A closer look at the positions the Chicago Bears could target at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
Positions of need: The Bears have to get serious about drafting a quarterback. After eight years with Jay Cutler, Chicago is ready to move in a different direction. The club might explore a trade with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo, or they could look to sign another veteran quarterback such as Brian Hoyer or Mike Glennon. But regardless, the Bears need an infusion of young talent. Chicago has drafted only four quarterbacks since 2005 -- Kyle Orton, Dan LeFevour, Nate Enderle and David Fales. None remain with the team. The Bears can no longer ignore the most important position in all of sports. At some point -- probably in the early rounds -- the Bears are expected to address the need (unless they hit a home run and trade for Garoppolo). In the defensive backfield, the Bears have no proven playmakers aside from veteran Tracy Porter. One of last year’s fourth-round picks, Deiondre' Hall, figures to get a look at cornerback, but Hall played sparingly as a rookie. Former first-round pick Kyle Fuller shockingly missed an entire season because of a routine knee scope. Bringing Fuller back -- under any circumstances -- sends a terrible message to the rest of the locker room. The picture at safety is even more confusing after Adrian Amos, Harold Jones-Quartey and Deon Bush (another 2016 fourth-round choice) spent the year in and out of the starting lineup. As a team, the Bears finished the season with only eight interceptions. And at tight end, Chicago is dangerously thin. Veteran Zach Miller is a terrific pass-catcher when healthy, but he suffered another season-ending injury in 2016. Miller should return, but the Bears have to protect themselves at the position. At receiver, Alshon Jeffery could bolt via free agency, and 2015 top pick Kevin White has played in just four regular-season games because of injuries. Veteran Eddie Royal is coming off another subpar year and is out of guaranteed money. Marquess Wilson suffered yet another injury a couple of months before his original rookie contract expires.
Mitch Trubisky (quarterback), North Carolina: Trubisky could be a risky pick because he made so few career starts at North Carolina. But Kyle Long had only five career starts at Oregon before the Bears drafted him in Round 1 and he went on to make three straight Pro Bowls. The Bears have to investigate all available quarterbacks. Trubisky is at the top of the list.
Deshaun Watson (quarterback), Clemson: Again, the Bears have to properly vet all the quarterbacks. But there is plenty of tape on Watson, who led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff National Championship. Watson is known for his leadership skills and would be a breath of fresh air in the post-Cutler era. But some believe he isn’t worthy of a top-five pick. Whether it’s Watson, Trubisky, DeShone Kizer or Patrick Mahomes, the Bears cannot reach for a quarterback. But drafting a quarterback is critical, and Watson is one of the best all-around passers in this class.
Jonathan Allen (defensive end), Alabama: Allen doesn’t fill a specific need, but he might be the best available player at No. 3 overall. The consensus top defensive player in college football last year, Allen can play inside or outside. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could have a field day with Allen, who left Alabama with 22.5 sacks in his final two seasons.
Jamal Adams (safety), LSU: Adams is a hybrid safety who wreaks havoc all over the field. The Bears have suffered through a revolving door at safety since Chris Harris and Danieal Manning started in 2010, which is also the last time Chicago reached the postseason. Adams is a big-time athlete who would start day one and never look back.
Marshon Lattimore (cornerback), Ohio State: Lattimore has the size to play man-to-man in the 3-4. The Bears have to overhaul their entire secondary, and cornerbacks are typically valued more than safeties. The idea of Lattimore in Round 1 is intriguing because it’s much easier (and less expensive) to draft a starting cornerback than to sign one in free agency.