CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2015 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what draft day could have in store.
Bears pre-draft situation
Landing Antrel Rolle was a priority and signing the veteran safety represented a major upgrade even with Rolle’s best years behind him. Ryan Mundy was the Bears’ second-leading tackler last season and tied with Kyle Fuller for team honors with four interceptions. Between Mundy and Rolle, with Brock Vereen in the pipeline, the Bears have perhaps their best combo of experience and talent in the deep secondary in a decade.
Fuller was a certified hit with the No. 14 pick of the draft, flashing early with interceptions in the win at San Francisco and quietly playing beyond his rookie year and already is viewed as a foundation block in the secondary.
[DRAFT PREVIEW: Offseason moves lower LB need level]
“The way he played instinctually, as well as the physical skills, I saw a guy that improved as the season went on,” said coach John Fox. “He’s a guy that we’re excited about, have a good grade on, and looking forward to working with him looking forward.”
Less secure is the spot opposite Fuller, where Tim Jennings had eight pass breakups but went without an interception for the first time in seven years. “I think Tim will tell you the same thing: I don’t think he had one of his better years a year ago, No. 1,” Fox said. “I think he can play outside and play inside as far as experience. I think our biggest thing is to get him to perform better than he did a year ago.”
If he doesn’t, the Bears have added both depth or a possible replacement. They re-signed promising nickel back Demontre Hurst and corner Al Louis-Jean to two-year extensions and Alan Ball for one year.
Jennings was given a four-year deal worth $22.4 million, half of it guaranteed, coming off his second straight Pro Bowl season. But he turns 32 in December and will be under some roster pressure throughout this offseason.
[DRAFT PREVIEW: OL Rebound in 2015 a must but not via draft]
Bears draft priority: Low
The level of need, as with certain other positions (DL, OL), doesn’t completely mean that the Bears have what they need in this position cluster, only that it is well off the “critical” list it was on last year before the Bears secured Fuller. The Rolle signing projects to make Fuller a better corner as well as improve the entire back end of the defense.
The Bears can be expected to grab a corner or safety if a surprise is still on their board in Round 3. The ages of Jennings and Rolle aren’t a concern, and Rolle in particular is in that class of safety reminiscent of Gary Fencik and Shaun Gayle who were effective deep into their careers based on savvy and style of play.
[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans]
Keep an eye on ...
Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio): Relatively inexperienced but physical (5-11, 195) MAC defensive player of the year.
Eric Rowe, Utah: Likely gone by the end of Round 2 but has ideal size (6-1) for CB.
P.J. Willliams, Florida State: Big (6-0, 195) physical corner likened to Charles Tillman.