Road to the Draft…Part One
Before we get into who might be available for the Bears in the first round, I want to take a minute to think about what we might be looking for. The general consensus among the experts is that the Bears will be looking for help on either the offensive or defensive line at pick #29. I disagree, to a certain degree. Here is why:
1) I think (hope) GM Jerry Angelo has learned NOT to reach for questionable talent, just because it is a weak position on the team (In 2003, Angelo took DE Michael Haynes at #14 overall. Five years later, we took OT Chris Williams at #14). Angelo has learned not to reach for players, just because they might fit our system (DE Dan Bazuin, OLB Michael Okwo). In fact, when you look at the last 3 drafts, Angelo has netted starters such as RB Matt Forte, WR Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox, OT J’Marcus Webb, and CB DJ Moore; and the prospects are still high for guys like S Major Wright, TE Kellen Davis, OG Lance Louis, and CB Joshua Moore.
2) The Bears have done a nice job of stockpiling players who can play multiple positions on the offensive and defensive line. Chris Williams can play either tackle position or Left Guard. J’Marcus Webb can play either tackle spot. Roberto Garza and Edwin Williams can play guard or center. On defense, Henry Melton and Israel Idonije can play inside or outside. Major Wright and Chris Harris can play either safety spot.
3) For a team that came up 7 points short of the Super Bowl, we do not have too many positions that are not worthy of draft consideration. Quarterback and Kicker are the only two that come to mind.
Because of these three factors, I think the Bears are in a really good spot in the upcoming draft. There is bound to be a draftable player for us at #29, with so many positions open for competition. And, unless it is a QB, there is not a position I would not draft a player that slips to us. All this being said, I think the positions of need for us fall in this priority:
You may notice I put all OLs in one spot; and all DLs in one spot. Again, I think because of the versatility of players already on the roster, we can be flexible as to who we draft. For example, if the best player available is an OG, I think the front office will consider moving Chris Williams back to LT. If the best player is an RT, we may consider moving J’Marcus Webb to LT, and keeping Williams at LG. If the best player available is a DE, we could move Melton and/or Idonije back inside. If the best player is a DT, we could keep one or both of them at DE. Regardless of how we play it, the Bears should come out of this draft with at least 2 immediate starters.