Chicago Sun-Times

Bears heading in to check out WR Thomas

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As the plot thickens so does the smoke.

Or is it real interest? reported this morning that the Bears will get together with Michigan State wide receiver Devin Thomas Friday. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake will travel to Michigan to meet with him and it could lead to a possible last-minute workout. We’ve confirmed the information with a source close to the player.

Talk about a turn of events.

No one has strongly considered the possibility the Bears will look at a receiver in the first round. The bust factor is as high at receiver as any other position in the first round. Just look at how nabbing receivers at the top of the first round has worked out for the Detroit Lions. Roy Williams is a bona fide playmaker. Charles Rogers and Mike Williams are long gone. Calvin Johnson is still dealing with back issues that plagued him as a rookie.

Thomas is projected by many at this point to go to the Buffalo Bills, who are drafting 11th. Most consider him the best receiver in the class after Malcolm Kelly ran through quick sand at Oklahoma in a couple of workouts. It is believed Kelly was, at least at one point, the top-rated receiver on the Bears’ board. He could still be in that position. Thomas has dynamic ability to go with terrific size at 6-2, 215 pounds. He has to fight the perception he was a one-year wonder for the Spartans. He set a school record with 79 catches for 1,260 yards and eight touchdowns.

He’s represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, no stranger to the Bears, and that strikes as curious as well. Rosenhaus has another client in Central Florida running back Kevin Smith that figures to be a better fit for the Bears. General manager Jerry Angelo went to visit him after attending the owners meetings.

Quarterback remains a real issue for the Bears and one thinking is the team will wait to really invest in a receiver until the situation with the man throwing the ball is resolved. Why go gangbusters for a target you’re not convinced can get the ball on a regular basis? The Bears trumpet themselves as a running team and have two holes on the offensive line and a major-league question mark in Cedric Benson.

Perhaps the Bears really want to check Thomas out one more time. Perhaps Drake is eyeing some vacation property on the other side of Lake Michigan. Heck, maybe it's both.

Stay tuned.

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This info tells me that the Bears are trying to trump up interest in the 14th pick in order to trade down.

The 14th pick is in no man's land. Either be bold and move up or trade down and aquire picks. I'm thinking Tennessee or Philly would love to move up for Thomas.

That way the Bears could still get guys like Flacco or Henne at QB, Cherilous at OT or Felix Jones at RB later in the first/early second.

Or is it a back scratch for Drew Rosenhaus to encourage Buffalo to draft Thomas at 11? Maybe by helping Rosenhaus out on things like this, he is less of a pain when working through the deals for Tommie Harris and others...I can't imagine the Bears drafting a WR in the first three rounds, let alone the first round.

Hopefully this is one last attempt at a smokescreen, and nothing else.

Why does everyone seem to think that a new QB and RB would solve the Bears offensive problems? The offensive line is definitely the biggest problem. If the offensive line cannot protect the QB or create holes for RB, how would a rookie QB or RB be a fix to the offense? Did anyone REALLY watch the games last season? The offensive line gave no protection all season long. This years draft is very strong with some great offensive lineman. The Bears should take advantage of that so they can replace the two holes in the offensive line and be at least semi-productive this upcoming season.


Do you think the Vikings O-Line got that much better last year or do you think that AP had something to do with that. While I agree the Bears MUST address the line this draft, but a playmaking RB can make an average line better. I know the vikings had a good line the year before, but I don't think there will be any argument that they were a much better unit last year with AP running the ball.

No way in heck they take a receiver in the first round. That would be beyond silly. The OL was brutal last season. That has to be the area to address so the QBs can function and the running game can bounce back. If there are truly five legit left tackles in this draft, the Bears would be foolish not to take one.

If the Bears are better next season, they will have a lower pick. And the chances of there being enough LT depth to push one down to them would be remote. So, you take one now. You can get in any draft. But legit left tackles are tough to come by, which is why the good ones make more than WRs.

As for the RB question; once the OL is fixed the running game will follow. Get a speed back in the second or third to compliment, and push, Benson.

And then, as Lovie would say, "go from there."

