Chicago Sun-Times

Kiper: Bears "certainly need some offensive juice"

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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:

1.14—Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
2.44—Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
3.70—Kevin Smith, RB, Central Florida
3.90—Jerome Simpson, WR, Coastal Carolina
4.110—Stanford Keglar, LB, Purdue

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.

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I like all of Mel's projected picks except LB in the 4th round. Why would they draft another LB when they have Williams and Okwo as reserves? I'd say Guard or Safety would be a better choice at that point.

The only thing I agree with is the statement about John David Booty I am impressed with his calm and demeanor I also like Ainge from Tennessee he's not flashy but has good leadership qualities. I still hear nothing about Tony Temple from Mizzou he had a great bowl game and I like Tashard Choice from Georgia Tech. If the Bears are serious about competition then open it up bring in as much offensive talent as possible and have them fight it out for a job. Div.II was some players too let's get it on. GO BEARS!!!!!

p.s. KIPER MUST BE CRAZY BROHM IS NOT GOING TO FALL TO 44 and Keglar isn't going to be at 110 that's just plain stupid

I love Mel's mock draft and think if the draft unfolded like this it would be a good draft for the Bears. I got an idea the Bears are gonna take a QB in the second, I myself would go running back like Matt Forte of Tulane but if either Brohm,Flacco,or Henne are there at #44 the Bears are gonna take one of them. I know what I'm about to say a lot of people are going to disagree but whatever, I would take Chad Henne if I had a choice of the three QB's that I named. I think Henne is the more polished than Flacco and has a better arm than Brohm. Also I like Henne's accuracy that he displayed at Michigan plus Henne was pretty consistent throughout his career at Michigan. Brohm is rated higher I think because of the bigger numbers he put up at Louisville but Henne's numbers werent bad plus Henne ran a more run based offense at Michigan so this is part of the reason his stats aren't as pretty as Brohms. Henne is Michigans all time leader in passing yards and tds however. In the bowl game when Michigan came out and ran the spread Henne put up almost 400 yds. Other than not being very mobile Henne should be a good QB and in the Bears run based offense this shouldn't be a problem. I just think Henne would be the best fit for the Bears GO BEARS!!

I would love it if DA BEARS got all those players in the draft. That would be the best possible scenario for the bears to get better right away. The only thing is that the players that Mel has the bears picking might be drafted ahead of the bear's picks...keep your fingers crossed bears fans...


If Brian Brohm, the 2nd best quarterback in the draft (and the case could be made he is the best), is still on the board at 44, I will kiss your arse in middle of Lake Shore and give Biggsy an hour to draw a crowd!

I do think the Bears will go after Williams but only if Mendenhall is not on the board, but Brohm will be long gone by 44. We have a better shot at Henne or Flacco if we're going to use our 2nd rounder for a QB.

Most people think of Kiper the same way they think of Dick Vitale, or John Madden. People either love them or hate them, but her does know what he is talking about. He may miss on a lot of projections, but no more than any other service that tries to fabricate a guess as to what 32 teams are going to do, amidst the flood of misinformation, misdirection, and subtlety.

I like all of the picks he projected, but admittedly know very little about Keglar. And you also have to agree with his assessment of the boom/bust fallacy. And with regard to Angelo and Gabriel, he echoes what a lot of media people seem to say, including Gil Brandt, who probably did more for NFL personnel evaluation than any other single person over the last 40 years. They all seem to think they are solid evaluators of talent, and don't gamble too much as far as player draft choices. The only thing I disagree with him on is Booty. I think he is a Danny Wuerffel type NFL prospect, where all of his knowledge, game savvy, and experience means nothing because he doesn't have the arm to deliver the ball into tight spots. But Mel is making his living evaluating college prospects, not NFL players. He projects their skills to the next level, but that has a lot to do with the team they go to, and the system they play in.

