The choice of the Bears at No. 7 in the first and second rounds of the 2015 draft will remain largely speculative until Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dick Butkus announce the picks. But just as the Bears are going through their final analyses of players, trade offers and other variables, CSNChicago.com takes a quick look at one of the priority areas for the Bears as well:
The Bears are still committed to developing an elite defense and pass rush. Two leading prospects are considered to be Vic Beasley from Clemson and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree. Beasley was the initial mock-draft conclusion but general manager Ryan Pace’s thoughts make Beasley-Dupree something of a coin-toss.
Both were hugely productive pass rushers, Beasley collecting 33 career sacks, Dupree 23. Both appear to be solid character individuals. Both delivered impressive, near-identical times in the 40-yard dash and impressive strength indicators.
But Dupree’s 4.56 “40” time was at 269 pounds. Beasley’s 4.53 was at 246 pounds, and that was with muscle added in the offseason. Possibly more significantly, Dupree is 6-4; Beasley is 6-3. The latter is tall enough — offseason priority signing Pernell McPhee is 6-3, as is other rush linebacker Sam Acho.
So that’s tall enough, but Pace twice has stated the value he places on length.
“Length is important,” Pace said as recently as Wednesday. “Now, some guys are able to get away with it, like the [Dwight] Freeneys of the world or the Robert Mathises, because they’ve got such great get-off and edge quickness and ability to bend.
“But for the most part, length is important. I think we talked about that with Pernell McPhee. I think his length really helps him as a pass rusher.”
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McPhee is 280 pounds. Acho is 257. Dupree has length and mass over Beasley, something the new Bears defense places more of a premium on than the 4-3 schemes of Lovie Smith and Mel Tucker, where no linebacker topped 250 pounds. Dupree projects as a stouter player holding the point vs. the run.
Two players with closely similar abilities? The one — Dupree — with 23 more pounds and an inch in height may fit the rush-linebacker/end template Pace, coach John Fox and coordinator Vic Fangio are using.