Todd McShay is glad he's not Bears' general manager Jerry Angelo.
In his latest mock draft, the ESPN draft analyst said he struggled with what the Bears should do with the 29th overall pick because he's not sure the left tackle they so desperately need or a three-technique defensive tackle who can replace departed veteran Tommie Harris will be available.
For that reason, the Bears could be a wildcard at the end of the first round of the NFL Draft on April 28. McShay has said he wouldn't be surprised if the Bears took a player at a position that wasn't an obvious need. He could also see them moving up to get a lineman like Florida's Mike Pouncey or trading out of the first round to get more picks on Day 2.
"I had a brutal time with Chicago during this mock draft --- not that anyone cares," McShay said. "I sat there going over and over again [saying] 'What do I do?' You want to give them a good player who fits what they want and what they need but I just couldn't find the right fit in terms of a value player at a position they needed.
"Obviously, offensive tackle [is a position of need]. They gave up 56 sacks a year ago. They moved Chris Williams inside to guard. He seems like a good fit there. They're not going to mess around with that. I just think they have to upgrade their tackle spots, especially left tackle. Then defensive tackle. Tommie Harris is a cap casualty it looks like. Anthony Adams is an unrestricted free agent.
"Adams had a good year and I think he's a good player as a nosetackle but they need a young Tommie Harris, a guy who can be that three technique. But can you get him at 29 overall? I just don't think you can."
McShay has the Bears picking Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod in his latest mock draft, although he admits that taking Sherrod that high might be a "reach."
If the best offensive linemen and defensive tackles are gone, McShay can see the Bears going in a different direction, although he's not sure which one.
"I do think linebacker is a position they need but would they move Akeem Ayers, if he's available from UCLA, to a 4-3 outside linebacker? Possibly," he said. "But he's played defensive end --- kind of that tweener role in a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme --- and I just don't know if he's your ideal fit. [Arizona's] Brooks Reed is another guy moving up but he's a 3-4 outside linebacker as well.
"To answer your question, I really don't have the perfect answer for them. This thing could change a hundred different times and the perfect player could fall to them and maybe it's [Wisconsin offensive tackle] Gabe Carimi when it's all said and done, but I think the Bears are a good team to target. If a team in the second round is looking to move back into the first round to get a quarterback or the end of the defensive line run that we're going to have in this first round, the Bears may be moving back and acquiring an extra pick on Day 2. That may wind up being the best scenario for the Bears if that's the way it falls."
There always seem to be a few players who tumble down the draft board. If Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin or Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, for example, freefall that far Angelo could faced with an interesting dilemma.
"At 29, the one player at offensive tackle I think could wind up falling is Nate Solder of Colorado," McShay said. "While he has all the talent in the world and probably the most upside, I don't think he's there yet in terms of consistency, technique and he has to get stronger. If you're hoping for one tackle to fall, he may be the guy."
At 6-8 1/4, 314 pounds, Solder could pack 40 or more pounds on his frame while remaining lean, although there are questions about his tenacity and one-on-one ability.
"With the sheer volume of defensive linemen in this draft, there's always the possibility for guys to fall because teams are going for players at other positions," said McShay, who believes as many as nine defensive ends could be first-round picks. "There's not many perfect fits for that three technique for Chicago but maybe it is a Corey Liuget out of Illinois. I have him going 14th to the Rams, but after the Rams there are not many teams that are looking for a true defensive tackle.
"I personally think he would be a better fit as a nose tackle in a 4-3 but he's quick and makes plays and is explosive and strong. If he's [available] at 29, you would have to think long and hard about passing on a guy like Liuget."