If our draft plays out like this, I would be pretty happy overall, but I doubt that it will play out like this.

funny how Kiper can see a silver lining in our squad but no one else can. these 6-10 predictions astonish me. going into last season everyone here was confident in a Super Bowl run based on our defense. newsflash: we have virtually the same D this year. assuming we stay reasonably healthy we'll be a top 10 D, right now the schedule looks to be in our favor, AND our own division is up for grabs.

that said: what do you think about Kiper's projections? i think its a no-brianer to draft OL at 14...and if Mendenhall is there you either draft the stud RB, or you trade down and get even more picks. the team could have potentially 6 picks in the first four rounds.

WOW! Mel Kiper thinks the Bears need help on insightful!!!

brohm sucks!

let's please not take him...

I wish the draft fell this way especially williams 1st.second and third round are right needs but probably reversed as i expect brohm might be gone. (who knows) Would mel like to take Angelos job? or maybe jimmy johnson? If the defense stays healthy we have a bunch of rescent high picks returning from injury and could resume a top ranking. With Harris, Urlacker, and Hester all crying for the money available under the cap how will we fill all these needs? keep some money for training camp cuts and hope some experianced players get cut. You can be the richest player on a bad team or the richest pitchman on a superbowl team! only team players need apply.

The defense didn't do as good of a job in 2007 due to injuries, which greatly effected their takeaways. When Vasher came back for his brief stint off of the injury list we saw flashes of the great Chicago defense we have all come to love. The offense already had issues with inconsistency at QB and running back, but now the wide receiver core took a huge hit with the departure of Moose and Bernard. If I were the Bears I would think offense throughout for the most part. I really don't understand why we would need another linebacker at this point. In the later rounds the Bears could focus some of their efforts on defense, especially with the 3 compensatory picks they received. Win or lose, the Bears are my teams, but I have to be honest, it's time for a championship to come back to Chicago and the Bears are the ones that need to cement their legacy. About the only thing that would be better is if the Cubs would break free of their 100 years rut, but that seems more like a dream than reality. All I can hope for is that the Bears use their intelligence in this draft and make it the team better. GO BEARS! Let's make 2008-9 the season the Monsters of the Midway return and the offense makes a true name for itself!

cubs inhale deeply! go sox

Mel has always had an I for talent, that said his Mock draft's like most are hit or miss. This is not his final Mock, if fact the final mocks for most top analysts tend to change a lot the day before the draft. By that time most of the teams value boards have leaked. Mel never insults GM's he has to call.

Mel seems to think the team is solid and headed back to the playoffs and that Angelo has a good eye for talent. If there so good how come he lists so many needs for the bears and says they need a an offensive surge and this draft is pivitol. How can we be good and yet be looking at a pivitol draft. He says the Bears have had more hits than they have misses. He also says they are in the market for a left tackle again. Can he tell me all the draft hits on offense that I seem to be missing. I got Olsen, thats it, oh BB. Ok two hits in 6 years. Great, thanks Mel. Also Booty I like in round three but if we draft Brohm like his mock suggest why would we be looking at Booty. What is this Tampa?

As for his picks, the only way the Bears draft Williams is if Long, Clady, Albert, and Otah are gone. Yes the guy is real tough he got into a fight with Bryant at the senior bowl the only Linemen that is actually weaker than he is. Maybe next he can find a saftie to slap around.

Brohm, falling to 44. Look this years QB class is not that great, but next years is brutal and lots of teams need help. No chance he falls to 44.

Kevin Smith: Slow like Benson 4.54 combine, and not in great shape, benched 225 15 times. No real compitition for Benson just another Bust for the Bears at RB.

Simpson will not be there.

One thing to remember what our favorite cheese heads up Norte did the last few years.

They were awful in 2005, Favre was nearly run out of the Cheese Castle. They did however, make some tough decisions, let some Veteran stars go and they drafted and started (2) rookie O-lineman in 2006. They improved to 8 - 8 and were a win away from the SB in 2007.

