Chicago Bears

Ask Hub: Ealy in first round and 2014 defense outlook

Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine 
in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
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Following last week's Combine, Hub answers your questions about potential Bears targets at No. 14, as well as what to expect on defense in 2014. If you have any Bears or NFL questions for Hub, be sure to tweet them @Hub_Arkush.

From ppelleg13: If [Ha Ha] Clinton-Dix, [Aaron] Donald, [Kony] Ealy and [Timmy] Jernigan are all on the board at 14, who would you go with?

Kony Ealy in a heartbeat. He's not the best natural pass rusher I've ever seen coming out of college, but he is a true base end for the 40-front the Bears will be playing, he's got great measureables and simply needs to continue to grow and improve as opposed to most of the other prospects you mention who will need to learn new techniques and skills before they can flourish. I've already explained my reservations about Jernigan and Donald. I like Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, but I doubt there will be many draft boards that have either as one of the 14 or 15 best players in the draft. Some will have Ealy as high as eight, nine or 10.

From @jimniezgoda: After the Combine, which DT is a better fit for the Bears? [Aaron] Donald or [Timmy] Jernigan? 

The honest answer is neither, but Jernigan is clearly the better prospect. Both are undersized defensive tackles — even slightly smaller than you'd like at the three-technique where undersized tackles usually live in the NFL — and the very last thing the NFL's worst run defense needs is another undersized D-lineman whose only special trait is the ability to shoot gaps and hope to run into plays in the backfield. Both are fine college football players who may have nice NFL careers, but neirher is a good enopugh prospect to merit the 14th pick in the draft.

From @FFRittle: How long do you think Forte continues as an "elite" back? When do the Bears address this pending need? 

Matt Forte won't turn 29 until December, but after playing 91 of a possible 96 games his first six years in the league and averaging 258 carries and another 57 receptions per season, he is edging dangerously close to his golden years by NFL running back standards. 2013 was the best year of his career and 2014 could be even better. But whether it's this season, next or best case, the year after, Forte is now on the cusp of that point where NFL backs hit the wall. It isn't urgent that the Bears begin to groom his replacement this year but if they wait until next year it's also quite possible they will have waited too long. It is definitely time to at least be thinking about a plan for life after Forte.

From @RobinByrd3: Are the Bears willing to not only play a 4-3, but also in certain situations a 3-4?

The Bears won't play any true 3-4 becasue they don't even have three true starting linebackers let alone four. But they will show some 30-fronts with linemen like David Bass  and Julius Peppers, if he's still here , standing up to rush from a 3-4 OLB position. The fact is the Bears don't currently have four actual NFL down linemen, three LBs or four DBs worthy of starting in the league under contract, so predicting their defensive looks is impossible until they fill out the roster,

From @mikebearup17: Could the Bears trade a pick and Peppers to [Tampa Bay] for Revis, allowing for Tillman and Pep to rejoin Lovie, giving the Bears a lock-down CB?

Why waste words? There's no way the Bucs are trading Darrelle Revis, period. Certainly not for Peppers and his $18 milion salary. 

From @jtbbears: Which Bears defensive free agent is the biggest priority for the team?

The Bears can posture all they want, but without "Peanut" Tillman, the defense takes another step backwards. If healthy he's still one of the best corners in the league. I'd say D.J. Wiliams is number two and Corey Wootton number three.

From @JB4Irish: Who would be a "head scratcher" Emery pick at 14? 

C.J. Mosley and Louis Nix are both players worthy of going 14 or higher who the Bears can't take. Nix is going to be great player if healthy, as a nose tackle inb a pure 3-4 defense. After using a one — Shea McClellin, two — Jon Bostic, and four — Khaseem Greene, on linebackers in his first two drafts, with almost no production to date, he can't spend another one at the psition.

From @CanuckBoy670AM: What ever happened to Cornelious Washington? Do you see him making the squad this year?

He spent the year on the bench or in street clothes because he's a classic athlete who isn't a football player. Emery loves athletes so he could stick for another year, but he's shown nothing to indicate he's going to be a player and I was surprised they kept him last year.

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