After using their second- and fourth-round draft picks a year ago on linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, respectively, the Bears aren't expected to prioritize that position this year in the draft.
However, if Alabama's highly regarded C.J. Mosley slips to No. 14, general manager Phil Emery might have to think twice about passing on a player who could start from Day One and eventually replace Lance Briggs.
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Briggs will turn 34 before the season is over, and he missed seven games last year with a fractured shoulder. Veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams will be 32 before training camp begins, and he missed 10 games last season and with a chest injury.
So more youth could be added. With Williams out, Bostic started nine games and played in all 16, flashing promise and potential but also raising concerns that he might not be ready yet. Greene got four starts while Briggs was sidelined, but he, too, has much to prove before potentially stepping into a starting role.
Last year's starter on the strong side, James Anderson, was not re-signed, and 2012 first-round draft pick Shea McClellin will get first crack at that spot as he attempts to convert from defensive end, where he was a disappointment.
Former practice squad member Jerry Franklin provides depth and was a solid contributor on special teams in the final 10 games last season after he was promoted to the 53-man roster.