Bears will look at Jared Allen and others to bolster defensive lineContinue reading.
Jared Allen’s signing helps bring Bears plans draft into focus
When the Bears began their offseason in search of a pass rush — both in quality and quantity — it seemed a sure thing the team would take a defensive tackle or a defensive lineman in the first round of the June draft.
But after signing Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen on Wednesday, this much is clear: they might still draft a pass-rusher, but they no longer have to.
Two weeks ago, Bears general manager Phil Emery was asked about his team’s draft strategy.
“When we make the next couple of moves,” he said, “that will provide clarity in terms of what our draft moves may be.”
The team could — should? — consider a safety at No. 14, or even farther down in the first round, if the Bears can swing a trade. Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor would be good fits on a unit that has already added Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Danny McCray and re-signed Craig Steltz.
While Mundy, Jennings and, to a lesser extent, McCray all have starting experience, they’re also well-versed in special teams. And given that general manager Phil Emery has stressed competition at the position — Chris Conte is still around, too — a high draft pick could still fit the bill.
So too would a cornerback that could spend a year under the tutelage of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman.
The Bears have signed six defensive ends so far this offseason.
Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young figure to rotate, though Houston could play the three-technique tackle, too. Israel Idonije adds versatility, and Austen Lane and Trevor Scott are big-bodied guys who will compete with David Bass as backups.
Throw in the re-signing of Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins, and a healthy Stephen Paea, and the defensive line might be deep enough without a first-round pick.
While the draft is still more than two months away, as Emery said, it’s coming into focus.