ESPN has two rival Mock Drafters, and they both came out with their latest projections this week. We already talked about who Mel Kiper thinks the Bears might select, so let's take a look at Todd McShay's latest Mock. In the first round, he has the Bears taking North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin. Here is his rationale.
Austin carries a second-round grade and would be a reach here, but there is a big dropoff in this class in the mid-20s and at this point the Bears could take any of about 15-20 players and not see a big difference in talent level. That offsets some of the reach, and the Bears are also desperate for an impact 3-technique tackle who can anchor the front in their Tampa 2 system. Austin is the only tackle on the board with the potential to do that, and if the Bears do their homework and are comfortable they have answered any character questions and can keep Austin focused, this could be an interesting surprise pick.
In McShay's mock draft, there aren't any elite tackle prospects left when the Bears pick in the first round. So McShay has the Bears addressing their need on the other side of the trench. Austin probably would have went a lot higher this year if he had been able to play, so even though he has a low grade, he could actually be solid value here. it is worth pointing out that Kiper thinks the Bears will also take Austin, but in the second round.
McShay has the Bears taking Villanova offensive lineman Benjamin Ijalana in the second round. If the Bears fail to land an offensive lineman in the first round, than taking a flier on a high-upside prospect like Ijalana in the second round might be a good option for them.
In the third round McShay has the Bears taking Hawaii wide receiver Gregory Salas. Salas was extremely productive, but will have to shed the small receiver, small school label in the NFL. Best case scenario, he is similar to Miami's Davone Bess, who had the same pedigree.