Those Chicago Bears were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. After being knocked out of the 2013 NFL playoff race in the final minute of the 4th quarter of their Week 17 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, the Bears were supposed to do great things in 2014. Spoiler alert: they didn’t.
The Bears finished 5-11 this past season, dead last in the NFC North. Even the Adrian Peterson-less Minnesota Vikings were 7-9. The Bears had high hopes going into this season, but they made two fatal mistakes:
First, they let Josh McCown go. McCown was fantastic in 2013 in the absence of their regular starting quarterback Jay Cutler. In fact, he was better than Cutler. The Bears, for whatever reason, decided to cut McCown after the season and stick with Cutler.
Second, the Bears signed Cutler to a multi-million dollar contract, making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. No one knows why, but it did cost the General Manager his job at the end of the season.
Chicago is really in a tough spot now. They have a lot of slots that need to be filled with young talent, but only seven rounds to fill them in. At this point, the Bears are in a rebuilding stage; and it may be a few years before we see them back in the playoff hunt. With that being said, here are some of the Bears top needs heading into the 2015 NFL Draft:
Defensive Line: After the 2013 season Julius Peppers tested the free agency market and ended up with the Green Bay Packers. The Bears tried to fill the void he left by bringing in former Vikings superstar Jared Allen, but he just wasn’t the same. Allen is past his prime at this point, and he doesn’t bring the explosive play that the team needs on the defensive line. The Bears of all teams are in desperate need of an above-average guy on the line who can command the line of scrimmage and bring down the quarterback a good 10-15 times a season. These linemen aren’t easy to find, but if the Bears trade up for a second first round pick they just might be able to find the right guy for the job.
Linebacker: The Bears have not been able to fill this position appropriately since the great Brian Urlacher retired a few years back. At the same time, Bears fans are way too tough on the current linebackers because they keep comparing them to Urlacher. Shea McClellin isn’t a bust like he’s made out to be, but he’s not what the Bears are looking for. Bringing in someone to play well alongside of McClellin could help this defense improve drastically. Good linebackers are hard to come by, and the Bears might actually be better off trading draft picks for an experience veteran here. They really need someone who is able to rush the passer effectively all while managing slot coverage. The Bears play the Packers twice a season, so the sooner the Bears can find a solid linebacker the better.
Quarterback: This is the most pressing need by far. The Bears have the 7th pick in the draft this season, so trading up or even finding a solid option in the first round is not out of the question. Jay Cutler has been absolutely disastrous; however, he’s making $20 million a season. No team can afford to pay $20 million a season for a player that’s sitting on the sideline every Sunday. If the Bears want to get anywhere in the next five seasons they need to find a team dumb enough to trade for him. There was a rumor earlier in the season that the Tennessee Titans were interested, so maybe the Bears can save their future by unloading Cutler onto the Titans.