NFC North: Chip Vaughn
During his pre-draft news conference Tuesday, Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo issued this plea:
"Don't beat us up too badly if we don't [draft a wide receiver]."
Which brought up this fair point: We've spent so much time discussing the likelihood of the Bears grabbing a receiver in the second round (No. 49 overall) that we've overlooked the other possibilities. Namely, safety.
Kevin Payne figures to start at one safety position, but the departure of Mike Brown has left the Bears with a hole at the other spot. (For now, we're assuming that free-agent signee Josh Bullocks might not be a long-term solution.) As a result, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago suggests they will draft two safeties this weekend.
Could one of them be at No. 49 overall? The safety position generally is not as highly-valued as receiver, which means the Bears should have a much better chance at acquiring one of the draft's best safeties than they would in getting a top receiver.
For some help in gauging the safety market, let's turn to ESPN analyst Todd McShay -- who published a seven-round mock draft Tuesday. You'll need an Insider subscription to view the entire draft, but I can tell you McShay had three safeties coming off the board in the seven picks before Chicago's turn arrived in the second round.
Here's how it went:
Given that scenario, McShay gave Penn State receiver Derrick Williams to the Bears at No. 49. (Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi was off the board at this point, but Ohio State's Brian Robiskie was still available.) Oregon safety Patrick Chung then went to Dallas at No. 51, and the next safety didn't come off the board until McShay gave Wake Forest's Chip Vaughn to Denver in the third round. (No. 84 overall, ironically one of the picks Chicago gave the Broncos in the Jay Cutler trade.)
I won't pretend to suggest whom the Bears might like in this group or what they might do if McShay's scenario materialized. Would they try trading up a few spots? We will have to wait and see how it plays out. But if nothing else, this exercise should give you some idea of what issues the Bears will be facing Saturday as the second round unfolds.