The Chicago Bears did nothing to improve the offensive line that has failed the past two seasons to protect quarterback Jay Cutler.
However, new general manager Phil Emery, in his first time running a draft, addressed the lack of pass-rush pressure by taking Shea McClellin in the first round. While the 6-3 1/2, 260-pound McClellin may be a bit of a tweener, he has a track record for getting after the quarterback. Round 2 brought another weapon for Cutler in big receiver Alshon Jeffery, who could be special; and in Round 4 Emery gambled on character concern tight end Evan Rodriguez, who is undersized but a talented pass catcher. For the eighth straight year the Bears drafted a safety, but 6-3, 220-pound Brandon Hardin must be converted from cornerback.
WR Alshon Jeffery
Joshua S. Kelly/US Presswire
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. The big knock on the big pass catcher was that Jeffery couldn't run a lick. But the Bears clocked him at 4.47 at his Pro Day, and they believe he possesses almost every other trait needed to become an impact player, especially in the red zone.
Safety Brandon Hardin. At 6-3 and 220 pounds, he had the athleticism to play cornerback at Oregon State, but he projects to strong safety and has the toughness, size and tackling ability to thrive there. Had he not missed the entire 2011 season with a fractured shoulder, Hardin would have been a much hotter prospect, and the Bears are assured that he is 100 percent healthy.
A closer look at the Bears' picks:
Round 1/19 - Shea McClellin, DE, 6-3, 260, Boise State
Bears believe he provides the best chance to immediately upgrade a pass rush that was 29th last season. Played defensive end and linebacker past two seasons, when he had 16.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. Ran a 4.63 40, second fastest among defensive ends at the Combine. Hard-working, football smart, technically sound, quickly finds the football.
Round 2/45 - Alshon Jeffery, WR, 6-3, 216, South Carolina
Bears traded up five spots to make sure they got the highest rated player on their board at 45. Had huge sophomore season in 2010 (88 catches, 1,517 yards, 17.2-yard average, nine touchdowns), but production plummeted last season (49-762-15.6-8). Great red-zone production (23 career touchdowns). Excels at competing for jump balls and adjusting to the ball.
Round 3/79 - Brandon Hardin, S, 6-3, 220, Oregon State
Missed the 2011 season with a fractured shoulder that required season-ending surgery, although he returned to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Has been cleared medically by the Bears. Started 12 games at cornerback as a junior in 2010, but the Bears will play him at strong safety. High marks for physical, aggressive tackling.
Round 4/111 - Evan Rodriguez, TE, 6-2, 244, Temple
Undersized, athletic pass-catching tight end had 35 receptions last season for 479 yards, averaging 13.7 yards per catch with two touchdowns. Started 28 games at Temple after transferring from West Virginia. Off-the-field issues. Arrested for assault in '07 and disorderly conduct in April '09. Good speed (4.56) and a natural pass catcher with good body control and smooth movement skills to adjust to the ball in the air.
Round 6/184 - Isaiah Frey, CB, 5-11, 188, Nevada
Had five interceptions and a national-best 21 pass breakups as a senior. Three-year starter. Does not play a physical game and has unrefined footwork. Has good closing speed but gives too much cushion in coverage. Solid 40-yard dash time (4.46) at pro day.
Round 7/220 - Greg McCoy, CB/KR, 5-10, 181, Texas Christian
Led the Mountain West and was sixth in the nation with a 30.6-yard kickoff-return average in 2011, when he had 94- and 99-yard returns for touchdowns. Started all 13 games at cornerback each of the last two seasons. Ran a 4.44 40 at his pro day.
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