The Bears haven’t had a first-round draft pick in three years, and most of the early speculation has them making a move to upgrade a mediocre offensive line or adding an interior defensive lineman.
But they might wind up needing help at linebacker as much as any position. Four of the six linebackers on the roster at the end of the 2010 season could wind up as free agents under a new collective bargaining agreement. That means Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach, who have both been productive starters in the past, in addition top backups Brian Iwuh and Rod Wilson could all be playing elsewhere in 2011.
There are some interesting possibilities at linebacker if an expected run on offensive linemen just after the halfway point of the first round leaves the Bears unsatisfied with what’s left at that position with pick No. 29.
UCLA’s Akeem Ayers might be the ideal candidate to fill a potential void at strong-side linebacker if neither Roach nor Tinoisamoa is retained. Ayers had 10 sacks in the past two seasons as a starter for the Bruins, and he could provide the Bears with another much-needed pass-rush threat.