- Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Sun-Times says that the Bears have to do a better job of drafting defensive players, something which should be their forte and isn’t. A couple excerpts stood out:
“Oddly, [GM Jerry] Angelo was a better at drafting defensive players before [head coach Lovie] Smith arrived despite the seeming advantage the two should share by working off a different blueprint than other teams.”
Insert your thoughts about Smith’s influence in the draft room here.
“One league source with a stellar track record for predicting the Bears’ drafts said the defensive coaching staff will be pressuring Angelo and [player personnel boss Tim] Ruskell to take a cornerback.”
Too many people are ignoring this need. The Bears need a third corner and they could very well take one early if the right guy is there.
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times has the Bears taking Marvin Austin.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune has OT Gabe Carimi falling to them:
“This huge blocker will be a good fit on Mike Tice’s line. The Bears will be fortunate if he falls to them.”
Pompei’s probably right in that they will take him if he’s there. But I’m not sure he’s a good fit on a team that really needs a left tackle.
- The rest of the Tribune’s contributors make their picks. A wide variety of choices which seems to be typical of the unpredictable nature of this draft, especially when considering such a late pick. Most of the picks reflect one of the six scenarios which Pompei describes here.
- Mike Mayock at NFL.com has the Bears taking WR Jonathan Baldwin in the draft:
“The Bears want offensive or defensive line help, but at this point in the draft, those spots have been hit hard. If a trade down isn’t an option, they try to give Jay Cutler another target in the passing game. Baldwin is a talented wideout.”
Baldwin’s going to be a good player but I’m not sure he fits offensive coordinatorMike Matz‘s offense. And he’s a reach at that point. I’m not seing it.
“High character guy who fixes huge problem for Bears at guard. Age (26) not an issue.”
See One Final Thought below.
“This could happen. Graded by some as a second-rounder.”
Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press disagrees (along with most of the rest of the world). He says that he woud be consider Costanzo a steal at 13. I don’t know about that but needless to say it would be the crime of the century at #29.
- No one should be surprised by the news but Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune got a statement from an unidentified team executive that says that the Bears have made it known that they are willing to trade down. The executive represents a team picking higher than #42. I doubt anyone volunteers information like this without an ulterior motive.
- Michael C. Wright and Tom Waddle at ESPNChicago.com talk Bears draft needs and how they match up with who might be available to them:
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reviews the 2008 NFL draft 3 years later. He believes it came up short:
“When the flurry of activity at Halas Hall ended, the Bears didn’t assign themselves a letter grade, but they did say they believed the draft would produce six starters for them. It was a lofty prediction, exceeding the usual goal [of four] Angelo has.”
“Unfortunately, the team can’t claim six starters from this group. Right now, it can’t claim four starters from an original group of 12. That’s not meeting the mark for Angelo.”
Biggs is judging this class according to what Angelo said and I think that’s more than fair. But I’m more inclined to judge it based upon my own expectations. I see four picks in the first three rounds. I expect a minimum of four starters from a draft which has that figuring some hits late and some misses early. I see three starters: Matt Forte, Earl Bennett and Chris Williams. I see two more solid contributors: Zack Bowman, Kellen Davis. All of the players from the 5th round up are still on the team. Its very debatable but I don’t think it was a bad draft.
- John Mullin at CSNChicago.com says that Green Bay defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is expected to be targeted by the Bears in free agency.
- ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert had this interesting exchange regarding Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in a chat Tuesday afternoon. I think Seifert’s got the right on this one. Your opinion may vary but remember the first half f the NFC Championship game (pre-injury) before answering to quickly.
- New Hall of Famer Richard Dent apparently forgot to pay his taxes. A lot.
One Final Thought
John Mullin at CSNChicago.com comes through with the pick which I personally think would be both the right one and the one which is most likely: Watkins.
“If Derek Sherrod somehow is there, the Bears will happily take him and start Mike Tice working J’Marcus Webb and Sherrod at left tackle as soon as lockout terms permit. But tackles go fast and the Bears will be satisfied with Watkins even at age 27 because he will be a day-one starter at guard and could be a factor at tackle even at 6-3.”
Mullin’s mock draft looks very realistic to me and, though he makes Watkins sound like a consolation prize, I think its the right pick. Watkins is likely going to be the best overall blocker available (even if Sherrod is there).
True it leaves the Bears trying to fill a hole at left tackle with the younger guys they’ve got and/or a free agent. But the’d be far from the only team in the NFL trying to make do at the position, which traditionally offers only limited options every year. Sometimes you do what you have to to get the best five guys on the field.