Watch CBS News

Steve Mariucci: Bears Have 'A Lot Of Ways To Go' At No. 7

By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Even while donning a Cubs jersey at Wrigley Field, nearing his rendition of the seventh-inning stretch, Steve Mariucci's mind was on football.

The former NFL head coach and current NFL Network lead analyst, Mariucci is in Chicago for the NFL Draft and has plenty of thoughts on what the hometown Bears should do with their seventh overall pick.

"They have a lot of ways to go at No. 7," Mariucci said. "They could go receiver. I think one of the two great receivers coming out in this draft (Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White) will be available.

"There would be some edge rushers there that I know Vic Fangio would really love to have, like he had Aldon Smith coming off the edge in San Francisco. I know he could use a guy like a Danny Shelton, a nose guard, in that 3-4 defense, a kid from Washington, he's really special."

In Ryan Pace's first draft, Mariucci recommends that the Bears go for an impact player, the best prospect on the board.

"There will be three or four or five of those kinds of guys available at seven for them to choose from," Mariucci said.

The Bears have publicly entertained the prospect of drafting a quarterback, welcoming in Florida State's Jameis Winston -- the projected No. 1 pick -- and Oregon's Marcus Mariota for predraft visits.

Mariucci isn't buying the idea of Chicago adding another quarterback to join Jay Cutler, the Bears' current starter, whom Mariucci said in December isn't a leader. Instead, Mariucci believes Pace should use his pick as leverage for a team desperate to move up should Winston or Mariota remain on the board at the seventh.

"I think they entertain trade talks, because somebody else may want him more -- somebody that feels he could compete for a starting job this year, which I don't think is the situation in Chicago with Jay Cutler there," Mariucci said.

"If Jay Cutler stays healthy and plays like he's capable of, then Marcus won't play. They need some help. They need somebody that plays and starts. They need a starter at that pick, rather than a backup quarterback."

The decisions will be made on Thursday night, when the NFL Draft returns to Chicago for the first time since 1964.

When the Bears are on the clock, Mariucci believes the seventh pick will be prosperous.

"It just depends on what they need most," he said. "They're in a good position to be at seven."

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.