Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
The Chicago Bears desperately need to upgrade their offensive line, defensive secondary and linebacking depth for the future, but what caliber of college prospects at each position are available in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft?
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was hired by the team precisely because his predecessor, Jerry Angelo, failed to draft well in the opening rounds of NFL Drafts. In a way, the Bears have admitted that they are poorly prepared for the future.
That means Emery will enter his second draft with the franchise staring into the abyss and trying to figure out which direction the team will go now that Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers are all pushing the wrong side of 30.
Then again, Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte can't be expected to succeed on offense and carry the load unless the Bears finally put together something other than the worst offensive line in the league.
The Bears have immediate needs on the offensive line, at tight end, in the linebacking corps and possibly in the defensive secondary. Which way will Emery lean when it comes to the 2013 NFL Draft? Peter Schrager of FOX Sports recently released his first 2013 Mock Draft, and he has Chicago selecting Oklahoma Sooners offensive tackle Lane Johnson No. 20 overall. Schrager added some sad commentary with the pick: "I'm not doing flips over Johnson and I'm not sure he's a first-round talent, but if he's the top guy on their board, he's the guy they need to take."
Players still on his board in that range include LSU free safety Eric Reid, offensive tackle Dallas Thomas of Tennessee, and Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas.