2016 Chicago Bears NFL Draft Recap; Bears Go Defensive
The Chicago Bears look to be moving in the right direction after a strong draft. Let’s take a deeper look at the 2016 Chicago Bears NFL Draft Recap.
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
In one of the riskier picks of the first round, the Bears traded up to the 9th spot to snag Leonard Floyd. Floyd was at Georgia for three years, but doesn’t leave holding any records or huge marks on the stat sheet as do most top-10 picks. He left with only 17 career sacks, 4.5 in his final year. This is due large in part to Georgia lining him up all over the defense. He even would match up with receivers in the slot. That kind of versatility will help in the NFL.
However, at only 244 pounds, he looks to be a situational pass-rusher early in his career. He will compete with Willie Young and Lamar Houston for playing time opposite Pernell McPhee. He will need to bulk up to be a 3-down player. Nonetheless, Vic Fangio is definitely the right guy to get the best out of a player like Floyd.
Remember when Aldon Smith had 14 sacks in his rookie year with the 49ers? I’m sure the Bears are hoping for similar numbers with Leonard Floyd going into the 2016 season.
Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
This pick was a little surprising. Whitehair was a four-year starter who has experience at left guard and both tackle spots. He will most likely be a guard at the next level, due to the lack of length to stay with guys on the edge. Ryan Pace stressed competition along the offensive line and that is exactly what the Bears have now.
Whitehair, if anything, will sit early in his career and will no doubt be a starter on the line one day. An interior offensive line featuring Whitehair, Hroniss Grasu and Kyle Long can be dominant. With the signing of Ted Larsen and the presence of Matt Slausen, this offensive line competition can be something to keep an eye on come training camp. If I had a nickel for every time I told people to be excited about an offensive line battle, I’d have a nickel.
Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
The Bears want to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The great John Madden once said, “When your arm gets hit, the ball is not going to go where you want it to.” Wise words, John. The problem with the Bears has been quarterbacks’ arms do not get hit and the balls go exactly where they want.
By taking Floyd and Bullard with two of their top three picks, it is clear that pass rushing was a must need coming into this draft. Bullard had 66 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. A number of scouts said he was the top run-stuffing end in the draft. He will most likely play one of the end spots with the Eddie Goldman in the middle and Aikeem Hicks on the other side.
The Bears front seven is slowly, but surely starting to look better and better.
Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia
Kwiatloski played all three linebacker spots in college and can be a quality reserve behind veterans Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. The problem, however, is that the Bears already have guys competing for those spots in Christain Jones, John Timu and Jonathan Anderson.
Kwiatkosi had 303 tackles and 28 for a loss in four seasons with the Mountaineers. His high motor and aggressive play style can, if anything, land him a job on special teams.
Deon Bush, S, Miami
A year after stealing Adrian Amos late in the draft, the Bears may have gotten another good young safety to pair with Amos. Antrel Rolle looks to be the initial starter heading into 2016, but after battling injuries all last season, Bush can see playing time earlier than expected. He is a hard hitting, in-the-box type of safety after accounting for 168 tackles and nine forced fumbles during his career at the U.
Covering guys will be his problem. He will have to work on that to find significant playing time. As of recent, however, mid round safeties have found their way on the Bears field early on due to all the injuries. Bush can contribute on special teams before hopefully transitioning into a starting role.
Deiondre Hall CB, Northern Iowa
Hall has good size at 6’2″, 190 lbs. Teams are looking more and more for taller corners to be able to cover the monster receivers. Former first round pick Kyle Fuller has not quite lived up to expectations and Tracy Porter, who is 29 years old, was only brought back on a one-year deal. After 2016, the cornerback position can be wide open.
Hall had 13 interceptions at Northern Iowa, which no doubt caught the Bears’ attention. The Bears defense simply needs to take the ball away more and Hall can be the ball hawk to help. He may need some time to adjust to the NFL after facing average at best competition at Northern Iowa, but he can possibly be a starter one day in the league.
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
This may be my favorite pick of the Bears’ draft. John Fox has always preferred using a multiple back approach over one guy. After losing Matt Forte via free agency, the Bears bring in thunder in Howard to match the lightning in Jeremy Langford. Howard rushed for 2,800 yards and 22 touchdown over the past two seasons at UAB and Indiana.
The only question for Howard is if he can stay on the field. His decisions to run through people rather than around them has caused him to miss 18 quarters due to injury. The Bears backfield can be one to look out for with Langford, Howard, Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers.
DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary
The Bears decided to load up on defensive backs in this draft. Houston-Carson started at both free safety and cornerback at William & Mary and had a very successful college career. He left college with 293 tackles, 10 interceptions and easily the most impressive stat, nine blocked kicks on special teams.
Some teams go years without blocking one kick and this guy has nine, by himself! Any player with that amount of blocks on special teams will almost definitely find a roster spot and contribute immediately on special teams.
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
This pick makes perfect sense for the Bears. The Bears have been searching for a legit slot receiver for years now and Braverman may turn out to be the guy. He has already drawn comparisons to Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. All three of those guys are top-notch slot receivers.
Eddie Royal was brought in last year, but battled injuries all season long. Braverman could see some playing time sooner than expected if that happens again. In 2015, he caught 108 balls for 1,371 yards and 13 touchdowns. Regardless of the school he came from, those are big numbers. The risk is minimal here with him being a seventh round pick and the payoff could be huge. This was a great pick by Ryan Pace and company.
(2016 Chicago Bears NFL Draft Recap)
(2016 Chicago Bears NFL Draft Recap)