Chicago Bears Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State – Round 2
Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, most of the projections had Goldman going in the first round. The 6-foot-4, 336-pounder could play a variety of positions on the defensive line and looks like a future starter in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Goldman slipped to the second round, but Chicago quickly snatched him up with the seventh pick of Round 2.

There was a lot of hype about Mario Edwards Jr. entering the 2014 season, but it was Goldman who was Florida State’s best and most consistent defensive lineman. He stuffed runs all season and chipped in some pass rush by pushing his way down the pocket. Goldman came up with a clutch forced fumble late in the fourth quarter to save Florida State from a loss against Clemson. All year long, he was disruptive and stout at the point of attack.

The Bears are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, and Goldman is a perfect fit as a nose tackle. He also has the length to play defensive end in a 3-4. Goldman is also bigger than the Bears other nose tackles candidate of Jarvis Jenkins and Jeremiah Ratliff. Jenkins was allowed to leave by the Redskins, and I think that Goldman will emerge as a solid starter and disruptor for Chicago quickly in his NFL career.

Most Likely To Bust

Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon – Round 3
The Bears were desperate at the center position over the offseason, and I had Grasu mocked to them for a time before they took him in the third round. It makes a lot of sense as Grasu should come in and quickly compete for, if not outright win, the starting center position. He is a smart, experienced center who was a reliable blocker for Oregon.

I think the Bears had a good draft, and it was hard to select a player for most likely to bust. The reason why I have Grasu picked is because of size and strength. The 6-foot-3, 297-pounder had some issues in college with bigger, stronger defensive tackles, and I could see that playing out in the NFL. It would help him to add some power to be more effective in the ground game and hold his ground in pass protection. I could see Grasu having problems with heavy nose tackles lined up over his head.

Grasu also could be harmed by being thrown to the wolves as the Bears’ need at center could force him into the lineup before he is ready. That has led to careers going downhill in the past. I don’t think that Grasu is likely to bust, but of Chicago’s early-round selections, I could see him as the most likely to not pan out.

Potential Boom Pick

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia – Round 1
There was no doubt that White was one of the most physically talented players in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is an athletic specimen who has great speed to go along with big size. He is a vertical threat who also has the ability to make the tough catches in the short to intermediate part of the field. From a physical standpoint, White could emerge as a special receiver and a true No. 1 wideout to be a difference-maker for an NFL offense.

A year ago at this time, White wasn’t on anyone’s radar. His junior season saw him notch just 35 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns. 2014, on the other hand, saw him explode as an unstoppable force through the first half of the season. The senior totaled 109 receptions for 1,447 yards with 10 touchdowns on the year. After a torrid start, White slowed down as a lot of bracket coverage came his way, but he still showed the mismatch skills to beat defenders with speed or size.

During the pre-draft process, White received good character reports and high marks for his work ethic with the attitude of a team player. He is a perfect long-term replacement for Brandon Marshall. With Alshon Jeffery, White should see good looks from defenses and has a big-armed quarterback to work with in Jay Cutler. Given the weakness of the Bears defense, Chicago could also be in a lot of shootouts. I think White could make a big impact as a rookie with impressive totals similar to the other standout rookies of 2014 like Odell Beckham Jr. or Mike Evans. White has serious boom potential for the Bears.

Future Depth Player

Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State – Round 4
The Bears are set with Matt Forte as their starting running back. He has been the engine of Chicago’s offense, and with the team’s inconsistent quarterback play, that should continue to be the case in 2015. Langford (5-11, 208) is an interesting rotational back, and that would be his best fit as a pro. He ran for 1,522 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior for Michigan State. Langford also displayed some special speed with a 4.42 40-time at the Combine. He looks like a nice change-of-pace back to pair with Forte and lessen the pounding on the veteran. On some first and second downs, Langford could lighten Forte’s load with some carries to keep Forte fresh. Langford definitely has the ability to be a quality No. 2 in the NFL.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

7. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: B+ Grade
This pick makes so much sense. The Bears traded away Brandon Marshall this offseason, leaving a big need at receiver across from Alshon Jeffery. White has the size Marshall had, and he’s also a downfield threat. The issue with White is that he’s considered a raw, one-year wonder, but the potential is too great, and it could be argued that he was the best player available. This is definitely a strong choice, though I’m a bit upset that the Chicago fans didn’t boo like their Jet counterparts.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

39. Eddie Goldman, NT, Florida State: B Grade
It almost had to be a nose tackle, right? The Bears are moving to the 3-4, and they didn’t have any sort of run-plugger in the middle of the defensive line. The Dick Butkus-approved Eddie Goldman now becomes that player. This is the right range for Goldman, who may have had a chance to be taken at the end of the first round. He’ll play only two downs for the Bears, but he’ll actually give Chicago a chance to get to third-and-long.

71. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon: B+ Grade
The Bears lost Roberto Garza, so they needed a new center. Hroniss Grasu was considered by some to be the top center in this class after Cameron Erving (yes, Browns, Erving is a center). Grasu fits the range as a third-rounder and he fills a need, so there’s no arguing this selection.

106. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State: B+ Grade
This is a very logical pick, as the Bears had to find a reliable player behind Matt Forte. Jeremy Langford is great on third downs, so Chicago won’t lose much in that regard if Forte goes down. Langford could’ve gone in the third round without any complaints, so this is a solid choice.

142. Adrian Amos, S, Penn State: A Grade
The Bears have a new front office, so I didn’t know how they would draft. Based on their picks thus far, Chicago fans should be very optimistic (despite the Jay Cutler situation). Adrian Amos, a potential third-round pick, is a fantastic athlete who was highly productive at Penn State. He fills a big need in the Bears’ secondary. Great pick.

183. Tayo Fabuluje, G, TCU: B+ Grade
I thought the Bears would add two offensive linemen earlier than this, but they’re getting a nice value in Tayo Fabuluje. The TCU product is a massive human being (6-6, 353), but he’s actually athletic for someone his size. There are work-ethic concerns with him, but he’s worth a gamble at this juncture.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: A- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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