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NFL Draft 2012: Bears Will Select Illini DE Whitney Mercilus, According To Bucky Brooks' Mock Draft

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery is on record saying he's looking at seven players in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday night. The Bears will certainly have plenty of options with the No. 19 overall pick, though it looks more and more like they'll be targeting a defensive player.

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One player who has been tied to the Bears for months is Illinois Fighting Illini defensive end Whitney Mercilus. In his latest mock draft at, Bucky Brooks has Mercilus going to Chicago at No. 19.

The Bears could look to add another receiver to the lineup to help Jay Cutler take the offense to another level, but the opportunity to add an athletic rusher like Mercilus will help Chicago compete against a talented slate of quarterbacks in the NFC North. Mercilus led the nation with 16 sacks, and he could provide an immediate impact playing opposite Julius Peppers on the edges.

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