There are a few voices we listen to in the Mock Draft universe more than others, and Mel Kiper is one of them (no matter how wrong his projections end up being). He just came out with a new three-round Mock Draft at ESPN, so let's see who he has the Bears spending their first three picks on.
In the first round, he has them taking Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder. Here is his rationale.
I've said before that Chicago should be thrilled if Solder is available here. He has added bulk to a 6-foot-8 frame, making him a guy who could help in a run game that really fell off in 2010. All the questions about his toughness aside, Chicago let Jay Cutler take far too many hits over the past two seasons. Mike Martz will run the ball if he can block for it. Solder has the frame to become a bulldozer, and the athleticism to move along the line and help on either side.
It's no surprise to see the Bears taking an offensive lineman, but to see Solder in this spot is a little eye-opening. He's raw, but he is still considered among the best tackle prospects in the draft, and has been projected to go much higher than this before. I also think the Bears would like a prospect who is more ready to play than Solder is. If he's available, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bears take him, but I don't expect him to be there.
In the second round, Kiper has the Bears taking North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin. Austin would have been an early first round pick if he had played this year, and I expect someone to fall in love with his potential and take him earlier than this.
Kiper has the Bears taking Penn St. offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski in the third round. If the Bears are serious about upgrading their offensive line, than doubling up in the first few rounds might be a good way to do that.