Overview: A lack of success in the draft, particularly in the early rounds, is a big part of the reason Jerry Angelo is out of the league and Phil Emery was hired to replace him as general manager in January. The Bears set out this offseason to close what they perceived as a talent gap between themselves and the teams that finished ahead of them in the NFC North last season. The process began with a trade for WR Brandon Marshall, addressing a longtime need for the team, and didn't end there, as the Bears were active in free agency, but Emery made his way up the ranks as an evaluator of college prospects. He describes himself as a believer in building through the draft, and expectations are high for him heading into his first round as the leader of the war room, where he’s in line to have seven picks (one in each round, starting with the 19th overall pick) at his disposal.
Need No. 1: Defensive end
Looking to upgrade their pass rush, the Bears made a strong push to sign DE Jeremy Mincey in free agency, but he decided to re-up with the Jaguars, and the Bears then turned to DE Israel Idonije, who was re-signed to a one-year deal. They are more likely to look at defensive end than defensive tackle for pass-rush help in the draft, but surrounding DE Julius Peppers with a better supporting cast up front — at tackle and end — is needed to put more pressure on quarterbacks.
Need No. 2: Cornerback
They re-signed Tim Jennings, who was benched late last season, to a two-year deal, but Zack Bowman and Corey Graham departed in free agency, and the lack of depth at cornerback has to be addressed. The Bears have not spent high draft picks on corners under Lovie Smith. They have a Pro Bowler at the position in Charles Tillman, but he turned 31 in February. Jennings and nickel back D.J. Moore lack ideal size but can make some big plays. Ideally, the team will bring in a rookie to challenge Jennings for a starting spot.
Need No. 3: Offensive tackle
We had a very limited look at 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi, whose season ended after two starts at right tackle when he sustained a knee injury and underwent multiple procedures to repair it. When healthy, he looked like he had the makings of being a good piece on an O-line that struggled to protect QB Jay Cutler for much of the two seasons that Mike Martz ran the "O." Carimi still has much to prove, as does inconsistent OLT J’Marcus Webb, and the Bears should be looking for more talent up front — inside and outside.