Jumped on a conference call with the Godfather of draft projections, Mel Kiper Jr., this morning to pick his brain.
Kiper will once again be joining ESPN’s coverage of the April 26-27 draft, and his annual Draft Report is as thorough as you can find. I just got mine in the mail the other day and he has an interesting projection for the Bears. Kiper’s most up-to-date forecast will be released the day before the draft.
Anyway, here’s how he stacked up the Bears’ selection in a four-round mock:
Kiper believes the Bears are on their way back to contention this season and sees the club filling its holes through the draft. We asked him two questions:
Q: The Bears find themselves in a bit of a jam needing multiple players on offense to come through as rookies this season. Is there anything you can point to for their inability to hit with offensive players in recent years?
MEL: Sometimes you’re just snakebit. Mark Bradley had the injury early on, Cedric Benson has had some injuries. Things happen in football. It’s not [like] other sports. In other sports, you draft a guy and the reason he’s not going to make it is normally because he just wasn’t good enough. In football, it’s a lot of extenuating circumstances. The players have to develop and your positions have to be stronger to allow another kid to be successful. He has to stay healthy. There are a lot of things and factors that go into it in football. We act like he’s a clear-cut bust, or he’s a clear-cut this or that. Yet there are a lot of other things that went into making that player what he was, good or bad.
So I think in the Bears’ case, you’ve got to keep swinging the bat. You’ve got to try to get these offensive players into this program that can contribute, and I think you look at it this year, we know again left tackle, wide receiver, another running back, quarterback at some point. It’s the same. But what are you going to do? You have to move on. This team was in the Super Bowl two years ago. If you say they made some mistakes and players didn’t develop, they had a lot of hits and more hits than misses. They’ve done a good job. Jerry Angelo and Greg Gabriel have a great ability to evaluate talent and the fact of the matter is this team will probably bounce back this year. They had a very disappointing year obviously this past season, a lot of things went awry. But not long ago they were playing for the Super Bowl, they were playing to be the champions of this league, so there is no reason why this year they can’t bounce back and have a very good season and this draft is pivotal because I think they certainly need some offensive juice. They are one of many teams in this league, this is an offensive league now, a pass-happy league, and they need some offensive juice and they hope to get it this year.
Q: In terms of quarterbacks, who stands out to you for Day 2 of the draft:
MEL: I think John David Booty immediately jumps out to me. If he’s there in Round 3, and you’re the Chicago Bears, and you look at the situation there and you say, `OK, you’ve got a pick at 70 there from San Francisco,’ to me in the third round. I could see him going in the second, but I think he still could be there in the third. I would say John David Booty would be a real good pick at that point.