The Chicago Bears started hot in 2012, but faded down the stretch before eventually missing the playoffs. Offensive line play was a sore spot for the team all year, and while the defense was incredible for a stretch, age and injury slowed them down by the end of the year.
With that in mind, it's no surprise that the newest mock draft updates from ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the Bears drafting help for the offensive line and the defense.
Kiper has the Bears selecting Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker:
A fourth-year junior, Fluker was allowed to participate at the Senior Bowl, and he took advantage. He has great size, and has extremely long arms he can use to move and frustrate pass-rushers. It's possible he was overlooked a little during the season because the level of play along the Bama offensive line was so good. I think when Marc Trestman starts rolling the tape on the Bears, he's going to see that the offensive line simply has to see a talent infusion. Fluker could be the best one the Bears have by the end of his rookie year.
Offensive tackle is probably the team's greatest need, so Fluker would make sense.
McShay, meanwhile, has Chicago taking Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o as a replacement for the aging Brian Urlacher:
Left tackle is the Bears' biggest need, but they cannot afford to miss at that position again after whiffing on the likes of Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams. Any tackle still on the board would be a reach here, and if Chicago elects to let 35-year old MLB Brian Urlacher walk in free agency, Te'o would be an interesting replacement with his three-down ability.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar released his latest mock draft on Monday, and like Kiper, has the Bears getting help on the offensive line. However, instead of taking Fluker, he has them taking North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper.