Chicago Sun-Times

Search for wide receiver leads to coast ... Coastal Carolina

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There is more to wide receiver Jerome Simpson than a small school background that makes him comparable to Marty Booker.

Simpson, from Coastal Carolina, has some huge mitts like the veteran Booker, who the Bears brought back earlier this month to help solidify the receiver position. Booker, who went to Louisiana-Monroe, has used his large hands and long arms to put together a nice nine-year career.

The Bears are in the market to draft some more help and sent receivers coach Darryl Drake to put Simpson through a workout earlier this month.

The 6-2, 199-pound Simpson had an impressive combine workout when he had the best broad jump among receivers at 11 feet, four inches and the seventh-best 40 time in 4.47 seconds. Simpson had a vertical jump of 41 1/2 inches last week at his pro day. The knock on him had been that he wasn’t fast enough (something Booker has heard) but his 40 time would seem to answer questions about his speed.

Now, only the competition Simpson faced is in question. He holds the Big South Conference career record for receiving yardage (2,340) and set single-season marks as a junior in 2006 with 1,077 yards and 16 touchdowns. An unsettled quarterback situation this past season kept his numbers as a senior down. He’s projected most places as a third-round draft pick. That’s the round Booker was drafted in back in 1999.

Check out this highlight reel catch by Simpson.

*** Word is running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were not the only players coach Lovie Smith was paying close attention to last week at the Arkansas pro day.

Smith met with Razorbacks defensive tackle Marcus Harrison. He’s an intriguing prospect who has good lateral quickness and played last season not long after coming off a torn ACL in spring ball. Harrison, 6-3, 312 pounds, was a second team all-SEC performer. He had a 29-inch vertical jump at the pro day.

Check back Tuesday for a a look at a few other tackles that might be intriguing to the Bears.

*** Smith was also impressed by Arkansas cornerback Matterral Richardson, a source said. Richardson doesn’t run real well, but he’s a physical performer who is rugged against the run and possesses good instincts. He could be a solid cover two corner and a strong special teams performer. He’s viewed as a potential late-round pick.

*** Agent Chad Speck sent a letter to all 32 general managers regarding Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, who is highly regarded but has yet to work out because of a quad injury.

Speck moved to dispel any rumors circulating about his client and attached a letter from Dr. Michael F. Hatrak, who has worked with numerous NFL players, to support information that Kelly had a ``slight quadriceps tear’’ which is now fully healed. Hatrak stated there is no further damage, and Kelly will work out April 9 at Oklahoma with former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch serving as his quarterback.

Kelly is considered a first-round pick but teams have been waiting to see what he can do.

*** The Bears were one of 10 teams represented at the Arkansas State pro day today, according to Arkansas360.com.

Among the players working out were safeties Tyrell Johnson, a run stuffer, and Khayyam Burns.

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28 Comments

I would have to say that was a beauty of a catch.
Im a fan of speed players but I hope that Jerry Angelo wont make the same mistake twice.He drafted Currie in the 5th round base on his speed.I like football players.Ones that are not afraid to go in the middle of the field like a Tom Waddle.If a WR knows how to create space then will be just as productive as a WR with incredible speed that doesnt run crisp routs.
In the draft I dont know how many FB there is, but I hope to see one come in and compete with Jason McKie.I think Jason is a fine player, a hybrid type FB but if the Bears are able to find a complete FB to open holes that would be very nice.
With 4 7th rounders Im confident that at least 2 of them can make the 53 man roster.

Jerome Simpson is one of the receivers I would like to see the Bears draft. I still think the Bears need to use the first day which is the 1st round and 2nd round on a tackle and a running back. However in the 3rd round I would like to see the Bears take a receiver like Jerome Simpson or Vanderbilts Earl Bennett and thanks to Briggsgate we now have a higher pick in the third to get one. One of the main reasons I like Simpson is because every time I read a scouting report on him they talk about his ability to catch everything that is thrown at him, that my friends is what the Bears need, a receiver that can catch consistently. I also like the fact that Simpson has scored 44 tds in his college career that means he has a nose for the endzone. Earl Bennett of Vanderbilt is another one I like because of his ability to use his head and shoulder fakes to help create separation from defenders, must be true because he is the SEC career leader in receptions [236] and what is more impressive is he did it in just three seasons. Both Simpson and Bennett should be available in the early third when the Bears pick thanks 49ers. Now I realize that Simpson nor Bennett will probably not contribute a lot there rookie seasons but it would be nice to have some young talent at receiver and the Bears have got to start some where. I want the Bears to take Tulanes Matt Forte in the second, Forte would fill a huge need and I like Fortes ability to not only run but block and catch might seem like a reach but I think he can be a good runner for the Bears. Althought there is one receiver I would like the Bears to take in the second, Indianas James Hardy the 6-6 220lb receiver would give the Bears a big redzone threat and downfield magnet for the big play. I just think Forte would be a better move by the Bears in the 2nd, like I said might seem like a reach but I think Forte fills a bigger need than receiver and the Bears can get some good looking prospects like Simpson and Bennett in the third GO BEARS!!

Brando, the fullback I think the Bears should grab is West Virginias Owen Schmitt. This guy was born to be a Bear, Schmitt is an old school smash mouth lead blocker. I love his mohawk the Bears need this kind of player to give there offense some in your face attitude. Looks aside Schmitt is a punisher as a lead blocker, broke 10 face mask while at West Virginia. Also the scouts say he is a team first married to the game kind of player the Bears also need this kind of player. Also Schmitt could help the Bears in short yardage situations as a power formation ballcarrier. Schmitt would basically be a third guard and the lead blocker the Bears have been lacking I say nab him in the 4th round GO BEARS!!

Hey Kevin I don't think the Bears will be in the market for a Fullback, there not that important to the WCO, but I got a question for the fans on the boards.

I have been trying to figure something out about the Bears offense.

The Bears run a WCO, and yet they say they are a run first team. Well last I checked isn't the WCO a pass first system,in fact isn't it a system designed to open up passing and running plays using short passing. Also deosn't it require a quick agile RB who can catch out of the backfield and turn the corner rather than a bruiser who runs up the middle. Als othere is the QB, isn't a WCO QB supposed to be a quick thinker type like Montana, cause they run a short passing game doesn't the the QB need to just read his progressions real quick and then pass the ball. A strong arm and deep threat is not that important. So why did we draft Benson who cannot catch out of the backfield or turn the corner to replace a guy who could, and Rex a strong armed QB who holds on to the ball to long. In fact if I am not mistaken, isn't what Turner is doing to the WCO the exact opposite of what should be happening? We try to go deep a lot early and we try to run up the middle. Those are the weaknesses of the WCO. Now take Simpson thier he actually fits the mold of WCO WR but what if the Bears try to make him a deep threat. There are some very strange personel choices being made for the Bears offense that make little sense. It's like they are trying to make the WCO fit there personel choices, but there personel choices are all wrong for a WCO. It's really strange.

Kevin, you are dead on. I just saw some of this guy's highlights on YouTube...Amazing.

Angelo should draft the best running back available at #14 (probably Mendenhall or Stewart). Then draft the best left tackle he can find with #44. Bears need a running game.

what about hester the fullback from ucla I heard good things of him

Kevin I will be the first to admit that Im not a good speller my gramer is off and Im not up to date on college football.Well maybe a little N.D. talk wont hurt anyone.
This guy Schmitt you talk about, is he looked at as an undrafted free agent?
Im a big fan of the FB posititon.Its a dieing breed.I think if a team can utilize the FB position to the players strength, that could be an effective tool.
As of right know us fans know of Hester, Bradly, Booker,& Lloyd being the Bears WRs.It a battle between Hass, and who ever they bring in for the 5th spot.The Bears might just have 4 RBs on their roster this year, leaving a man out in I believe the WR position.

Kevin, I agree completely with your comments regarding the Bears' use of the 'WCO' although what it appears to me is that they run a much more 'Air Coryell' type WCO, not the Bill Walsh style offence still in use at the Seahawks today. The older Air Coryell version of the offence like what Norv Turner's offences use, are much more power running based using timed passing routes from a tree designed to stretch the field vertically. Now if we look at who they've drafted to fit in this system it makes a little more sense as Benson is the power back, rex has the strong arm and they've always tried to get speed at receiver. It's still a West Coast Offence and the original actually but people these days tend to hear WCO and think of Bill Walsh so when Ron Turner tells us he runs a WCO I think he just means the older Air Coryell.

The Bears would be better served with the best OT in the first. QB in the second, Flacco. and with the two 3rd choices, Forte and
Anthony Collins from kansas, played both tackle positions. Owen Schmitt would be a godsend, Matt Forte runs great behind a fb. Then a TE, preferably Kellen Davis out of Michigan state. He blocks and would be a great compliment to Olsen in the passing game when Clark leaves. I would love to see the Bears get Sam Keller also. Nice addition to our QB scene. Then maybe another tackle for depth, rb for depth. This draft should be all offense. With 11 picks, the offense should be measurably better this coming season.

Kevin I think you are right about grabbing the O-Line in the 1st rd. It could very easily break down that the top 4 OT's are gone by the 14th pick. In which case I say grab Albert. I like him over Williams or Otah because of his flexibility, arm length and physical appearance (weight evenly spread, not just around gut). If the Bears grab a RB in the 1st the 2nd tier of O-Line may be gone as well.

The 2nd rd though, if Henne or Flacco are there I would grab before RB. If the QB's are gone I think the priority on RB's should be Jones, Charles, then if they are gone look at WR. A bigger back like Forte should be there in the 3rd RD, Choice, Tashard.

Creighton,
You are correct in that the design of the west coast offense is to set up the running game with short, controlled passes, and take shots when they are there. Our limitations on offense (a weak QB for the last 20 years, no running back to speak of, wide receivers who run lazy routes and can't get separation, and an offensive line running in sand) have prevented us from maintaining the balance that the west coast offense preaches. Ron Turner's playcalling has been pedestrian at best, but how much of that is him, and how much of that is the tools he has to work with? We will see this year, when we hopefully will have at least 2 new starters on the offensive line (preferably 3), a new running back, and a 2 TE set with Desmond Clark and Greg Olson that will utilize the mismatches that they present to the defense. If we still struggle with better protection, and a better running back, then Turner is the problem. If we improve, and we can get back to where he had us with Erik Kramer at the helm, we will know the problem was the players (Muhammed, Berrian, Grossman, Miller, Brown, Garza, Benson, Peterson, McKie) that were asked to execute the offense.

We don't move the pocket, we don't check down (except for Griese, who did it too often), and we don't keep the defense guessing. In my opinion, the 2 TE set is what will accomplish all of those things. You can motion Olson or Clark into the slot, and you have a 3WR look. If you keep them on the line, you can run, play action, or straight pass. Teams will not be able to stack the box, or Olson will blow right by them down the seam and gain big chunks of yards. If they play the pass, we run it down their throats. Turner can be more versatile if we use the strengths of our team. It sure isn't the QB position, and it sure isn't the WRs or RBs. The TE position is the only place where we have dangerous players that can do enough different things to scare the defense. Hester can run deep, Booker can run underneath, and Bradley can do both. But they are all one-trick ponies. We need to rely on the horses, and get a few more horses on the offensive line to help them out. And this time, let's get some that can pull and get to the edge, or actually get out of their stance before the blitz is past them. Until we are able to press the entire field on offense, we will continue to lead the league in 3 and outs.

I agree with beefing up the FB position, after watching Brandon Jacobs make mincemeat out of LB`s and DB`s on the way to the Super Bowl, I was left wanting to have him, or his clone on the Bears. It has been a real joy to read these posts on the upcoming draft, and I can`t help but feel that Mr. Angelo really needs to make a statement with the first pick, I would like him to do something that makes the rest of the league sit back and say " WOW, can you believe that"? I would really like the Bears to get right back to the Super Bowl, with this group of players, it would be a shame to have had Brian Urlacher on a team that never won the big game.

1st pick: Williams
2nd pick: Hardy or Flacco - personally i'd get Flacco but if WR all falling off the board fast get him... big fast, has good hands..
3rd-1st pick: Hardy or Flacco
3rd-2nd pick: Laws if he is there which is a BIG if... if not KEVIN SMITH - good speed, elusive..
4th: SCHMITT... i dont care what happens!!! WE NEED HIM!! HE IS A BEAR and MCKIE is garbage really... so tried of that out in the flat play that he doesnt produce in EVER!!! he has to go... proof positive??? he is good friends with Benson... enough said
5th: Zbikowski
6th: Tutten (g-rutgers)(another big IF)

I like Owen Schmitt, he reminds me of BMuster25 and Hardy, i have a feeling will be a tremendous player.. (off field problems or not in the past, lovie will straighten that out.)

As for the comparisons to Muster....he wasn't really very good if memory serves correctly.

What do you guys think about Jordy Nelson in the Third? He is a big smart receiver that can catch everything. He runs great routes and is really quick for his size. I am hoping that they go RB in the first with either Stewart or Mendenhal and grab whichever Tackle slips to them in the second. Just me but I think a dominant RB is more important then a project QB. That Owen Shmitt kid looks nasty.

I have a feeling that Flacco will not be around for the Bears pick. I also like the Owen Schmitt pick.

Alec Glen excelent reply, that is true it is more of a Air Coryel system, but wasn't there a major problem with that system. If I am right the Coryel system had major problems controling the clock resulting in a defense spending to much time on the field. Sound like anyone we know? Isn't that why Walsh changed it, to better control the clock. Norv runs the same offense but has modified the blocking scheme.

Some traits of the Coryel offense

The WCO has the following characteristics:

It is a "ball-control" offense, predicated on the ability of the QB to achieve a high completion percentage
The receivers often run precise short-to-intermediate routes and a lot of crossing routes and slants. The receivers are expected to pick up yards after the catch
The QB takes more 3- and 5-step drops as opposed to 7-step drops
When the QB and WRs are on the same page, it can be difficult to disrupt the rhythm of the offense
It relies heavily on the receiving skills of backs coming out of the backfield

The Coryell offense has the following characteristics:

It is a "stretch-the-field vertically" offense, predicated on the complementary effects of throwing deep and running the football
The receivers often run intermediate-to-long routes
The QB takes more 5- and 7-step drops
It emphasizes maximum pass protection, to protect the QB until the receivers get open downfield
It is committed to the power running game. The running game opens up opportunities for big downfield complitions and vise versa.

Mike Martz, in an interview with Dr. Z of CNN/SI said:

That's another thing that's critical to the system. Power running. You've got to be able to run the ball when you go to a three-wide receiver set, and you've got to run with power. By that I mean behind zone blocking, which is a big departure from the San Francisco system. Theirs was man-blocking, with a lot of cut-blocks and misdirection. Ours is straight power. Not many people realize this, but if we hadn't have gotten Marshall we were prepared to go with another excellent zone-blocking runner, Robert Holcombe. It takes a certain type, a guy who can run with power, who's good at picking his way through. Stephen Davis is doing that in Washington now, and that's a big reason why their offense is so good...The good thing about zone-block running is that you can keep pounding away. You don't have the negative yardage plays.

Some other notes on the Coryel system.

Arguably the best Coryell offense ever was the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" team in 1999. They had an awesome set of wideouts (Bruce, Holt, Hakim, and Proehl), a strong OL, and Faulk and Warner in their prime

The personnel requirements are significantly different between the Coryell O and WCO. In the Coryell O:

QBs must be able to throw deep with accuracy. They are typically pocket passers with big arms. Examples of solid Coryell QBs are the Cowboys' HOFer Troy Aikman (6-4 220) and former Ram Kurt Warner (6-2 200)
WRs must be able to stretch the field. The name of the game is speed and separation. By contrast, the WCO favors physical possession receivers, such as Jerry Rice. Examples of solid Coryell WRs are the Rams' Torry Holt (6-0 195) and the Raiders' Randy Moss (6-4 205)
RBs carry a heavy load and tend to have good power. Norv Turner in particular has preferred to feed the ball to a feature back (Emmitt Smith in DAL, Terry Allen in WAS, Stephen Davis in WAS, LaDainian Tomlinson in SD, Ricky Williams in MIA). So the Raiders went out in FA and signed former Jet LaMont Jordan (5-10 230) to a big 5 year / $27.5 MM deal to be that workhorse RB. Examples of solid Coryell RBs are former Redskin John Riggins (6-2 230), former Cowboy Emmitt Smith (5-9 215), and the Chiefs' Priest Holmes (5-9 213)
TEs tend to be strong blockers; they are relied upon heavily in pass protection and in paving the way for RBs in the ground game. In general, the WCO favors TEs with receiving over blocking skills (e.g. the Jets' Doug Jolley) whereas the Coryell O favors the reverse, although obviously a TE who can do both can fit into any system. This explains, in part, why 2004 rookie 7th rounder Courtney Anderson (6-6 270), with his size and ability to run-block, was able to leap-frog former 2nd rounders Doug Jolley (6-4 250) and Teyo Johnson on the Raiders depth chart
OL tend to be big and physical compared to their WCO counterparts. Some WCO teams have gotten by with smaller OL (e.g. the Niners in the 1990s and the Broncos of recent years), because the linemen are able to block at angles and only need to maintain pass protection for a short period of time. Coryell OL are road graders in the running game, but they must also pass protect on drawn-out deep passing plays. Examples of solid Coryell OLs are the Cowboys' massive (at the time) championship OL in the 1990s and the Chiefs' OL in recent years.

There are some major personel problems I see on the bears.

Including WR, QB, OL, and RB. Would anyone guessthat this is the same offense as the Rams or 1990'S cowboys when you watch it?? I don't think so. Also of note Williams does not fit this system, but Mendenhall does. Also of note look at the quality of RB's from these teams. In order to have an offense like this you need a lot of high quality players on offense a side of the ball the Bears have been ignoring for years in the draft. When it works it is a great system but you need a lot of talent on that side of the ball, and lots of solid drafting.

REM, i think Neal Anderson would be upset with that assessment but eh, its an opinion. now if you said Mckie isn't that good - and looking for someone to cosign that... give me the dotted line.

Coastal Carolina is a small school. True. What about Florence State Teachers College? I seem to recall a wide receiver from there who did OK. I also remember a center/linebacker from Hardin-Simmons who's in the Hall of Fame. And then we have a QB from Florida who stinks up the house. Go figure.

The real west coast offense usualy involves a fullback and with rookie lineman the blocking help would be nice. I hav'nt noticed our running backs making exceptional blocks since thomas jones left. still I'd take chris williams first, then chooose between matt forte or joe flacco in the second. in the third i'd grab rb gb wr help and a fullback

Anonymous April 1, 2008 02:19AM Most draft experts give Owen Schmitt a fourth round grade, Schmitt could slip to the 5th or 6th but I think the Bears should grab him in the 4th. I think he would help that much to take him in the fourth.