Anonymous: Nobody thinks a RB or QB will solve all the Bears problems. But it's not just the Oline that is bad, the entire offense is bad except at TE where we are ok. Two rookies starting on the Oline is not going to fix the problem unless those rookies are a young Jon Ogden and a young Roaf. In which case the Oline will be in good shape but QB and RB will still suck. You seem to miss the fact that the Bears need more than just oline. When the Bears and Angelo pick this year they will pick for value at a position of major need, thats it. if Mcfadden or Ryan fell to the Bears and Williams was on the board that Angelo wouldn't draft Mcfadden or Ryan in a heart beat over Williams.

Ben: "The 14th pick is in no man's land. Either be bold and move up or trade down and aquire picks. I'm thinking Tennessee or Philly would love to move up for Thomas."

So by your theory who would want to trade-up to "no man's land" or trade back to it? If you're going to trade up it better be for a great player and team need. Right now, the only guy who fits that bill - who you could trade up for without mortgaging your entire draft - would be Ryan Clady. If you move back, that means that you are probably going to miss out on a guy like Chris Williams or Rashard Mendenhall at #14 so you better be going after Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Otah, or Felix Jones.

Moving up and down in the draft is like going "all-in" in poker; it's really exciting for those watching but it doesn't make sense unless you have good information and a plan.

I kind of agree with Ben here, this draft is deep on the offensive side offering later round value, the Cowboys have two first round picks and they need another impact RB, they might be willing to trade up with Bears in order to get one, this would give Bears two affordable 1st round picks and high 2nd round to get three players 2-Oline and RB or QB who slips early then get back in 3rd round and depth at O-line in 4 or 5....Let's give Jones a call he might be arrogant enough to bite.....


Considering Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson created the value draft chart together, I highly doubt he'd send two first round picks to Chicago for a 14th overall. Chicago would have to send their 14th and both 3rd round picks just to be in the same ballpark.

I fully agree with Jay Mariotti- draft Medenhall. You have a great kid with great talent and he's a local boy! Do it Angelo! Do it! Show the fans you want to build a winning franchise. So what if Benson is a bust? Give him one more year while reving up a great boost for the team and fans with a young running back. Show the fans some love!

Creighton: I do know that the Bears offensive line is not the only problem with the offense. I'm saying that the offensive line is the BIGGEST problem the Bears have. With that being said, the draft has some great OTs and that's the top priority for the Bears. McFadden or Ryan are not going to fall to the #14 pick. Angelo and Lovie obviously see more in Grossman than those 5 great games he had in the beginning of the 2006 season. They are giving Grossman another chance and nothing is going to change that for at least another year. Benson was definitely a bust but can be a good counter to a Thomas Jones type RB where he has competition and works hard. There is good depth with the RBs in the draft. The Bears can afford to wait until the 3rd round or so and draft Kevin Smith or another possibly RB. Games are won and lost by the play of the line which was very apparent when the Giants dominated the Patriots at the line. After the Bears signing Lloyd, Booker, and Davis, I feel the Bears have sufficient receiving depth.

Blake: Peterson on the Vikings is the kind of RB you'll see only every 5-10 years. The Bears don't have the same AP as the Vikings do. They don't have the same line as the Vikings either. The Bears line is the weakest part of the team and needs to be addressed first which is all I'm saying.

This interest in Thomas has got to be a smokescreen. There's been a lot of speculation that Buffalo would trade down, as the 11 pick is way too early to select a WR - Philly for one has been speculated to want to trade up to ensure itself of drafting one of the top 3-4 OT's, as its current OT's are getting up there in age. By feigning interest in the WR the Bills supposedly covet with the 11 pick, the Bears are trying to dissuade Buffalo from trading down and allowing a team interested in an OT to trade into that spot.

Da church:

I was just trying to rip someobody else off for a change....But I do think the possiblity exists that we go down to get one more high value pick including the low first rounder in return, the more 1st day picks the BEARS have the better the opportunity to fill the holes...we need 2 o-lineman (w/ 1-starter)for sure, a serviceable back that can get on the field this year, a developmental QB, and extra-wide out all on the O-side of the ball. Then we go to scrapheap on FA lineman looking for work for a year or two...