We can fix the O-line through the draft. I would much rather draft an OT and start him, heck start Beekman at LG or let the backups like Anthony Oakley, Tyler Reed and Mike Jones compete and best player starts. Just cut Metcalf, he sucks something awful !!!

Our O-line will feature a rookie RT, Garza, Kreutz, young LG and John Tait... No way St.Clair is an opening day starter unless we have a training camp injury.

Look, our O-line can't play any worse then they did in 2007 with the revolving door Miller at Tackle and one armed Rueben Brown toughing it out until he couldn't take the pain anylonger....

We can still be a dominate team IF, (big if here) our Defense remains healthy at DT and in the secondary !! Hester will be his usual amazing self on ST's and has the potential to further impact our Offense as a WR. We definetly need a new RB, Benson will be slowed down even more (if that's even possible ??) after those screws were inserted into his ankle !! Wolfe needs a shot to compete or at least get more involved Offensively this year.

Our QB situation can work out well if we can have better play from the O-line, otherwise it will be a long year ahead of us.

The Bears improved at WR. Booker over Muhammad and Hester over Berrian ANY DAY! How can anybody say we got worse?

The problem is the O-Line. Draft LT at 1, G at 3A, T/G at 3B, RB at 2, Safety at 4, WR at 5, QB at 6.

O-LINE: Rookie LT, Beekman LG, Kruetz C, Rookie RG, Tait RT. Let Grossman and Orton, both young, battle it out. Why waste a high pick on a QB when you have two young ones already. None of this year's QB's draftees are really anything to rave about. Cut Metcalf, Oakley, Garza - they are terrible. Keep St. Clair, rookie OL 3B, and Tyler Reed as Oline reserves.

The reset of the team is fine. We have more depth on defense than people think. Plus Okwo and Bazuin are new rookie free picks in a way. Payne and McGowan provide Safety depth if Brown gets hurt. I am thinking he won't. He had 4 healthy years and 4 injured. Time for healthy. He is still young enought for 3-4 more years in the league. We are fine at safety. The #4 pick is just for development since safteies are bad this year anyway. We might get lucky.

Brian P. Sure the Oline can play worse than it did last year, if St. Clair and Metcalf who could not outperform an injured Brown and Miller start. Does Lovie tend to start his vets over rookies even if they are bad, yes or no? Does Lovie stick with players who perform badly for to long like Rex and Benson on a regular basis? I believe he does tend to do this but maybe he will change and maybe he will learn to adjust his game plan at halftime.

In 2006 the Bears proved that a pretty poor offense, combined with a great defense, can win games. The defense is not far away from being in top ten shape again. Urlacher and Harris were both not playing 100 percent last year, so with them healthy, they should dominate. Not to mention, once Vasher got back, the Bears started destroying on defense again. If Brown is back, that'll only further help them, but they did it without him in 2006 so if he's out they'll still be okay. Matt Toeainia played very well in the games that he started, so I think they'll be one of the best in terms of defensive line.

The bears really just need a better offensive line. Tom Brady looked poor in the super bowl because he was under pressure. Granted, neither of the current Bears QB's are exceptional, but with some adequate time they can play. And every complains about their WR corps, but really, is drafting a WR any different than letting Rideau or Hass play?

JA: your to-do list:

1. call Al Davis, see if there is any way we can get McFadden.
2. DO NOT draft a QB in rd 1 or 2.
3. Tell Devin you love him.
4. Get a real defensive line coach.
5. draft the best special teams blockers the world has ever known.
6. Stock up on OL and DL and tough safeties (like plank and #45)

My Bears Draft Board 1st Round
RB McFadden
T Long
QB Ryan
RB Mendenhall (A)
DT Ellis
DT Dorsey
T Williams (B)
T Clady
T Otah
G Albert
RB Jones
RB Stewart

