2014 was a disappointing season for the Chicago Bears, to say the least. Rather than living up to their lofty (Super Bowl) expectations, the team floundered en route to a 5-11 finish -- their worst finish in a decade. The season cost general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman their jobs, and now the organization is charting a new course with a new GM and an all-star coaching staff.
How should they go about beginning their rebuild? Dane Noble of Windy City Gridiron is tasked with making that decision in our 2015 NFL mock draft. Here's what he's thinking.
7. Bears: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
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Noble: The Chicago Bears have another entirely new regime, this time under new GM Ryan Pace. Shortly after hiring Pace, the Bears brought on a new coaching staff, led by John Fox, Adam Gase and Vic Fangio.
With Fangio in place, the Bears have announced that, for the first time in their history, they are shifting their base defense to a 3-4. With a lot of older vets either not returning or a shell of their former selves, the team without a doubt has to build through the draft.
Running an effective 3-4 means getting a nasty inside guy on the defensive line who can be disruptive, and Danny Shelton fits that role. He’d be a Day 1 starter for many NFL teams, and Chicago would likely pounce on him at No. 7.
Shelton is big, wide, heavy and strong, and capable of attracting double teams all game long. He’s a rock in the middle, and can shut down an inside running game all by himself. Shelton is a plug-and-play guy from Day 1, and definitely someone you can build a front seven around.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: The logic of needing a nose tackle in Chicago is sound. The only question is whether or not the Bears' system will call for a big nose tackle in the middle. Fangio didn't really have that player in San Francisco, and the defense was successful. Even with that in mind, it would be hard to pass up on Shelton. He may be a monstrous nose tackle, but is not simply a two-down player. Chicago's linebackers will love him, as he can take on multiple blockers, but he's capable of splitting through gaps and disrupting the pocket.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 4. Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
- 5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- 6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- 8. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
- 9. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
All picks from this mock draft
- 1-7: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
- 2-39: (coming April 8)
Next up in our 2015 NFL mock draft: The Falcoholic, picking on behalf of the Atlanta Falcons, holders of the No. 8 overall pick. See you at noon ET!
SB Nation presents: What Chicago needs in the NFL Draft