Creighton, I think the fullback is important in the WCO, just ask Tom Rathman or Mike Alstott. Owen Schmitt is compared to Mike Alstott. I think there are different variations of the west coast offense, the Bears run a more run based version. With a healthy defense and improved line play will allow the Bears to run this type of offense. I think because of the defense being so banged up this past season the Bears had to pass more than they wanted to. I also wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Bears takeing a fullback, Angelo took J D Runnells in 06 so he wanted an upgrade even thought Runnells didn't work out. I also read that Angelo was checking out different fullbacks at the senior bowl. I just think Schmitt would help our running game with his bring it on mentality and power to push the pile. Also as a receiver the scouts say Schmitt has large hands to secure the ball and can help a team in this area also. For this reason I say draft Schmitt and unleash him on the rest of the NFC north GO BEARS!!

Kevin Alstott ran out of a different WCO style. That was more of a Walsh style that used two backs. I don't think Schmitt is a bad player I think he is a very good prospect. I just don't think he would be utalized in the Bears offense very much. Lot's of people last year kept asking about Olsen, why isn't he getting more playing time? Reason was he needed to block better. He actually does't fit the Bears offense very well, that said he is a really good player in the wrong system right now. The Bears run a cross between the Walsh WCO and the Air Coryell system, it's actually a bit of a mess. They try mixing it up but it doesn't play well at the line, are we a power O or a zone system? Why do have guys that would fit better in a zone system like Olin and Garza playing a power game. The Bears line ranked 30th in run blocking last year and 18th in pass protection. That looks like it favors the pass but in the Bears WCO it should favor the Run. If they plan on continuing with there current system they need a power running game to set up the deep pass. Which means there big problem was at center and guard not OT cause they couldn't go up the middle. That said we also no the are a wreck at OT. Tait does not fit at LT in this system but he does fit at RT. Long, Otah, and Albert fit there needs on the line. Plus other Power Olinemen.

Kevin Armstead thank you for giving me usefull info about the fullback Schmitt.
I dont know how much I can stress on how importan it is to have a blocking fullback.The system the Bears offense runs is a block first offensive system.That includes the running backs.How do you think Thomas Jones looked so good in Turners offense.Jones knew how to block first and release when needed, something Benson has never learned.McKie is a good full back, but I also think that if he wants to be a Chicago Bears, Ron Turner style full back, he has to learn that its not all about stats its about UNITY.
Creighton most all of you blogs are consintraded on offence.Now I dont know if you want a Rams style of offence that leaves their defence on the field for the majority of the game.I want to see an offense that can control the ball and keep what is importan the defense fresh.

Do the Bears realy run a cross between the west coast offense and the "Air Coryell" system?Is Greg Olson in the Wrong system????????

I dont believe any of those statements.
If I remember right the Bears offensive is designed to attack the middle of the field.If Im Dreaming the Bears 2 tight ends combined for the second most yards in the NFL, and Clark in the last 3 years combined, leads the NFL in Yards per Catch.
Olsen in the Wrong system I highly doubt it.
I take it that Terrence Meatcalf pillow that Creighton stiched me is becoming more and more usefull everyday.

Jacob Hester is a FB at LSU,not UCLA

i think we all could agree that owen schmitt needs to be a BEAR on draft day.


brando is it olson or olsen.Creighton and brando what is it with you 2.when i read creightons blogs i have learned to wait untill brando blogs to see if creighton got anything wrong.i love to watch football i am learning new stuff everyday and i have learned alot from biggs.one thing i have seen and realized is the bears tight ends were the one area that looked realy good last year.olsen is my favorite player and the hottest players in football.he is dreamy.

i have seen jerome for eight years. his middle school coach was once quoted in saying that simpson could catch bb's in the dark. regardless of where he lands in the draft, nflshop.com will be flooded with orders from reidsvile the day that the 53 man rosters are announced.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 31, 2008 6:30 PM.

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