Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
All drafts are unpredictable, but this one might be like none other in recent memory. Take the player many expect to be chosen No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers.
One NFL scout said he wouldn’t be surprised if Auburn quarterback Cam Newton went No. 1 overall. He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if Newton tumbled into the 20s.
The Bears’ primary needs are obvious enough. They need the most help on the offensive line and at defensive tackle. If one of the following players falls to them at No. 29, though, it might tempt them go in a different direction. If nothing else, the availability of any of the following players would make the Bears’ 10 minutes on the clock more interesting.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: A torn meniscus and a disappointing pro day have sent his stock
tumbling, although probably not far enough for the Bears to come into play. It might be tough to pass up a player many consider to be the best defensive end in one of the deepest classes in memory if his stock continues to drop.
Brandon Harris, CB, Miami: As well as Tim Jennings played for most of last season, the Packers targeted him effectively late in the season. With that in mind — and knowing the Bears must face Aaron
Rodgers and Co. twice every season — general manager Jerry Angelo might be persuaded to pick this coach’s son.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: The Bears have Matt Forte. They have Chester Taylor, who disappointed last season. What they don’t have is a running game that moves the chains consistently. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner might be a good fit for that reason.
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: As much as Angelo downplays the Bears’ need at receiver, he would be hard-pressed to pass up a
playmaker with Jones’ ability. Don’t expect it to become an issue. Jones isn’t likely to make it past the Redskins at No. 10, but you never know.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: He plays with such intensity that it makes you confident he will be a contributor at the next level. He had 33 sacks and 14 forced fumbles for the Boilermakers.
Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado:
Character concerns have been
alleviated somewhat because he has been saying and doing everything right lately. Plus, Angelo admits he’s looking for football players, not ‘‘friends and neighbors.’’
J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: The Bears seem set at defensive end, with Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije coming off strong seasons and Corey Wootton finishing strong. But Angelo has a soft spot for elite pass rushers, and this 6-6, 290-pounder might be a fixture for the next decade.
Aaron Williams, Texas, CB/S: Charles Tillman isn’t getting any younger and has had injury problems in the past. It might be time for an upgrade at cornerback, and Williams is athletic and has natural cover skills. He also can play safety.