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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock: Bears

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

The Chicago Bears made clear their intentions of making the 2014 NFL draft an endeavor in which they load up on defenders, despite fortifying in that area throughout free agency.

ESPN.com's Todd McShay revealed his fifth 2014 NFL mock draft on ESPN Insider Insider today, with this one based on the premise of taking players he would select as opposed to simply projecting what the teams around the league might do.

At No. 14, the Bears need to strongly consider adding at cornerback, safety, linebacker or along the defensive line. McShay projected in his previous mock draft that Chicago would select defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and this time he’s saying the Pittsburgh star is the player he would select if he were making such decisions for the Bears.

If the draft plays out the way McShay would go, the Bears will have added a seventh defensive lineman who wasn’t on the roster in 2013.

Interestingly, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. also predicted last week Insider that the Bears would take Donald in his Mock Draft 4.0. McShay and Kiper have been consistent in projecting Donald to the Bears throughout the pre-draft process.

Kiper wrote: “The Bears added Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen in free agency, a big help to the defensive line. But by the end of last season -- with injuries to blame -- no defensive line was in worse shape than Chicago's, and the team still needs to stack up some more sandbags up front, or they're going to be in trouble against any team with a decent run game. Donald is the most disruptive interior defender in this draft, and precisely what the Bears need, a play-wrecker from the 3-tech role.”

Although McShay's and Kiper’s consistent projections of Donald going to Chicago might come off as repetitive, it makes the most sense for the club, considering the roster doesn’t feature a legitimate 3-technique capable of generating the pass rush required to make the scheme truly go. Veteran Jeremiah "Jay" Ratliff is expected to play nose tackle in 2014, with Stephen Paea and Nate Collins competing for the 3-technique position.

On passing downs, the Bears could move defensive end Lamarr Houston inside to the 3-technique, and slide Willie Young outside to play at the end opposite Jared Allen.

Adding Donald would only increase the team’s potential pass-rushing combinations, while adding a player to the rotation who is capable of making an immediate contribution.

In McShay’s last mock draft, he mentioned the 3-technique defensive tackle in the Tampa 2 system as being “the most important position in that scheme.”

Back in January, Bears general manager Phil Emery expressed the same sentiment.

“The under-tackle position in the scheme that we’re in is the engine that drives the defense,” he said.