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Bears’ dream NFL draft would start with DT Aaron Donald

Updated: May 5, 2014 11:25PM



In a perfect world, Bears general manager Phil Emery will repeat his successful draft from last year. But instead of getting two offensive starters, he’s able to land two on defense.

The Bears have needs at every level of the defense, and Emery still needs to prove he can correctly select defensive players.

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be all defensive picks,” Emery said last week, “but the picks that we do make on defense are obviously ones we feel can help us win this fall and in the future.”

That said, here’s a dream draft for the Bears to consider:

Round 1 (No. 14): Aaron
Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

There’s a significant chance Donald isn’t available. Emery seemed to suggest as much last week. But some scenarios — a run on offensive talent, perhaps — could drop Donald into the Bears’ laps.

From Day 1, Donald would strengthen a defensive front in need of interior help, making him tough to pass up, even if the Bears’ safety issues are glaring.

“There’s positions that have bigger impact in terms of when you look at it overall,” Emery said. “To myself and to our staff, the defensive line has more impact overall in the defense than any single position because that’s where it all starts. That’s where it starts in terms of stopping the run, and that’s where it starts in terms of rushing the passer.”

Round 2 (No. 51): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

Like Donald, there’s a good chance Ward is off the board, considering how thin the ­safety class is and the increased importance of the position.

But grabbing the best safety — or lengthy cornerback with safety potential — who is available after 50 picks should be a priority after taking a defensive tackle in the first round. The Bears are very familiar with Ward, who looks like a fit at strong safety and comes with a nasty side.

Round 3 (No. 82): Pierre
Desir, CB, Lindenwood

At 6-1 and 198 pounds, Desir fits the bigger mold the Bears are looking for at cornerback. His length also could lead to looks at safety, but the potential is there to be a starting corner. He won the Cliff Harris Award (top small college defensive back) in 2013.

Round 4 (No. 117): Dion ­Bailey, S, USC

Fixing safety will take more bodies, and Bailey, who is only a junior, could be an intriguing mid-round option. He has play-making skills, as seen in his five interceptions in 2013.

Round 5 (No. 156): James White, RB, Wisconsin

At some point, the Bears will look at backups for Matt Forte, and there could be plenty on Day 3. White (5-9, 204 pounds) was very productive at Wisconsin, running for 45 touchdowns in four years. He also caught 39 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Round 6 (No. 183): Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College

Emery believes athleticism is paramount at this point in the draft. Pierre-Louis’ combine performance — which included a 39-inch vertical jump and a 4.51-second time in the 40-yard dash — stands out.

Round 6 (No. 191): Tevin
Reese, WR, Baylor

The Bears need to push second-year receiver Marquess Wilson for the No. 3 job. Reese is small, but he’s blazing fast and meets the aforementioned athlete criteria.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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