Grossman can be good w/ a decent O-line and great w/ a GOOD O-Line. Nuff said. Otah, Williams or Albert w/ the 14th. NUFF SAID.

Anonymous: The Giants won because Eli Manning took it to the next level, his line didn't proterct so much as he escaped with his feet. Could you tell me how many Offensive linmen have been drafted on the olines of the Giants and Pats. I'll answer for you they have one first round offensive linmen between the two of them. Just one. So your saying that is how too build a team so we wait till round two or later. How about the Colts who beat the Bears how many #1 draft picks on the oline do they have? Oh zero as well. I guess actually having a good GM who knows how to find and draft talent on offense is more important than what pick number the player comes from.

Dude there WR depth is a joke they have the worst recievers in the NFL. This years class isn't going to help but there WR are a joke. If that is all it takes to make you happy then they Bears offense probably seems like the best in the NFL.

Creighton: Based on your logic nobody should draft an OT in the first round. So that must mean that Jake Long will be a bust since he's the #1 pick and drafted in the first round? What I was referring to was the pressure the Giants D-line put on Brady and how he was innefective because of the pressure. I wasn't saying that the Bears WRs are great, but with this year obviously being a rebuilding year somewhat since there are too many holes to fill in only one draft, is that the receivers are sufficient enough for this year. Maybe the Bears will get lucky and draft a later round receiver who turns out to be the next Berrian for the Bears. I was extremely worried when Berrian signed with the Vikings and Moose was cut because that only left Bradley, Hester, and possibly Davis. Booker can still be a decent possession receiver and Lloyd might possibly step up and be productive again. That's not to mention the tight ends we have in Olsen and Clark.

Since you seem to think you have all the answers what would you do besides hope that McFadden or Ryan somehow fall into the hands of the Bears #14 pick?

Creighton, buddy, please. Describing Eli Manning as reaching the "next level" just gave me a brain cramp. Please refrain from doing so in the future. Yes, he can scramble, and has done so in the past. But back then and today, he still fumbles the ball pretty easily when he gets hit. He fumbled in the SB but got lucky the Patriots didn't recover it. It feels just like when Eli was named SuperBowl MVP...OWWW, MY HEAD!

This is most definitely a smoke screen, remember this is Jerry Angelo not Matt Millen. Here are a few other reasons why I also think there is a lot of smoke in the air. First off, Marty Booker was brought in to start and the Bears still like Mark Bradley, also Devin Hesters contract is in the works. But to me the #1 reason I don't see the Bears takeing Devin Thomas is the recent 3 year deal Rashied Davis got. The Bears must still like Davis to invest that much time into him. Oh ya don't forget Brandon Lloyd, that is way to many bodies at one position to draft another wide receiver that high and to much money already invested to have to pay a first rounder. So you see the Bears need and will go offensive line early GO BEARS!!

'Do you think the Vikings O-Line got that much better last year or do you think that AP had something to do with that.' I think everyone was yelling about how great the Vikes Oline was....
I feel the OL was that much better, AP was good and helped no doubt but if you watched the Super Bowl last year - see Giants DL, Pats OL, you know that the game is decided by the OL/DL Yeop Walter had many great games without much of an OLine but he didn't WIN many games untill he got an Oline, and he most assuredly did not win a Super Bowl untill he got some Pro Bowl Oline. No knock on Walter (The Great!!) but you must have OL/DL to win games. Da can not waste that 4 pick (Ced)without getting an OL first,
of course if RM drops the Bears might go with him, I would rather see OL but RM, I wouldnt bitch till I saw RM gettin killed in the backfield by the Vikes awsome NEW DL. Let Ced get a legit OL and then we will know once and for all if he is gone.

Smokescreen - plain and simple. More interest and hype for the "skill" guys is good for the Bears. If somebody moves up to take Ryan, Mendenhall, Thomas, etc., that just leaves more linemen for the Bears to choose from at #14. They want Williams and don't want to give up their extra 3rd rounder to move up. That's all it is. They want two linemen, a RB and a WR with the first four picks. Ideally, that includes Williams at #14. If they have to trade up it wrecks their plans but they'll do it.

