With the 2016 NFL draft quickly approaching I just wanted to pick my favorite scenario of each and every pick the Bears have in this years draft.
As i pick them I’m going to do so with a reasonable expectation of which prospects will realistically be there for them. That includes in both the 4th and 6th where the Bears have two picks each. I am going to pick guys I think will be there for the Bears at the spots their in in those rounds and not just the round overall. Like the first 6th rounder will have better players available than the 2nd 6th rounder.
For your reference and convenience I added links to their draft breakdown videos or to their you-tube highlights if they didn’t have a page on draft breakdown. Just click on their name. With that said…Here. We. Go!
Noah Spence — Eastern Kentucky, EDGE. Why pick a troubled kid who was kicked out of the Big Ten? Because he’s the very best edge rusher in this draft. Also he seems to be past those issues. He can beat you inside he can beat you outside.
His hands are deadly too which is huge for me. He also has a huge arsenal of pass rushing moves and counters. He can bend the edge or stunt into the A gap and get in on a quarterback better than any player in this draft. He has good size, but still has room on his frame to add more strength.
Noah Spence is an explosive athlete. Some will point to his disappointing 40 time he had at the combine and at his pro day, but the 10 yard and 20 yard times are at an elite level for a man his size, as well as his jump metrics which show immense explosion. As most people who know about pass rushers it’s that initial explosion off the snap and short area quickness that matters more than long speed.
He dominated the senior bowl week practices. Spence gets a great get off and is relentless with his rush. High motor with high football character with leadership traits in the weight room, film room, and the practice field as well as on the field on game day.
He’s also a true three-down player as he plays the run just as well as he plays the pass with the ability to anchor and hold the edge with a high football IQ able to read plays without diverting from his run fits. This is a kid that will put up insane pressure stats for years to come.
Vernon Butler — Louisiana Tech, DT. Vernon Butler is almost a carbon copy of New York Jets 5 technique Mohammed Wilkerson. Same physical dimensions. Both are tall, long armed, big hands, and have similar measureables with Wilkerson maybe having the slight edge on Butler in overall athleticism. But not by much. Maybe not even enough to make a difference.
Butler epitomizes the term dancing bear. It’s just unfair to move that well with that kind of frame. He showed it off at senior bowl week dominating offensive linemen mercilessly with his combination of size, strength, quickness, and explosion. Was virtually unblockable at times during the week.
Part of thinks butler will be long gone by now, but it’s possible he makes it all the way to the 41st overall pick. I certainly hope so. Bears go front 7 with their first two picks making this defense even younger and tougher than it was up until this point.
KeiVarae Russell — Notre Dame, CB. Guess you can see where my hopeful focus is in this draft, and that’s just getting this defense right and keeping it that way. KeiVarae Russell is the next addition. Tough competitor that has no back-down against anyone. Possesses good size to play outside on flankers and quick enough to play inside against the shifty guys.
Physically he has long arms and big hands to be able to jam and re-route receivers off the line of scrimmage which suits Vic Fangio and Ed Donnatel’s profile of their ideal cornerback. He can also play zone, and has great instincts and recognition from a high football IQ under that skull of his. All in football player Fox will love on his roster.
had great measureables showing speed, quickness, and explosiveness. Tremendous athlete that plays with as much strength and toughness as he does athleticism. Will not hesitate to come up and factor in the run game. Text book tackler to go along with the physicality needed to bring runners with the ball down to the ground.
Bears add to their young core with a bright, passionate tough football player who might be the defensive back steal of the draft.
ROUND FOUR (A):
Malcolm Mitchell — Georgia, WR. Not just my favorite player at this spot but one of my favorite players in the entire draft. Bears finally go offense and get former Georgia wide-out Malcolm Mitchell with their first of two fourth rounders.
Mitchell is a natural born leader. On and off the field. Heavily involved in the community and receiving many awards honoring his community work. Also a two time team captain says it all for his leadership right there. also showed his resolve and love for the game by working his way back after a torn ACL that took nearly (all but one game) his entire 2013 season away and a lot of his 2014.
Mitchell is not just all intangibles however. He’s a tough physically gifted receiver that has RAC ability that can also factor in the return game. Run sharp routes with sudden cuts in and out of breaks sinking his hips perfectly to execute precise routes.
Very tough minded player who blocks and sells routes he’s not involved in. Smart and able to adjust routes on the fly based on defensive formation. Bears add to their overall team toughness adding this very tough wide receiver.
ROUND FOUR (B):
Kevin Byard — Middle Tennessee State, SS. Kevin Byard is an interesting ad exciting prospect. He’s a big safety but not a thumper in the run game, but is fluid, and quick in coverage. The videos I’ve seen of him have him playing significant snaps in the slot. He also gets the ball back for your offense. Had a total 19 career picks, and 17 pass breakup. He is a decent technician as a tackler despite not a guy that’ll lower the boom. Not a wimp he will tackle, but prefers to wrestle you down than knock you down.
In a lot of ways his profile reminds me a lot of ex-Bears safety Mike Brown only with a bigger frame, and less physicality as a tackler. He’s not as refined as Brown was coming out, but he has all the tools to be as good and be able to last longer with adequate NFL safety size. He has a high football IQ, the leadership and communication skills to direct fellow defensive backs in and out of various coverage’s pre-snap, and ball skills of a wide receiver which he was in high school. also has great physical traits like long arms, wide frame explosive vertical, and 4.4 speed.
