- Let’s start with video of the Halas Hall draft press conference yesterday from the Bears website:
- Bears west coast area scout Marty Barrett talk s about second round selection of Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea:
- GM Jerry Angelo talks Paea as well:
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune indicates that the Bears has Paea targeted:
“The Bears were so enamored with Paea that if Gabe Carimi had been off the board when their turn came up in the first round, Paea might have been their highest draft choice perhaps through a trade-down. Bears player personnel director Tim Ruskell said there was a draft room consensus on how well Paea fit what the Bears needed.”
When the Bears traded up I really wondered if they had actually wanted Marvin Austin and the Giants stole him out from under them. But Pompei’s comment jibs with that of his Tribune colleague Brad Biggs, who actually wrote yesterday morning that the Bears were prepare to take Paea had Carmi not been there at #29. The Bears were lucky he was still there for them in the second round.
- Pompei indicates that the Bears like Paea because of his combination of strength and quickness:
“And he is exceptionally strong. At the combine, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 49 times, the most by any player in a dozen years.”
I’ve got a little problem with judging strength by the bench press. He looks to me in the video below like he’s got short arms. That let’s you bench press a lot more weight than a guy who is stronger but has longer arms. I’m not saying he isn’t strong but I’m not buying the bench press as an indicator.
Having said that, here’s what Angelo had to say on the topic (via the Chicago Tribune):
“It does transcend, a lot of times it doesn’t, but in his case it does and not because we picked him with our pick. We call it functional strength, not weight room strength. In his case, he has been blessed.”
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times says that Angelo weighed the opinions of the college coaches more heavily than usual when he chose the draft’s second day prospects:
“Oregon State coach Mike Riley coached with Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli at USC and gave Paea the highest possible recommendation, resulting in the Bears sending a fourth-round pick to the Washington Redskins for the right to move up nine spots to select the Tongan strongman 53rd overall. It took a similar vote of confidence from longtime NFL defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, now coordinating Cal’s defense, to convince secondary coach John Hoke and Angelo that [safety Chris] Conte‘s rare skill set made him the best bet in the third round.
- Angelo thinks he may have gotten lucky in an unusual way with Conte. Via Pompei:
“Conte was scheduled to play in the East-West Shrine game, but pulled out because he thought he had a chance to play in the Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl invitation fell through, and Conte subsequently did not play in an all star game.
“Angelo indicated that might have worked to the Bears’ favor, because his athleticism on display in an all star game might have heated up Conte’s draft stock.”
- Angelo also had this to say about Conte:
“When you watch him on tape because he did play two years of corner they did play him outside in man-to-man coverage, they use him inside on the slot, so he has a lot of versatility and that is really what you look for in the safety position.”
I’ve been arguing that the Bears need a third corner to cover receivers in the slot man-to-man since the New England game. Looks like the coaches might be looking to Conte to fill that role when they’re in the nickel. Should be interesting.
- Conte talks about the difficulty of playing safety Vs. cornerback:
“For me it was actually pretty easy. Playing safety I always felt I was much more natural at. Coming in I had a great coach, coach Clancy Pendergast, who came from the NFL. He just really helped with my transition. He came in on the first day, he was like, ‘You’re playing safety from now on’ and really took me under his wing and really just showed me what it took to be a great football player and possibly an NFL-type player.”
I love this quote. I really think the key to the position is good instincts and if the position feels “natural”, then I think that’s a good sign.
- Ballard discusses about Conte in this video from ChicagoBears.com:
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes offensive line coach Mike Tice, who apparently understands at least one thing that needs to happen with Carimi:
“I think he’s an outside player, and we=92ll make sure the day he walks into the building the spot we put him at is the spot he’s going to play for the next 10 years.”
Former first round pick Chris Williams has been moved around quite a bit and I think its hurt his development.
- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Carimi shares at least one characteristic with every great athlete:
“‘He’s one of the most unbelievably competitive people I’ve ever met,’ [Wisconsin center Peter] Konz said, recalling the endless debates they had just to see who could make better arguments. ‘It doesn’t matter what it is. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, he’s going to get the job done.'”
- Tice has invented a new word. Via Pompei:
“‘There is a lot of familiarity,’ Tice said. We’re going to have to convert that family over to Bearism and knock off that Cheesehead stuff.'”
- Larry Mayer at ChicagoBears.com says that the Bears also liked Alabama’s James Carpenter. Most analysts thought the Seahawks drafteed Carpeneter too high at #25.
- Looks like the Bears won’t be having that team meeting on Monday.
One Final Thought
Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Sun-Times indicates that turn about might be fair play when it comes to the Bears botched trade with Baltimore:
“Maybe the final word on the subject should come from Newsome himself, by way of Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who unearthed an old quote from eight years ago when Baltimore failed to trade up with Minnesota in a similar situation.
“The deal was not consummated,’ [Raven's GM Ozzie] Newsome said at the time. A deal is not a deal until I talk to [league executive] Joel Bussert, and I never talked to Joel Bussert.’
“Angelo couldn’t have said it any better himself.”
But the Chicago Tribune‘s David Haugh isn’t buying that:
“If the Bears were willing to give up that player before the so-called glitch, they should be after — especially since they got Carimi. The Ravens negotiated the trade successfully so the Bears should honor it in good faith.”
I’ve given up believing that the Bears are likely to take the moral high road on issues like this. But for the record, I think they should have dome the right thing and compensated Baltimore.