The 2013 NFL Draft is approaching rapidly, so the time has come to begin our BearReport.com Mock Draft series. In this series we will select a player for each of the Chicago Bears' five draft picks, with analysis and reasoning for the selections.
So without further ado, let's get to it.
Round 1 (20th overall)
LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-2, 242)
In the first round Chicago fills the biggest position of need on the roster: linebacker. The Bears have three starting linebackers who will be 30 or older by midseason, two of whom – James Anderson and D.J. Williams – are on one-year contracts. With Georgia's Alec Ogletree, Emery gets an athletic linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed. Ogletree's ability to cover ground would make him an asset as a middle linebacker in Chicago, while his hard-hitting style would quickly endear him to fans in the Windy City. His biggest question marks come from his numerous off-field issues but his pure talent definitely makes him worth the risk.
Round 2 (50th overall)
WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (6-0, 205)
With Ryan Swope, new head coach Marc Trestman lands a player with Wes-Welker-like potential as a slot receiver. Swope was the fastest wide receiver at the combine (4.34 40-yard dash) and has arguably the best hands of any wideout in this class. He also runs crisp routes and is a physical, tough blocker. He's undersized, which will cause him to fall into the second round, yet he has borderline first-round talent. If the Bears can land Swope in the second, they'll have the perfect slot receiver to compliment the big starters out wide.
Round 3 (82nd overall)
Traded to the Miami Dolphins
for Brandon Marshall
OL Khaled Holmes, USC (6-3, 302)
Khaled Holmes is a physical, nasty interior offensive lineman with experience at both guard and center. He dealt with ankle and knee injuries his senior season, which has caused his stock to fall. He's not overly athletic or explosive but he's intelligent, experience and willing to do what it takes to get the defender blocked. Holmes' ceiling is limited but his intelligence alone will give him a chance to be a starter in Chicago by 2014. He would make great value in the fourth round.
DT Jordan Hill, Penn State (6-1, 303)
Jordan Hill had his knee scoped after last season and experienced significant swelling during the combine. Many NFL teams are now worried about the health of the knee, although Hill said he'll be 100 percent come training camp this year. At his recent pro day, he performed much better and didn't appear bothered by the injury. Hill has decent quickness and can play 3-technique in the Bears' 4-3 system. He's a bit undersized, which could cause him to struggle against the run, but as a rotational defensive tackle working on nickel downs, Hill would fit very well in Chicago.
LB Keith Pough, Howard (6-2, 239)
The Bears have shown interest in Pough, a small-school player who dominated at Howard. He finished his career as the FCS all-time leader in tackles for loss. Pough is a lean, quick linebacker who can move with the best of him. He has good speed and is very experienced as a blitzer. He's limited schematically and likely only fits on weak side of a 4-3 formation, a position for the Bears manned by seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs. Pough has the potential to be a defensive contributor in a year or two but, at the very least, he'll be a quality member of Chicago's special teams units.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.
In the first installment of our BearReport.com Mock Draft series, Bears GM Phil Emery goes linebacker early and late in the draft, while filling positions of need in the middle rounds.
We take over GM Phil Emery's role and make selections for the Bears' five picksin this year's draft.