Chicago Sun-Times

Decipher it yourself ... looks like a lineman from here

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After digesting all there was to gather on the Brian Urlacher situation this afternoon, it was on to the draft.

The Bears’ 2008 season will be shaped in large part by what happens this weekend, much more so than how Urlacher’s contract squabble plays out. With four selections in the top 90, general manager Jerry Angelo said the goal is to come away with that many starters from this draft class, or at least three.

When you look at the Bears’ offense right now, the only positions that seem locked in are tight end with Desmond Clark and Greg Olson and center with Olin Kreutz. Everything else could be up for grabs. John Tait might be moving from left to right tackle. Marty Booker would appear to be the No. 1 receiver. Nothing else is locked in.

Here’s something you can just about lock in ... the Bears will take an offensive lineman in the first round. Angelo’s draft history is strongest on the lines. His philosophy in building a franchise begins with the line on both sides of the ball. His greatest need is at offensive tackle. The New York Giants pulled a monster upset in Super Bowl XLII by toppling the New England Patriots with what? Dominant line play. Need more compelling evidence?

I’ll present three questions asked during the pre-draft gathering and their answers. Draw your own conclusions. The first two are to Angelo, the last to coordinator Ron Turner.

Q: ALL THINGS EQUAL, DO YOU GO WITH A RUNNING BACK OR AN OFFENSIVE TACKLE WITH THE 14TH PICK?

JERRY:
That’s kind of what we’re going through right now talking about players of same value. If you said both players are needs then obviously you want to take the best player. Everybody does this, you look at what the second tier at that position will offer you and I think sometimes that makes your decision. If you feel like you can get a player, maybe not of that value, but close to that value and he’ll be there in the second or third round, the other player you look and you’re really falling off the cliff, then that becomes the tiebreaker. So it’s not necessarily the player pitting against a player of equal value or a little bit more and you have to be mindful of that.

Q: SECOND TIER RUNNING BACKS APPEAR TO BE STRONG. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF SECOND TIER OFFENSIVE LINEMEN?

JERRY: It’s probably not as good as the running back position but good, just depends on what rounds you’re looking at. Obviously, there are going to be a few in the second round. Maybe there is going to be one or two in the third, and maybe just kind of one in the fourth and one in the fifth, but that’s every year. Offensive linemen it’s a supply and demand business. The one thing the colleges aren’t able to do is feed 32 football teams with enough offensive linemen. How do you know that? Look at free agency. Look at what these players, who are just rank-and-file players now, and the money that they’re commanding in the open market. It just used to be tackles. Now it’s guards. It’s no longer a specific offensive position it’s all of them. We have to be mindful of that.

Q: WOULD THE NEED FOR A FRANCHISE RUNNING BACK OR FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK TRUMP THE NEED FOR TOP LINEMAN?

RON: You can’t win in this league or really any league without being solid and good up front, no matter how good your back is, no matter how good your quarterback is. It all starts up there. You’ve got to have a good offensive line, guys need to come off and be physical to run the football no matter who your back is, and somebody who can protect for the quarterback. You can look at it both ways. Obviously, we lost two starters on the offensive line and we need to address that, either with the draft or guys on our team. And also you have an opportunity to get a franchise or elite back or quarterback, that’s hard to pass up as well. I dodged that one good didn’t I?

Maybe. We’re still convinced it’s a lineman. So, what do you like with the 44th pick in the second round?

