2012 NFL Mock Draft: Don Banks Projects Bears To Take Whitney Mercilus In First Round

The Chicago Bears are projected to take Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus with the No. 19 overall pick in the latest mock draft from Sports Illustrated's Don Banks. Rumors have come out stating that the Bears may focus on defense at the beginning of the draft after aggressively adding offensive help through free agency and trades, so this projection bodes with those.

Going for an offensive tackle or a cornerback would be solid need/value picks at this point in the round, but pass rushers always carry their own temptation. In Mercilus, the homestate product gives the Bears defense a boost in a division that features games against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford at least four times a year.

For an aging defense, getting some younger talents will likely be a key focus going forward. Julius Peppers is still one of the very best defensive ends in the NFL, but he's getting up there in years and Mercilus would give the Bears another pass rusher to take some pressure off their star players.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on theChicago Bears be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. And drop by SB Nation NFL for more news and notes from around the league.

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