2012 draft: Early look at Bears' needs

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
5:10
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WrightBrendan Maloney/US PresswireKendall Wright is drawing comparisons to speedy Steelers' receiver Mike Wallace.
This year marks just the second time in franchise history the Bears hold the No. 19 overall selection in the NFL Draft. Back in the spring of 1980, the Bears used pick No. 19 to select Louisville linebacker Otis Wilson, who eventually went on to have eight impact seasons on defense before injuries cut short his playing career.

This is the type of player the Bears need to find at No. 19. An impact guy who can contribute immediately, although Wilson didn't technically become a full-time starter until 1981, and remain in the starting line-up for at least the next five or six seasons. Those players do exist. Now it's up to the Bears to find them.

Here is early look at who might be available based on positions of need if the Bears remain at No. 19 in the first round. This list is subject to change based on the upcoming Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, where plays both rise and fall based on performance and interaction with NFL front office personnel.

RECEIVERS


Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Several mock drafts have Floyd going to the Bears at his spot. Based on his college career, it would appear Floyd has the big-time playmaking ability the Bears desperately need at wide receiver.

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: A vertical threat who draws comparisons to Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace. If he's truly the next Wallace, I'm onboard with the selection.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina: Jeffery might be considered a reach at No. 19, but the 6-4 wideout had 3,042 receiving yards in just three seasons in the rough and tumble SEC.

SAFETY


Mark Barron, S, Alabama: Barron represents the best of a weak safety class. He has the reputation of being an intelligent player but also a big-time hitter.

CORNERBACK


[+] EnlargeMark Barron and Jarrett Lee
Marvin Gentry/US PresswireMark Barron may be the best safety in the draft, and it's a position of need for the Bears.
Alfonzo Denard, CB, Nebraska: The Cornhuskers' shutdown corner is pegged by many to be a mid-first round selection.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: Jenkins is supposed to be supremely talented, but troubled off the field. Jerry Angelo stayed away from these picks in the post-Tank Johnson era. Will the new Bears general manager share the same philosophy?

Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: A big cornerback (6-1,194 pounds) who intercepted eight passes and recorded 181 tackles in three college seasons.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN


Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina: Might not make it out of the Top 10, but Coples is a versatile lineman whose calling card is getting after the quarterback.

Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: Lovie Smith wants athletes on the defensive line. Worthy never had huge sack totals at MSU, but has a quick first step and all the necessary athleticism to make an impact in the NFL.

Nick Perry, DE, USC: Not a traditional fit in terms of body type (6-3, 250 pounds) for Smith's defense, but Perry did lead the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks.

LINEBACKER


Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College: At some point the Bears must replace Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Kuechly was the 2011 Butkus Award winner.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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