2011 NFL Draft | Chicago Bears Team Needs
The Chicago Bears reached the NFC Championship game and missed out on the Super Bowl by a touchdown, despite losing Jay Cutler for nearly an entire half. Just getting to that point was impressive, considering their pedestrian offense throughout 2010.
The Bears rode a steady defense as far as they could in 2010, and clearly have to take a step back and address some major issues on offense. With some key holes filled and a few depth adds on defense, Chicago could be right back in the mix for a Super Bowl run in 2011.
Biggest Needs: WR, OL, RB
The Bears’ offense let them down in the NFC Championship game, so Chicago needs to get Jay Cutler some real help by adding a true number one receiver. They might try to accomplish this via free agency, but they’d do themselves a huge favor by adding another play-maker at the position, regardless. Chicago will be able to choose from speedy receivers like Titus Young, Torrey Smith, and Vincent Brown, while a big target like Jonathan Baldwin could also make an immediate impact.
Another huge area of concern is Chicago’s constantly shaky offensive line. Chicago desperately needs an upgrade at left tackle, and while there aren’t the number of elite tackles like in most drafts, there are plenty of quality tackles that could develop into solid NFL linemen. Nate Solder and Derek Sherrod should be gone by the time Chicago picks in the first round, but they can still land a quality tackle like Gabe Carimi or Tyron Smith in the first round. If they wait until the second round, they can still get a solid tackle in DeMarcus Love, as well. On that some note, the Bears could use some help at guard, where they could go after Marcus Cannon in the first, or Danny Watkins in the second.
After the Bears have addressed their line and possibly land a stud receiver, they could look at a power running back in the middle rounds. Chester Taylor is a fine third down back, but neither he or Matt Forte are a true short yardage or goal-line back. The Bears could grab Wisconsin’s John Clay in the third or fourth round and give themselves a brute runner that can do the dirty work.
Biggest Needs: LB, DT, DE
Chicago has always been about defense, so it shouldn’t change come draft time. Brian Urlacher heads a solid line-backing corps, but not one that isn’t without age. They could stand to get younger at any spot at the position, and could still find a quality linebacker in the third or fourth round, where Greg Jones, Casey Matthews, and Martez Wilson could all potentially be available.
Tommie Harris is an elite defensive tackle when he wants to be, but his character and work ethic has always been at least slightly of concern, and the Bears may want to look for a new guy to add to the rotation, as well as become an eventual replacement. If they attack this position early, a second round look at Marvin Austin is possible (if he falls that far), while Phil Taylor and Muhammad Wilkerson could be had in the third round, and would both be solid additions to the middle of their line.
Lastly, Chicago needs to get another body to help their pass rush. Julius Peppers is a beast when he’s on, but he can’t do it all by himself, and adding another guy to the defensive end rotation could keep him and Israel Idonije fresh. South Carolina’s Cliff Matthews could be an excellent addition, as he has the versatility to line-up as an end or as a linebacker. If Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt is available at the end of the first, Chicago would have to consider him, as well.
Adding some secondary depth is another area the Bears could work on, although beefing up their pass rush will assists their corners in the long run.
Overall, the Bears appear to be built to continue making a run at the playoffs, and possibly a Super Bowl. However, they must add some more talent for Jay Cutler to use, and they need to keep beefing up their steady defense.