As the initial frenzy of free agency subsides, it’s becoming clearer which way teams are leaning for May’s draft. Not surprisingly, a majority of the Bears’ moves have been defensive. They made their biggest splash at defensive end, releasing Julius Peppers to free up cap space while signing Lamarr Houston and Willie Young.
GM Phil Emery has scratched the surface at safety, signing Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings, but as Ross Read pointed out, Emery is still looking at other players for this position and neither is a guaranteed starter in September.
The question now is will the Bears target the defensive line or cornerback first in the draft? It’s crucial to get these dominoes to fall correctly since every team in the division is looking to fill holes at these positions. The Bears added fuel to this fire by poaching Young from Detroit.
At defensive line, Minnesota has shown interest in the Bears’ Henry Melton while they’ve failed to re-sign Jared Allen so far. Green Bay has a bunch of unsigned guys on their line, but it’s rumored B.J. Raji is close to a deal and GM Ted Thompson is known for waiting to make moves in free agency. As I mentioned, Chicago created a hole for Detroit already with Young.
In the secondary Chicago and Detroit are both hurting. The Lions let safety Louis Delmas go to Miami and they need a solid number one corner. Chicago just re-signed Charles Tillman but safety Major Wright has been an expected casualty since season’s end still leaving a hole at safety.
If the Bears go with a defensive tackle in the first round they can expand their versatility on the line. This will however hurt their chances at getting a premiere corner. They need a big, physical corner that can stay with big receivers and help make plays in space in a division with dynamic skilled position players.