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19 Comments

After reading this article by Biggs and hearing the comments by Angelo and Turner it pretty obvious the Bears want to go offensive line in the first and running back in the second. I think the first pick will be either Boise State's Ryan Clady if he falls and with the retirement of Panthers DE Mike Rucker I now see the Panthers going DE with #13 pick, the only other team that could take Clady is Denver, hey theres always a chance Clady could fall let a guy at least dream. If Clady does not fall I see the Bears takeing Vanderbilts Chris Williams. I'd also be happy with this pick because I think Williams can come in his rookie year and be a left tackle for the Bears and help the Bears passing game by giving the QB's a little more time in the pocket. As far as what I like with the 44th pick in the second round, I say take Matt Forte' of Tulane. Forte would be able to come in and contribute as a rookie and also I like his all around skill set as an inside runner, a receiver, and a blocker. I think both of these picks would help the Bears and fill huge holes. In the end it is pretty obvious the Bears need to come out of this draft with an offensive lineman namely a tackle like Clady or Williams even Otah. The two tell tale signs that the Bears will go tackle first then runner second to me are this, first off there are reports that Benson will be ready by May and face it Angelo wants to give Benson one more shot, so a second round back would be perfect to come in and push Benson or sit a year and maybe start half way through the season if Benson goes back to his old ways. And come on 33 year old John Tait is the Bears only legit tackle right now, that should be all the info you need to know about that position and that the Bears need to go first round tackle. So hopefully Angelo has a plan and lands the players he wants, I have confidence in him GO BEARS!!

I think out of the top 5 O-Line Williams is the weakest. He has short arms and is not very strong. He can mirror DE's on pass blocking, but how about run blocking. Also, how does he get control of the DE if he can't get his hands on him?

If the top OLT's are gone take Otah if he's there. I really don't want to see the Bears "reach" for a player like Williams. Long is already gone, Albert and Clady are probably going to be gone. It will probably come down to Williams or Otah. I say take Otah start him at RT and look for him to develop. Also, if Nicks or Brown are there in the 2nd rd grab one of them.

If Forte isn't available in the 2nd look for Smith and Choice in the 3rd.

I think the Bears will do a good job this year. Last year they reached in 2-4 and I think they will be smarter this year.

ive been saying for 2 years now that we need O-linemen!!! yes even when we did make it to the superbowl. i thought then and still think now we need a new left tackle and right tackle and a guard. i dont like tait, i think he's to slow to keep up with these young fast ends. maybe he would be better on the right but i dont see it. i noticed alot of the time that grossman, griese, and orton lost the ball, or threw an interception, it was because the tackles didnt give them time, because they COULDNT KEEP UP!!! i think grossman will be our starter this year and if he gets time to throw the ball i think he will do really good. i would love to see the bears get mendenhall but we have to do whats best for the team and thats get the best tackle thats left at 14!!! next pick, get the next best tackle, then RB, then QB, after that its a shot in the dark

Yeah, I agree with Windy City guy, Kevin. Williams doesn't fare too well against speedy defensive ends. And this is in college. Imagine him in the NFL going against the top DEs. He's not worth it. My prediction, he'll be a bust to whoever takes him.

I don't think it is obvious at all what Angelo is going to do. He said it himself it is about value at the position compared to value at another position. He doesn't need to smoke screen RB's because at least 1 of the top 3 backs will fall to him, the only reason he would do that is if he plans to try and trade down. I don't think he values Otah or Williams that much at 14, I think he is looking to drop down for Gosder. Otah is a project RT and Williams got beat up by a 3rd tier DT at the Senior bowl. The Bears may need LT more then anything but that does not mean there will be one there either. Albert has passed Williams as a LT prospect, I cannot say that is a confidence booster for Williams. He would probably be better in a zone scheme, Otah is a project and the Bears are looking for instant help. Angelo wants 4 starters out of round one-three. That is not easy to do, that is 100% on four picks in a row the odds are against it. I still say don't be surprised if you see a back in round one depending on who is on the board, the LT debate may be pointless by the time they pick.

At 44 Biggs it will again depend on who is there. If Flacco is there he is a Bear, if not maybe Henne or he may go WR there too and wait for round three and hope Rice falls to the bears. Then it will be a Guard, if D Brown is there grab him. This draft will fall into play with the first 5 picks. Jake Long is off the board and KC and Oakland are going to decide the Bears future. If KC goes Oline the run will be onbut to do that Vern and C Long have to be gone so will Ryan. If that happens Baltimore will take Clady and Denver will grab Williams, Carolina will either take Otah or the Eagles will trade up and grab either Williams or Otah my guess would be Otah. 87 hours to go until the hammer falls.

