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Gabriel: Bears, NFC North Draft Review

By Greg Gabriel--

(CBS) If the Bears are going to compete for NFC North titles anytime soon, they have to catch up to the rest of the division in regards to top-level talent. To do that, they must also acquire the type of players needed to play in their new offensive and defensive schemes. That started in free agency with the acquisition of players like outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, Antrel Rolle, Ray McDonald and Jarvis Jenkins on defense and Eddie Royal on offense.

With the bulk of free agency over, the next step in player acquisition was the draft, where the Bears will truly hope to play catch-up in the division.

The Bears went into the draft with needs at wide receiver, defensive line, safety and offensive line, and they came out of it with players at those positions. While all of these new players won't come in and start right away, they will compete for roster spots and playing time as rookies.

Here's my breakdown of the top draftees/possible contributors for each team and how I see them fitting in.


Round 1: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

For weeks going into the draft, White looked like the obvious choice of the Bears. He will start off as the obvious replacement for Brandon Marshall. While he may be a bit smaller than Marshall, he's much faster and more athletic. Coming from the West Virginia spread, White will need to learn the nuances of an NFL route tree, but he has the natural traits to be a dynamic player right from the get-go. I expect that White will be a starter as a rookie and be a solid complement to Alshon Jeffery and Royal.

Round 2: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

With the Bears switching to a 3-4 base defense, there was a need for a run-stuffing nose tackle. After Danny Shelton, Goldman was the best nose tackle available in the draft. I felt he was a player who would get drafted in the later part of the first round.

Goldman has the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive front, but as a rookie he will play primarily on the nose. Jeremiah Ratliff has experience playing the nose in a 3-4, so for at least the early part of the season, I can see Ratliff and Goldman playing in a rotation.

Round 3: Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon

Grasu started 52 games for the Ducks and is as athletic as the come for a center. While he may not start right away, he should take over the center position before midseason. He has the smarts and awareness to make all the line calls and is a natural leader. His biggest transition will be playing with the quarterback under center for a good majority of the time.

Round 4: Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State

Langford will prove to be the perfect complement to Matt Forte. Langford is a tough inside runner, a reliable pass blocker and a reliable receiver. He ran for nearly 3,000 yards over the last two seasons. While I doubt Langford will be a starter in the near future, having him play in a rotation with Forte will help both the offense and Forte.

Round 5: Adrian Amos, S, Penn State

Amos has the physical traits to come in and start at free safety. He has excellent size, speed and overall athleticism. He has some corner-type cover skills and will be able to play some man-to-man coverage when needed. Where he needs to improve is with his run support and tackling. He showed flashes of that at Penn State but wasn't consistent.

Round 6: Tayo Fabuluje, OT, TCU

Fabuluje is a big, powerful wide body who will need to lose some weight in order to be effective at the NFL level. While he was about 350 pounds at the NFL Combine, he was down to 332 at TCU's pro day. Don't be surprised if Fabuluje spends his rookie year on the practice squad. I also wouldn't be surprised if he ends up playing guard in the future.


Round 1: Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke

There were some who felt that Tomlinson was more of a second-round talent. Still, he has the traits to come in and start at guard, and that's most important. Coupled with Larry Warford, the Lions can have one of the league's best guard tandems in the league in another year. Tomlinson is a powerful run blocker and shows excellent hand use in the passing game.

Round 2: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

Abdullah may not have ideal size, but he proved to be a durable back while at Nebraska. He's as quick to the hole as any back and has outstanding instincts. Though he lacks size, he's an every-down back who will also help in the passing game. He has had some problems is with ball security. If he can't improve in that area, he won't stay on the field long.

Round 3: Alex Carter, CB, Stanford

Carter has the traits to play cornerback or safety in the NFL. He was a reliable player while at Stanford and was productive against both the run and pass. I can see him starting off as the Lions' third cornerback as a rookie and be a starter by his second year.

