to pull trigger on sending Rivers to Titans at No. 2, they get protection for him, get running back later.

18. Kansas City Chiefs: DeVante Parker (WR), Louisville

Not far behind Cooper and White, he fills a need to pair with Maclin.

19. Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Strong (WR), Arizona State     

As promised at No. 12. You're welcome, Josh.

20. Tennessee Titans via trade with Philadelphia Eagles: Bud Dupree (OLB), Kentucky

Not quite the value the Bears needed at No. 7, but shouldn't have lasted this long.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford

They keep trying to find ways to help Andy Dalton's performance match his pay.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Collins (S), Alabama

The clear-cut best at his position. Polamalu's replacement as defensive makeover continues.

23. Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown (DT), Texas

Piece for the post-Suh/Fairley Era — stopgap Ngata not too far behind. 

24. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon (RB), Wisconsin

An effective new toy for Palmer to mix in with targets Fitzgerald & Brown.

25. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphries (OT), Florida

A need filled to help preserve Cam (besides his yogurt).

26. Baltimore Ravens: Nelson Agholor (WR), USC

Torrey Smith & Jacoby Jones are gone. Marc Trestman likes the tools in his toolbox.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Peters (CB), Washington

Discipline issues but strong in press/man. Fills a clear need in Big D.

28. Denver Broncos: Cam Erving (C), Florida State

Potential Pro Bowler replaces now-Bear Montgomery. Snapped for Jameis, now Peyton.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Bernardrick McKinney (ILB), Mississippi State

Edges out Clemson's Anthony & UCLA's Kendricks at his position to infuse some youth.

30. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma

So the Bears, Lions & Pack all pick DTs. Is the North turning Black and Blue again?

31. New Orleans Saints: Devin Smith (WR), Ohio State

The pick they get from Seattle for Graham gives Brees an alternative deep threat.

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

Somebody has to replace Revis & Browner. Second Bayou Bengal first rounder named Collins.

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

The Chicago Bears' offensive line was viewed as one of the team's biggest strengths at the start of the 2019 season. By the time the year came to an end, it was considered one of the club's biggest weaknesses. 

The most concerning issue with the offensive line's regression was that it wasn't isolated to a single player. All five starters played a part in the disappointing performance.

The biggest letdown came at right guard. Kyle Long, even when healthy, was a far cry from the player who at one time was considered one of the most talented offensive linemen in the league. His body failed him again, leading to another injury-shortened year that continued a streak of four straight seasons of nine games or less. Long decided to retire this offseason, leaving the Bears with a big void that GM Ryan Pace has to fill this offseason.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Long was replaced by Rashaad Coward, and while Coward's play wasn't terrible, he isn't the long-term answer the Bears need in the starting lineup. 

Chicago didn't fare much better at offensive tackle, where Bobby Massie and Charles Leno, Jr. each had a season to forget. Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6). The offense didn't stand a chance as a result. It's unlikely either player will be replaced in 2020, but more depth (at the very least) is needed.

And let's not forget the drama at center and right guard, where Cody Whitehair and James Daniels were forced to switch positions midseason because of Daniels' struggles at the pivot. Both players fared well once the swap was made. Whitehair finished the year with the Bears' eighth-highest grade on offense from PFF, while Daniels' 70.3 was third-best.

NFL offenses simply don't stand a chance without a functional and consistent offensive line. The 2019 Bears are proof of that. But don't expect sweeping changes (sans right guard) to be made this offseason. Leno, Jr., Massie, Whitehair and Daniels will begin 2020 as starters, and there's a good chance Coward will too. There might be a chance to add a starting-quality player in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and the Bears should take advantage of that opportunity if it presents itself. But with salary-cap issues and limited draft capital, Chicago may have little choice but to give this unit another season to prove they are, in fact, one of the better starting-fives in the NFC.

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Recently on the always-light-hearted, analytical-bending Pat McAfee Show, the former Indianapolis Colts player turned radio host weighed in on the Bears’ decision to keep Mitch Trubisky under center for the upcoming season. McAfee believes it’s time the Bears climb back into relevancy by replacing Trubisky with former-MVP Cam Newton:

If I was the Chicago Bears, I would be trying to get Cam Newton. What's the worst that could happen? He stinks? You guys stink anyways. 

With a “what do you have to lose?” mantra, McAfee believes that the Bears should swap out Trubisky for the Panthers' star. Newton is not a free agent, however; it's possible his time with the Panthers could be up,  as it's been heavily-rumored that they'll trade him away this offseason. Newton was sidelined most of the 2019 season with back-to-back injuries, first in his shoulder, then his ankle. If they trade away Newton, the Panthers could allot the money to rebuilding their team around one of the league’s best running backs, Christian McCaffery.