The Bears have committed all of their resources in the draft thus far on continuing a dramatic overhaul of one of the worst defenses in franchise history. Will Phil Emery on Saturday opt to add some depth on the other side of the ball, or continue the defense’s transformation? Here are a few offensive and defensive players who could be on Chicago’s radar with their final four picks – Round Four (117 overall), Round Five (156 overall), Round Six (183 overall) and Round Six (191 overall).
Alabama QB A.J. McCarron: Emery indicated the Bears are unlikely to address backup QB, but did anyone think McCarron would still be around at this point? All he did was win at Alabama, and McCarron certainly has the intelligence and decision-making Marc Trestman looks for in the position. It would likely take their fourth-rounder – perhaps even a trade up – but this idea is too intriguing not to at least warrant the Bears’ consideration.
Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson: Another player who wasn’t expected to be around this long, Richardson is a massive specimen (6-6, 336 pounds) who manned the blind side in the best division in football a year ago. He projects as a right tackle in the pros, a spot where the Bears, frankly, would benefit from adding competition along with Jordan Mills. Richardson has Emery’s major college pedigree, and he’s a terrific value if still around at No. 117 overall.
LSU SS Craig Loston: Bears fans are undoubtedly antsy at this point, what with arguably their team’s greatest need unaddressed after three rounds. Emery spent time talking to SEC coaches about second-rounder Ego Ferguson – is it possible he also did his due diligence on Loston, a physical safety near the line of scrimmage who also racked up six picks in the SEC over the past two seasons? Loston lacks the height Emery craves, but he boasts smarts, special-teams experience and enough flexibility to function in space. The Bears might be able to snag Loston with their fifth-rounder.
Boston College RB Andre Williams: A departure from the SEC trend, Williams was the nation’s leading rusher last season, a muscular bell cow who looks to lower the boom on defenders. As we’ve discussed frequently, it’s one of the few qualities the Bears’ offense is missing. No, he’s not a great receiver, yet, Williams has surprising wiggle for a 230-pounder, and he’s certainly built to withstand the rigors of NFL life.
NC State CB Dontae Johnson: Another tall corner with an impressive blend of speed and leaping ability, Johnson (6-2, 200) is an “Emery guy” because of his untapped potential as a pure athlete – and past safety experience. Johnson is willing in run support and might just last into the final rounds as an intriguing flier candidate.
UCLA DE Cassius Marsh: Admittedly, this is a projection type pick, as Marsh might be more naturally suited to stand up in a 3-4. But his size (6-4, 252), relentlessness and versatility are impossible to ignore. The Bears have a logjam at defensive end, but Marsh might be the kind of jack-of-all trades that can appeal to the Bears as another late-round flier.