Still can't believe Allen is now a Viking. The draft just got real interesting today.

This draft will build our line for the next decade and we don't just need starters but depth. assuming bears are happy with beechum we will need to draft someone to push or take his spot and provede depth. I'd take a later round and draft a third o-lineman like pollack who could develope at gaurd and push olin kreunts at center.somewhere we need to hit on a fullback. the bears are the only west coast offense team who don't understand the need of a F.B. to make the run click. I've seen ron turners offense work with the right personal but his playcalling has become too predictable last year as all us armchair Q.B.s were able to predict the deep pitch to the halfback who would run 6-8 yards back to the line of scrimmage.we need a halfback like mendenhal who can take pitches to the left and right to spread out the d-line and a new deep threat to stop eight man fronts.

there are only two things that are obvious from listening to Jerry's press conference on the draft. We have lots of needs, and the sun rises in the east... I think he would prefer to draft an O-lineman with the 14 pick, and if he had his choice, the 44, 70, and 90 picks would also be OL. But we need other players, and that is going to be a crapshoot as far as who is available, and how long we think they will last.

There are three things that can happen that will help us in the draft:
1) Kansas City drafts Matt Ryan, or trades the pick for someone who drafts Ryan--this will leave one more OL on the board, and increase our chances of having options
2,3) Either Denver or Carolina go defense instead of offense. This means that the running backs and one more OL fall to 14.

I think Angelo is obsessed with Boston College players, so I would bet that after Jake Long, Gosder Cherilus has the highest ranking on his board of the OTs. Jerry could move back and get him at 19 (Philly), 20 (Tampa), 18 (Houston), or even 22 (Dallas). Pittsburgh needs OL, and will take him if he is there. I would not mind at all if we took Mendenhall or Stewart, but only if that means we are looking to trade back up with our second and thirds to get another player. Here is a crazy thought. If we trade 44,70, and 90, we have enough ammo to get to Washington at 21. We could draft a RB at 14 and Cherilus at 21 in the first round, but then wouldn't pick again until Round 4. Bold move, but to get two starters is reasonable out of the first 3 rounds.

I would prefer we move back from 14 to 19 with Philly(getting an extra third at 80 in the deal), draft Cherilus or Stewart/Jones if they are there, and then trade up to 32 with 44 and 90. We can draft our QB of the future and still have 70 and 80 in the third round to work with. We can either trade the 70 and 80 to get back into the second round (47 would match the value) or use both third round picks. Jerry can even mortgage next year's picks if he feels like it will get us over the hump this season. I don't see a ton of huge talent in next year's draft class, so losing a few picks is not a bad thing if it helps you land a key guy this year.

The buzz is that there will be a ton of movement in the first round this year, which usually means there won't be much, but I have a feeling that Atlanta is going to make some noise with the 3 second rounders they have, and Miami is almost guaranteed to move out of the 32 spot. Parcells is already chomping at the bit to move in the draft. It's his obsession....

Of course the Bears need to take a tackle, First! With all the talk of otah and williams, why doesn't Gosder Cherilus come up more often as the Bears pick at 14? From the reports I've read, it seems to me he is just as good as otah or Williams. Cherilus played against talent in the ACC. Strong, good foot work and no off field problems. In the second I like Matt Forte. The two third round picks should be (if available) Anthony Collins for our right tackle spot next year and John Booty from USC. Face it any QB we get is third on the depth chart anyway, but at least he comes from a good program. And lastly, could we please draft Owen Schmitt for our fullback of the future! Please!

Why would anyone believe what a GM says 4 days before the draft? Hey I got one for ya, John Gruden said he wants to draft a QB in round 1. Does anyone really think that is true considering he has 5 QB's on the roster? What a waste of blog space!!

Brent, Cherilus is not higher rated because he is only a RT Williams is a LT and Otah might be one.

