The 2014 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Bears seem to feel good about their eight-man class, which included Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller, the No. 14 overall pick. And the Bears aren't the only ones who feel good about the draft; almost unanimously, the Bears received stellar "grades" from national draft pundits from various outlets. Of course, it's impossible to know just how good or bad the class is until they actually get out on the field, but most experts seem excited about Phil Emery's haul this past weekend.
Overview: The Bears return virtually every key piece from an offense that finished 2013 No. 2 in points scored, so GM Phil Emery went to work on his patchwork defense in this draft. He got a Week 1 starter in Fuller, and likely year-one contributors in run-stopper Ferguson and three-technique penetrator Sutton. A versatile corner-safety hybrid and value pick where he went, Vereen is a sleeper to play meaningful snaps as a rookie. Noted measurables drafter Emery set aside the spreadsheet and trusted the tape for his Carey, Fales, and Sutton picks. Leno was a value addition so late in the seventh and could push LG Matt Slauson sooner rather than later. Chicago has emerged from an active free agency period and the draft with few remaining needs. I thought this draft attacked holes, added depth where necessary, and procured plenty of upside.
Summary: The Bears have some questions on value, but I think they did a solid job of targeting needs. Kyle Fuller may not be a star at CB, but the floor is probably a really good player for a long time. I didn't mind that pick at all, especially after Cleveland moved up to get Justin Gilbert, who isn't superior to Fuller. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would've been a solid pick here as well. The Bears did a great job of rebuilding what was a defensive line in tatters at the end of 2013, and Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton round out the depth chart there.
Ferguson was a reach, but the talent is enticing. Sutton is interesting, because his 2012 tape is fantastic. If he can get his weight down and play lighter and with more explosiveness, he's a nice addition in Round 3. Ka'Deem Carey has great tape, but the 4.7 40 time puts him in a category of RBs that rarely offer much. Hopefully the Bears get the tape version, but the fourth round is pretty rich. Brock Vereen can help at safety, a pretty massive need area. David Fales has talent but questions on the arm -- we'll see if he's a case of improved arm strength. Charles Leno can make this roster. Good work on needs, outside of depth at wide receiver, but I think they missed on value more than one. That said, the Bears had a really good offseason. They're better than the team that finished 2013.
Best Pick: I'll go with corner Kyle Fuller, their first-round pick. He was my favorite corner in this draft.
Questionable move: I really liked their draft, but I'll be nitpicky and say it's taking runner Ka'Deem Carey in the fourth round. He isn't very fast.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round safety Brock Vereen has a chance at a weakened position on the roster to make an impact.
Analysis: They had to get help for their defense and they used their first three picks, and four of five, to do that. I love Fuller and they also took defensive tackles Ergo Ferguson and Will Sutton in the second and third rounds. Nice job.
Best pick: Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller - Watch the Alabama game, when Fuller contained 2015 first-rounder Amari Cooper, and you too will be convinced that GM Phil Emery made the right pick here over taking a safety. And Fuller could play safety for a year and not kill you, but he's a future No. 1 corner.
Worst pick: LSU FT Ego Ferguson - His game does not match his name, even though there are glimpses of great things at times. A one-year starter who just wreaks "underachiever" on the surface.
Other notable picks: DT Will Sutton, RB Ka-Deem Carey
Analysis: They checked off most of the boxes in terms of need, and though none of the picks will blow your hair back, the Bears added some decent quality. Carey was very important with Matt Forte's annual health worries, and Sutton could surprise.
Favorite pick: Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota - The Bears want versatile, explosive defensive backs, and Vereen fits the bill here. He has excellent closing burst and versatility, and he's willing to come up and support the run. He should be able to contribute in sub packages for the Bears. I love the way Vereen plays the game. I also really like the Kyle Fuller pick at No. 14 in the first round, as he is just a really good football player who tackles well and shows really good recognition and ball skills. These are two nice additions to Chicago's secondary.
General manager Phil Emery hit a number of potential home runs, starting with first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller, who may have had the cleanest tape of anyone in this class at his position. Second-round LSU DT Ego Ferguson, though still learning the finer points of the game, should be able to stick at multiple spots. Grabbing Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton in the third round and Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey should be a win for the team’s Southwest area scout. Minnesota safety Brock Vereen actually projects pretty nicely as a slot corner at the next level, filling another clear need. Head coach Marc Trestman gets his developmental quarterback in David Fales, and Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. projects nicely as a possible guard.
Fuller should quickly become Chicago’s best defensive back and help improve a middling defense. The choice of Ferguson came a bit early than most expected, but doubling up at defensive tackle with Sutton was a savvy move. If one of them becomes a good player – and one of them should – Chicago should become much better against the run. Carey will be a good backup for Matt Forte and could eventually replace him. The Bears had a big need at safety and only addressed with with Vereen, who some think is better at cornerback. Leno was a nice seventh-round flier who flashed starter potential at Boise State.
The skinny: It's quite possible the Bears had a better third day of the draft than they did on the second day. Carey will be a perfect fit for the offense as a backup running back, and Vereen can contribute in the secondary. They also added a nice replacement for Josh McCown in Fales, and they broke the special-teams barrier with O'Donnell's selection in the sixth round.