Had a very productive career. Highly decorated. This little blurb from his NFL.com profile page: “Although Byard looks and plays (312 career tackles) like a strong safety, he often finds himself in the back half of the secondary guarding the prize for the Blue Raiders. Hes at the top of the active player career interception list with 19, scoring on four of them in his first two years on campus, and has broken up 17 passes during that time. A four-time all-conference pick, Byard was a second-team All-Sun Belt pick (and FWAA Freshman All-American) in 2012 before garnering honorable mention All-Conference USA notice in 2013 and first team accolades in C-USA the past two seasons.”
D.J. White — Georgia Tech, CB. This was a tough choice between two CB’s who offer a lot of the same traits. ultimately I chose Georgia Tech’s D.J. White over Minnesota’s Eric Murray for his better ball skills. Murray is very good at tracking the ball but breaking passes up more than picking them off. Both have good character on and off the field and were team captains in 2015 showing the respect of their teammates and the ability to lead. Both are studious in the film room and won’t get fooled much out there.
Physically they both are similar with Murray having more of a thick build. Both are physical with Murray more text book of a tackler as White will kind of drop his head and dive for runners legs. Both will create fumbles. Both have nice length, good speed and explosive leaping ability to high point, and knock would be completions to the ground for in-completions.
As mentioned White is better at pulling in passes for interceptions. Murray I suppose can learn those ball skills if he worked on it, but White is already proven to have that skill which is huge for a team that had very little coming from their defensive backfield. Both offer added value on special teams and can play all four phases.
They both excel in press, off, and zone coverage showing versatility to play any corner back position on the field. White needs to add more strength while Murray seems to come with an NFL ready build, and strength to compete with stronger NFL receivers, and backs.
If it sounds like I was giving equal time to both the pick and the runner up hats because I was. This is such a coin flip that if both were there and the choice as either one I would have little contention with the choice if any.
ROUND FIVE (A):
Corey Davis — Western Michigan, WR. Honestly Davis might be had much latter and maybe even as a UDFA, but I would not risk it as I see no one with the value he gives you at this spot on the field, except maybe his teammate Daniel Braverman. Keep that name in mind by the way. I came across this guy watching my second 4th round choice Kevin Bryard.
You’ll how for yourself if you take the time out to click on Bryard’s link as it will seem as much as Davis’ video as Bryard. Maybe even more so. Just one big play after another.
Davis has size, speed, and quickness. When watching his videos you see a highly competitive player that offers versatility to play outside and inside. Might be big for a slot receiver, but I see no reason why it can’t work as he is more than quick enough and he can build strength along the way. Shows bravery catching inside routes and not afraid of contact. Plays with physicality.
When watching this kid all you see is a playmaker. Offers the ability to get deep to blow the top off, or catching an underneath crossing route and take it to the house. Can get RAC, and YAC yardage. As soon as you see him get past the third level with the ball in his hands he pulls away like a fine thoroughbred. Might end up being my favorite draft pick when all is said and done in this class for the Bears.
ROUND SIX (A):
Victor Ochi — Stoney Brook, EDGE. Victor Ochi is a ball of fire off the edge. Quite frankly I’m surprised he’s rated this far down. Sure he’s a small school guy playing against small school competition, but there are tons of small school guys that make it in the NFL every year. This kid has all the traits too. Speed, size, motor, and he’s an edge bending beast.
He is a bit raw in his technique, but has all the tools to coach whatever he needs into his arsenal. Has heavy hands and long arms and uses them pretty effectively against small school tackles but that won’t fly in the NFL. He also needs to work on his counter moves too.
Once committed he usually just tries to win with his first move which is usually coming off the edge trying to beat the Offensive tackle with his insanely quick get off. In the NFL Tackles will be on to this and just use his momentum to direct him wherever he has committed to. He’ll need to win with more diversity. Also needs to work on his awareness. Got beat with a lot of chop blocks. Thankfully for him those have been outlawed, but NFL linemen, and offensive coordinators will find other ways to exploit his tunnel vision approach.
It suddenly has gotten crowed with edge rushers on this team, but the Bears have enough to where they can bring Ochi along slowly and teach him everything he needs to know to be the pro bowl caliber edge defender his talent suggests he should be. I also think he has the athletic ability to play on special teams, and contribute a few snaps at various spots including inside storming the A gap. Just watch the video I linked, and you’ll see why I am so high on this kid.
ROUND SIX (B):
Daryl Worley — West Virginia, CB. Yet another case wee I basically flipped a coin from one prospect to another. In this case the eventual chose one Daryl Worley and runner up Samford cornerback James Bradberry. Again both have similar traits and profiles. Both are long armed tall cornerbacks that can play press,off and zone coverages on either side which make them somewhat scheme transcendent.
They both offer positional versatility as well as it seems like they can not only play either side of the field but have the size and physical demeanor to transition to either safety position as well.
They also both run and jump well able to high point the ball, although the edge goes to Worley in that department and seems a little more of a ball hawk than Badberry which is why I give him the slightest of edges. Again with these two I wouldn’t take issue with either choice. They also profile as being helpful on special teams.
There is a bit of a red flag on Worley’s character as he did get suspended and missed his last game (2015 Cactus bowl) at West Virginia due to academic reasons. The other issue was an assault charge against a woman at a night club and received probation and a 2 game suspension from the team in 2014. his claim was he was protecting his girlfriend who was being assaulted by this woman.
If the Bears seem fine with this history he should be a nice late round value as he was a playmaker with 12 pass breakups, and 6 picks on his way to all big 12 honors in his senior season.