Creighton, I think you are right that JA is trying to trade down. The top tackles in 07 were stronger and all but Levi Brown were faster. Joe Thomas 28 reps, 4.92 40, 7.95 cone. Levi Brown 31 reps, 5.40 40, 7.87 cone. Joe Staley 4.78 40, 27 reps. Tony Ugoh 5.06 40, 32 reps.

The tackles that are left this year. Clady 5.18 40, 24 reps. Williams 5.13 40, 21 reps, 7.95 cone. Otah 5.28 40, 27 reps. Albert 5.17 40, 23 reps, 7.97 cone. Cherilus 24 reps. In other words the top tier of the O-Line group this year is not as strong or as fast as last years class. Otah is the only one in the same class strength wise and he will need some time.

The Bears need starters! If the guy on the O-Line they project as an immediate starter (I think this is Cherilus, or Otah both at RT) is not there and no trade down is possible I think they are going RB, or WR. In the 2nd rd. they may look to grab Sam Baker (Nicks and Brown will probably be goone, Collins sounds risky). If he wants starters he won't draft a QB until the 4th rd.

I can't wait to find out.

What's interesting is Angelo wants 4 starters out of his first 4 picks. Well you know that two will be Oline, but no more, there is no chance you start 3 rookies on the line, that would be crazy. My next bet is RB and WR. I think the Bears unless Flacco drops to them in round 2 will wait till round 4 or later for a QB. My best guess is WR or oline in round 2. RB and either oline or WR depending on what they do in round 2. I think they want a trade with Dallas and a number 2. This would really help Angelo out a lot. He could then go Gosder at 22 who is a starter at RT, and then WR with 44 and Oline with the extra second pick, probably Brown who could pay guard, then in round 3 he would hope for Rice, and maybe a QB or DT.

If the Bears could make the trade down and pick up a 2nd rd pick they would have some choices. They could go Cherilus, or Nicks. I think Nicks is going to be a heck of a player. Either guy has the right temperment.

The key will be the willingness of other teams to trade.

I just don't want them to "reach" for OL because it is such a need. They need players. If OL is gone at 14 and no trade can be made go with Mendenhall or a defensive player that dropped because all the OL got taken. My greatest hope is they get Otah and Nicks/Brown in 1&2.

The one thing I keep coming back to is how NE has built their team, 5 of the last 8 top picks for them have been linemen.

I would love to see us get an extra second rounder in a trade back, but I don't see Dallas moving up for Mendenhall when they have Barber, as they are similar backs. If they think they will lose Barber, that is another story, but I would bet they are trying to lock him up for as long as they can. So their target would have to be one of the CBs, and I don't know if that is enough to get them to trade up. If they make a deal with the Jets to get McFadden, then the Jets might be interested in getting one of the backs or CBs, but that is a pretty big reach. It all depends on who the target is. Mendenhall's suitors could be: Houston, Arizona, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Seattle, San Diego. Our options are more limited if Otah is the target: Kansas City, Houston, Philly, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Green Bay.

Pittsburgh would be as far back as I think we should go. Any further, and we likely could lose out on Cherilus, Stewart, or even Felix Jones. But we could take Flacco late in 1, and then focus on Oline and RB with the 4 picks we would have in the next 2 rounds. I think we are in an interesting position as far as mobility in the round, but it all depends on what Jerry wants out of the first round. Does he want a LT, RT, RB, QB, or something else? We can put ourselves in a position to get a starter at any of the 4 spots, but as far as LT, we will need to stay at 14, or move up to get someone.

This is making my brain hurt. I don't know what they are thinking, which is what they want as far as not tipping their hand, but there are too many possibilities to explore here, and I wonder if it will result in us outsmarting ourselves and missing on all of our targets in round 1. If we play too many games, we will see one of our competitors jump ahead of us and take a guy we want. If we don't play enough games, we may not get the players we need to fill out the roster.

Brad,
I totally disagree. The way I read JA's answers sounds like the Bears will select the "best player" (skill player=Stewart) and get OL in 2nd round.