I was one that laughed at the Millen/JA comparison but I admit that JA has had some excellent Defensive drafts. And the Smoke on this one is so thick I can't hardly see to write.
The Bears have shored up WR in Free Agency and they have a 4 pick at RB. So I'm thinking like Jolietguy and Kevin

Anonymous, you miss the point. If the Bears can't draft oline past round one then there never going to build a line, They have not found a starting Oline guy in the draft sense Olin. That is one guy in 10 years. I am not talking about garbage players, I mena solid starters. Actually lots of teams have made great Olines without drafting high, the 90's cowboys, 1 first round pick, St. Louis Rams, 1 first round pick, the Pats, the late 90's Broncos, The Giants, the Colts. All did it, all I am saying is if they can do it why can't the Bears. If Angelo is not good enough to find the Talent then he should not be the GM. You want to know what I would do, fine. I would have the stones to say I am actually rebuilding the offense, I would have kept Griese and let Benson go. He says there retooling and all they need is 2-3 starting Olinemen a #1 WR, a franchise QB, and #1 running Back. With the 14th overall pick I would look for a player to build around. The QB class sucks, so I would not go there, LT would be a great start but I doubt anyone falls to the Bears. If Williams is there which he will not be, but if he was I would think about it. I like Albert but I think he is a OG and would not grab him at 14 as there is no value in it. If Mendenhall fell I would grab him. Not just because I like him, he is a 3 down back that does everything well, he is considered one of the safest picks in the draft and he fits the Bears system to a tee. Now your thinking he won't be able to run behind our line and your right. That I need to grab Otah or Gosder, both are RT's and you do not build your team around a RT. Also Otah is a Project and the Bears success there has been little to none, I like Gosder but I don't think the Bears will be able to trade down for him and I would not take him at 14. Thats why with the second pick I go after Nicks, Collins or Brown to play RT, all three of those guys will be better than average at RT, no they will not be Otah or Gosder but they will be close and may even be better in the long run. In round 3 I would go after a OG Rachal, or Zuttah, maybe both and Both could probably start inside right away Zuttah gives you diversity at C and OG and may be a back up his first year but I bet he is better than Garza, Rachal could start 1st year and now you have a power running game. While there is no proof that any of these guys are going to be good, that can be said for every player in a draft. Mendenhall is a safe pick, an impact player and someone to actually build an offense around. Williams and Clady will probably be good LT's but not pro bowl tackles and both have more question marks than Mendenhall. Thats just how I see it. Next year I would look LT, however if I got Brown I would consider him my LT of the future and if his first year he worked out well at RT would probably switch him over to the LT and go QB round 1 and RT round 2.

That is a pretty good first 3 rounds, while it doesn't totally fix the bears it does give you a core to start with. The Bears are a power running team, and have a legit 3 down power back, a solid RT prospect, and 2 solid Guard prospect. The two best ways to help a QB are a LT and a running game. Well if I can't get you the LT I sure will get you the Running game. To take pressure off him. Not only will he help run the ball but he can block like nobody's buisness and catch out of the backfield. That all helps the QB and stretches a defense. Try blitzing on Mendenhall and see what happens hill pick up his block unlike Benson, try puting 8 in the Box, will just kick it to the outside. This actually helps the team. A project LT who starts at RT would only mean Tait starts at LT. I will never see the point in taking a RT or Guard in the first round. The 5 offensive linemen I listed are real good and can be grabbed in rounds 2 and 3. But reaching for a RT at 14 who needs to develop seems a waste with a guy like Mendenhall on the board. It's gonna take a couple of years to fix the mess but at least I have an impact player and some Oline talent.

Mike Look at Eli from week 17 on last season. He was great in playoffs and the Super Bowl MVP. He looked good, thats about all there is to it. Yes I agree he fumbles to much but then again he get hit a lot too. You don't have to like the guy but he did a great job under tons of pressure. I am not going to takethat away from.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 24, 2008 8:37 AM.

Bears' penchant for finding defensive players needs to spread to offense was the previous entry in this blog.

UPDATED: Piccolo awards to be announced this morning is the next entry in this blog.

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