Round 4: Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn

Everyone thought that the Lions would be taking a defensive tackle early on in the draft. For some reason, they waited until the fourth round to pull the trigger on a player there. The oddity is the defensive line had a lot of depth in the early rounds of the draft. I see Wright as more of a depth-type lineman. He can play in a rotation, but I don't see starter ability.

Round 6: Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas

Diggs has the suddenness and overall cover skills required; at 5-foot-9, he just lacks height. He will struggle against taller receivers in the division. He most likely will be limited to playing on the slot receiver.

Round 7: Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina

Robinson may be a late pick, but don't be surprised when he becomes a starter two or three years into his career. He has outstanding size and length and just needs to play with more consistency.


Round 1: Damarious Randall, FS, Arizona State

Six weeks ago, there weren't too many who felt Randall would go in the first round. With more and more clubs going to safeties that have man coverage skills, Randall's stock began to rise. He has cornerback size and speed to go along with good hips and range. He should come in and start right away at free safety or, at worst, be the Packers' nickel corner.

Round 2: Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio)

The transition Rollins made from being a college basketball point guard to a college football starting cornerback is nothing short of amazing. When you watch him play, what sticks out are his incredible instincts and ball skills. His timed speed and short arms are what kept him out of the first round. He will still need to go through a period of development, but I can see him becoming a starter in the not-too-distant future.

Round 3: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford

Going in to the 2014 season, Montgomery was looked at as a possible second-round pick. His overall play fell off a bit during the season, but he can be a reliable third receiver for the Pack. He also has excellent kickoff return ability.

Round 4: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan

Ryan has the versatility to play either inside or out. I would think that in the Green Bay scheme, his best fit would be inside. Ryan has top instincts to go along with outstanding toughness. He was a big time playmaker while at Michigan.

Round 5: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

You couldn't ask for Hundley to land in a better spot. He gets to sit and learn from Aaron Rodgers, one of the best in the game. Hundley needs to improve his decision-making and accuracy, and he will have plenty of time to do that in Green Bay.


Round 1: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

With all the tall receivers in the NFC North, Waynes will help the Vikings with matchups. He's an excellent press cover cornerback who just needs to improve his tackling skills. Waynes was clearly the best cover cornerback in this draft. While he's excellent in press coverage, he needs to improve his skills in both off and zone coverage.

Round 2: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

Kendricks is a bit undersized, but he's one of the more instinctive linebackers in this draft. He makes plays all over the field. He's also excellent in coverage. An added bonus is Kendricks and last year's top pick, Anthony Barr, are former roommates. That will help Kendricks with the transition to the NFL.

Round 3: Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU

Hunter has outstanding natural physical traits as far as speed, change-of-direction ability and body control. He just hasn't put it all together yet. Had he stayed in school another year, he may have been a first-round pick next year. Hunter's upside is as good as any player in this draft, but I can't see him doing a lot as a rookie.

Round 4: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh

Getting Clemmings in the fourth round is the steal of the draft. Clemmings is a first-round talent who fell because of a reported foot injury. People I have talked to say the foot is fine and is an old injury. He will be a rookie starter and upgrade the Minnesota offensive line.

Round 5: MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois

Pruitt is an ideal "move" tight end who will help the offense when the Vikings go to a two-tight end package.

Round 5: Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland

Diggs is another steal. He was an early entry into the draft and had outstanding production at Maryland. I felt he was at worst a third-round value, but with a strong wide receiver group, he fell. In the Minnesota offensive scheme, he will most likely be utilized as a slot receiver.

Round 6: Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma

Thompson has size and power. He needs to lose a little weight to help his movement skills, but he has the traits to be an eventual starter. He will most likely be a backup early in his career. If he can play both guard and tackle, he will dress on Sundays as a rookie

Round 7: Austin Shepherd, OT, Alabama

Shepherd played tackle at Alabama but is more likely to move inside to guard at Minnesota. He has a solid chance to make the team and be a quality backup type.

Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.

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