Brad do you know if any of the Bears personally attended a Stewart workout?

If he is still around, Gosder Cherilus. Another beast from BC.

Looks like Smokescreen to me.

Bears pick Stewart or Mendenhall at #14 or trade down and pick OL. Maybe they could get some value for Cedric and trade him, if they pick running back. and what is going to happen with Urlacher( I hope he stays) but you have to wonder is now the time to get value for him and trade him? Could Briggs handle the middle? There is fairly decent ILB talent at the end of the first round.

round 2 #44 OL maybe Sam Baker, there will be talent available and whatever happened to Beekman isn't he developing?

Round 3 #70 The USC guard (forgot his Name) he is a mauler type or best WR available.
Round 3 #90 Fullback Owen Schmitt, to get off the bus running the Bears need someone to lead the blocking for the running back. Owen is a stud with a mean streak. I would like to see more mean streak players like Butkus, Plank and what they put out on the field.
Round 4 pick a project quaterback from San Diego state or even Oregon that need time to develop. I don't see that much special talent at QB this year.
Round 5 the safety from ASU a lot of speed and can bring a load, some injuries though.
Round 6 and the four picks at 7 will be fun to watch. Lots of headhunter special team players linebacker types, a CB etc.

"What the Hell`s going on out here"(Vince Lombardi) once said, and it is becoming the train of thought leading up to this Saturday. I am beginning to feel that there will be some trading going on ahead of the Bears pick at 14, the Rams are on the clock, and may be listening to offers, it has been rumored that the Packers may want in the top 5, for say, Matt Ryan?, or Philly trading up for one of the OT`s, also the Chiefs now need a defensive end, so what will they do, Chris Long?, the Jets may be looking to move up for McFadden, so whatever the case may be, the Bears are going to be waiting and hoping that an offensive tackle will make it to 14, but that it probably won`t happen, so then what? I would seem to be leaning toward Mendenhall being there at 14, the question is, do the Bears want him, or would they rather have Stewart from Oregon?, do they prefer Otah over Williams, or is Jerry Angelo going to finally move up and get the "player they targeted". The mere mention of the word trade, in the same sentence with Brian Urlacher, sends shockwaves down my spine, but maybe he would like to be closer to the family in New Mexico, so would you try to strike a deal with the Cards for Anquan Boldin, and maybe their first pick for Urlacher? Lets` just be thankful that the day is almost here, and we can stop all the wondering. So, Mr. Angelo, we hate to put the pressure on you, but that`s why they pay you the big bucks, "and with the 14th pick in the 2008 N.F.L Draft, the Chicago Bears select................Chris Williams Offensive Tackle, Vanderbilt University.

Joe Houston may trade up with the Bears for Mendenhall with Detroit and Arizona both looming, which is high for Gosder and it would not afford them a second rounder, which they need. Pitt wont do it they like Gosder and he will fall right to them unless the Eagles grab him, but the Eagles I think will trade up with someone like the Pats if Clady falls that far. They could give them Sheppared and a first round pick just what the Pats want.

Ok more FB talk I see. For the last time the Bears system does not use a FB. Yes it is a WCO but it is not the Walsh WCO it is the Coryell, which doesnt use a FB. So please no third round picks on a guy who will not even play.

Latest word on the draft is, it is going to be trade city i nthe upper half of the first round. A bunch of teams are after McFadden, Ryan and Dorsey. St. Louis wants out and more picks, Falcons want Ryan, so teams who want Ryan need to deal with St Louis. I think it is going to get crazy this Saturday, which is awsome, Broncos want to move up or down, and so do the Panthers and Pats, Eagles want in into the top 10, Huston wants a top 3 running back, the Bears are gone at 14 if you ask me. I actually think they like Stewart better than Mendenhall, but will not take him if he is there, they want another second rounder or they may trade down and then back into the late first round for two first round picks but no second rounder. Cmon Dallas do the deal.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 22, 2008 8:42 PM.

Hester's agent Parker arrives for talks was the previous entry in this blog.

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