Pundits: Bears likely to draft defender first

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Missouri outside linebacker Shane Ray could be an option for the Bears at No. 7 overall. (AP)

Defensive struggles of the historic variety have made the Bears’ need for defense no secret. And two-and-a-half weeks before the NFL draft, two NFL Network pundits think the team will skew that way in the first round.

“I think, at the end of the day, it’s going to be defense there at 7,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Monday.

Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton, he said, “was made to play the nose tackle in that defense.” Jeremiah said “he’d be a perfect, perfect fit” playing for Vic Fangio’s 3-4.

The Bears maintain that there’s no such thing as too many pass-rushers, though. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., is the best edge rusher.

“I think Fowler’s gone at that point,” he said.

Missouri’s Shane Ray — considered by the two the third-most talented edge rusher, behind Fowler and Randy Gregory, sinking after a failed drug test — could be a fit for the Bears. Unless, of course, they decide to draft one of the three top receivers — Alabama’s Amari Cooper, West Virginia’s Kevin White and Louisville’s DeVante Parker — who the duo called three of the safest picks in the draft.

“The Bears could very well be open for business at 7 with a wide receiver,” White said. “I don’t think that’d surprise us at all … this is a league where scoring points is a big big deal nowadays.”

He said White played “angry,” Cooper is “bigger than you think,” and Parker is ascending.

“Who fits best in Chicago?” Davis said. “I don’t know I can tell you one fits better than the other.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley

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