By Brandon De Jesus, Staff Writer
Over the last two seasons under head coach John Fox, the Chicago Bears have only recorded 9 wins compared to 23 losses. This past season was historically bad as a 3-13 finish was the Bear’s worst since the NFL switched to a 16 game season back in 1978.
The team did make some moves in the off-season, most notably releasing quarterback Jay Cutler, who is the longest tenured quarterback in Bears history. If the Bears want to become a winning team they need help at a few positions, particularly in the secondary and along the defensive line. The Bears have a lot to think about before they go on the clock as the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaches from Philadelphia on April 27. The Bears are selecting third overall and listed below are three players that The Leader believes the Bears should consider picking.
Marshon Lattimore - Cornerback - Ohio State - 6-feet tall - 193 pounds
Sure the Bears signed former Giants and Jaguars corner Prince Amukamara in free agency, but do not be shocked if general manager Ryan Pace adds more fresh blood at that position. The secondary for the Bears last season was a complete train wreck and Lattimore can definitely improve that part of the team. His tremendous athleticism is shown by great hip flip ability, which takes him into top speed when he is forced to turn and run to a receiver, and he has great balance and footwork to remain with a receiver throughout any route. Lattimore also has great ball skills. He can make plays from any coverage that is asked of him and this is shown by the 14 passes he defended and his 4 interceptions this past season. He also has great physicality, as he is a very forceful tackler in the open field and can work through blockers to stop running plays and receiver screens. Although he only has one full season of being a fully healthy player for the Buckeyes, this man has no concerns about his playing skills. It is only a matter of staying healthy. If he can, the Bears will have a very productive defender for the next decade.
Solomon Thomas - Defensive End - Stanford - 6 feet 3 inches tall - 273 pounds
Just because the Bears selected Leonard Floyd with their first round pick last year, it does not mean that they cannot continue to improve that defensive line. The Bear’s top four outside linebackers all battled injuries last season and the long term health of some of them is in question. Thomas gets out of blocks early and uses his size well as he attacks the ball carrier with his skilled hands. His outstanding athleticism is shown by attacking both edges and the ability to mow down offensive lineman with a bull rush. He also has a lightning-fast spin move that is used to get away from blocks and can rush the quarterback with ease. This is shown by the 62 tackles he recorded (15 of them for a loss) and eight sacks. There are concerns about him being undersized as he plays with an inconsistent pad level and needs to get stronger through his lower body; however, Thomas was all over the line of scrimmage for Stanford last season and if he can get stronger, he can punish opponents along with Leonard Floyd. Those two players will give the Bears a very promising young pass rushing group.
Jamal Adams - Safety - Louisiana State - 6 feet tall - 214 pounds
Simply put, the Bears have not had a lockdown safety since Mike Brown in the early 2000s. Adams can fill that void extremely well with his leadership and the fact that he can play right away. He is not going to hesitate to hit another player and he wants to punish the ball carrier to set the tone for the defense. He is great at shutting down screen plays, and approaches targets with open arms. He can also cover tight ends very well, which is important in the NFC North while facing tight ends like Eric Ebron, Kyle Rudolph and Martellus Bennett. Over the last two seasons at LSU, he recorded five interceptions, two fumble recoveries, 21 tackles on special teams and he did not draw a penalty throughout the entire 2016 season. As far as his leadership is concerned, he is a field general, gets the secondary aligned properly and is alerted when an offense goes in a misdirection. He has the potential to be what Darren Woodson was to the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl teams in the early to mid-1990s. A hard hitting safety who can be the vocal leader of the seconda