- Matt Maicco at CSNBayArea.com has researched the last five drafts and ranked the NFL teams in order. Not surprisingly the Packers were the best and the worst was the Buffalo Bills. The Bears were middle of the pack at 16:
“Number of picks: 43
“Still on team: 21
“Best pick: WR Devin Hester, 2006
“Worst pick: OT Chris Williams, 2008
“Overall: Hester, a second-round pick in 2006, has been to three Pro Bowls and was named first-team All Pro three teams, too. He has been one of the most dynamic returners in NFL history. Matt Forte, a 1,000-yard rusher, was selected in the second round in 2008. Their first pick that year, Williams was drafted to be the left tackle of the future. Instead, he’s just the left guard of today, as he has fallen far short of expectations. The Bears haven’t had a pick within the first two rounds since ’08, but they landed Johnny Knox in the fifth round in ’09.”
“The Bears have two linebackers in place, both veterans in Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. That also ties up substantial payroll, meaning the Bears will not invest heavily at the position in free agency, particular for a player who projects to be a two-down role fit at least until either Briggs or Urlacher are substantially less productive.”
- Omar Kelly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Florida draft prospects Leonard Hankerson, Rodney Hudson, Alan Bailey and Mike Pouncey. All have been connected to the Bears. This is a good discussion and the video is worth watching.
- For those like me hoping Pouncey will somehow fall to the Bears, he obviously has his sights set a lot higher. Via Twitter after visiting the Cowboys:
“Headed back to pittsburgh…. would be shocked if i wasnt in a dallas uniform nxt year! The draft is april 28th so we will see….”
- Bob LeGere at the Daily Herald on the Bears prospects of finding an offensive lineman:
“Some earlier mock drafts had the Bears tabbing Miami OT-OG Orlando Franklin at 29, but he had a lousy Pro Day, which could drop him all the way to Round 3. That could leave the Bears with a choice between Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod or Baylor OG Danny Watkins if they want to go O-line.”
- Both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper at ESPN released new mock drafts yesterday. McShay’s was, perhaps, the more interesting of the two as he predicts a huge run on offensive and defensive linemen. Starting at 8 with the Titans through the end of the first round McShay has 19 linemen being taken. Chicago is left to reach for Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle out of North Carolina at 29. Kiper has a better looking scenario with the Bears picking up Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder.
- Speaking of Kiper, here’s what he had to say about the Bears via Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“’I think they can,’ Kiper Jr. said when I asked if they could land an impact offensive tackle without moving up in the first round. ‘If they went with a Nate Solder or a Derrick Sherrod where they are picking, Solder being from Colorado and Sherrod from Mississippi State, they could help their offensive line there and wait until the late second round and take maybe a Marvin Austin [from North Carolina], who would fit their scheme very well. If Marvin Austin would’ve played this year he would’ve been a late first-round pick. He could be gone by then but if he’s there he could be a guy who could certainly be in the mix. Allen Bailey, a kid out of Miami, if you move him inside [to defensive tackle] in their scheme he could fit what they are looking for. He wasn’t productive at defensive end this year and could move inside. Then maybe in the third round take a look at a Stefen Wisniewski or one of those versatile center/guard types. That’s what they need as well, like John Moffitt from Wisconsin and Rodney Hudson from Florida State. There are a lot of those center/guard combo guys they could look for at that point in the draft.’”
- The writers at the National Football Post teamed up for a mock draft as well:
“29. Chicago: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
“Austin’s name has been picking up some steam over the last week and the Bears have a need at the DT position in Lovie Smith’s defense.”
- Kiper is also already looking a head to 2012.
- Derrick Mason fears the needle. Or something.
- The Houston Texans are on the clock at ESPN:
- You’d have a hard time finding anyone who respects the Patriots as much as I do, especially after they wiped the Bears up off the mat last year. So I was surprised when Clark Judge at CBSSports.com described them as “deceptively needy”.
- Don Banks at SI.com spells out why running backs are no longer popular early round picks.
One Final Thought
Jeff Dickerson at ESPN continues his series on Bears biggest draft steals and busts. These two are on Charles Tillman and Matt Forte as “steals” and Michael Okwo and Dan Bazuin as busts.
I’m having a hard time understanding how Tillman, a guy taken in the second round and 35th overall (which is roughly where he was projected to go), can be a “steal”. The choice of Forte as a “steal” isn’t much better. My gut feeling is that Dickerson has chosen these two guys who are just living up to expectations because he couldn’t find five steals. I’ll bet finding the busts was a lot easier, though.
“A favorite of Bears coach Lovie Smith coming out of school, Okwo confounded coaches and teammates with his inability to pick up even the simplest concepts of the Bears’ defense.”
I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to read between the lines in articles like this because there are so many things that are either off the record or that no writer simply wants to say outright. That means a lot of speculation on little comments here and there. And in this case I’m stretching it a lot and I want to freely acknowledge that up front.
Having said that, many of us who like Smith as a head coach have always had a niggling concern that he has too much influence in the draft room, especially since the Bears’ Super Bowl appearance. So Dickerson’s statement makes me wonder how many other draft busts were “Lovie Smith favorites”.