John Fox began drafts in his two previous stops by addressing the pass rush for Carolina and Denver teams in sore need of just that.
The Bears team he inherits isn't far behind, especially considering the 3-4 base defense they'll operate out of. Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young have little, if no experience rushing out of a two-point stance, where they've been slotted at outside linebacker on the roster. Top free agent prize Pernell McPhee is more of a chess piece to move around where needed.
But after drafting wide receiver Kevin White to fill one need in Round 1 Thursday, that spot screams for attention when Round 2 begins Friday evening. Dante Fowler was the only candidate for that role drafted prior to White, while Clemson's Vic Beasley was chosen by Atlanta on the next pick. But the only other edge rushers chosen came back-to-back, 22nd and 23rd, when Pittsburgh went with Kentucky's Bud DuPree and Fox's ex-team, Denver, traded up with Detroit with the Shane Ray roll-of-the-dice.
Ray was cited for marijuana possession Monday morning following questions about the severity of a turf toe condition which could possibly require surgery.
The positive marijuana test/admission by super-talented Randy Gregory of Nebraska has kept him waiting until today. Is that a sufficient penalty and wake-up call for general manager Ryan Pace to invest in the 39th overall pick tonight, provided he's still there? Or would he go with the more under-the-radar Nate Orchard of Utah, a former wide receiver without the issues? Virginia's Eli Harrold is also still around. Hau'oli Kikaha of Washington might be also. Scheme-versatile defensive ends Henry Anderson of Stanford and Arkansas' Trey Flowers are still on the board, as well.
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If nose/defensive tackle's a priority, Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips, Florida State's Eddie Goldman, and Carl Davis of Iowa are still playing the waiting game.
Safeties Landon Collins — once seemingly a top-15 choice — is waiting until Day 2, as is rising Utah prospect Eric Rowe, among others in a position where the Bears have just four players.
There remains quality at running back and inside linebacker heading into the weekend, the former seemingly holding a greater priority than the latter, especially when looking to add between-the-tackles size to the backfield.