2nd Round
WR Kelly
QB Flacco
T Baker
T Cherilus (A)
T Nicks
WR Hardy
S Phillips
QB Brohm
RB Johnson (B)
WR Doucet
QB Henne
WR Manningham

3rd Round (2 picks)
G Rachal (A)
T Collins
RB Charles
WR Caldwell (B)
RB Rice
WR Bennett
RB Forte
QB Woodson (A)(B)
DT Laws
RB Smith
DT Sims
DT Bryant
DT Moore

Plan A 1st round Mendenhall, 2nd round Best OL or WR available, 3rd round best athletes available WR or OL or QB even a DT (remember we have a lot of problems with fast RB´s),4th round we can take G or S, 5th round maybe Sn Diego St QB

Plan B Take OT Williams, 2nd round A playmaker WR or RB, 3rd round take the best athletes available

The bears are not far from being 11-5. They need a healthy D, improved safety play that doesn't give up long scores especially in the 4th, and an O line that does enough to just give us 30 minutes per game t.o.p. We get killed by having to have our D on the field 40 minutes a game and that has to stop. O line is more a key to that than anything acheivable this year at RB or QB.

But face it, we can at best start 2 rookies on the line and more likely 1. It's probably Tait, new OT, Garza, and Metcalf/Beekman. Any round 2 - 3 grab at guard will not likely start or be much of a factor this year.

My feeling on RB is if you don't get or take Rashard, forget the other backs in the draft and take a middle of the fairway safe path and sign Kevin Jones. He buys us two years while we sort out QB and RB longer term.

Minimal turnovers by rex, improved t.o.p., season long health on D (9 out of 11 starters in every game), and upgraded play by McGowan and Payne and we're right there guys. Certainly as capable as anyone else in the North. GB will stink this year as will Detroit. And Adrian will only play 8 games this year as MN will run him too much.

But other than Rashard skip RB's in the draft that are available in round 2 - 3.

Time for some contrary views for all the conventional wisdom loving folks out there.

1) Yes, the Bears need to get some competition for Benson, but what makes people think Mendenhall is the next Walter Payton? He had one good year running in the spread in a conference that overall wasn't that good. But people are positive that he's an absolute can't miss. Heck, Benson looked way more impressive coming out of college and look how that turned out. Mendenhall may turn out to be great, but he is by no means a sure thing. People need to take an objective look and stop drinking the Kool aid.

2) Drafting a quarterback on day 1 to develop is pure stupidity. Day 1 draft picks should be for players that will either contribute right away or threaten to contribute right away. Using a 2nd round pick on a guy you plan to sit for a few years is retarded. Guess what? Holding a clip board and running the scout team doesn't develop anything but hemmoroids. You know what develops a qb? Playing time. Since the Bears aren't going to give a rookie qb any playing time this year, they shouldn't waste a first day pick on him. If developing a qb for years worked then Orton should be ready to be an all pro. The same people who want to draft a quarterback in round two will be the same ones complaining three years from now that that same quarterback is nothing but a journeyman, even though he never got a chance to play. If there's a good qb available on day 2 take him, otherwise use day 1 for picks that will contribute now.

3) Here's what the Bears need in the draft:
1 - Offensive linemen
2- Defensive takcles (people seem to forget the D sucked last year with a one-legged Harris and a bunnch of nobodies playing next to him.
3- Running back
4 - Safety
Then they need their current players like Bradley, Beekman, Dvorecek, etc. to step up.

The truth has spoken.

If Kiper's mock draft turns out to be accurate on April 28th, then I will be a very unhappy son-of-a-GM. I respect Mel Kiper and the way that he evaluates players and teams, but...

1) Chris Williams is often described by scouts as "soft", "finesse" and "short-armed", which automatically disqualifies him for the LT job on this team. They would rather trade down or reach on Cherilus than select Williams. Of course, if Albert is available he will be the pick.

2) The Bears will select a minimum of 2 Offensive Linemen on the first day. PFW scouting reports describe Zuttah (Rutgers) as a C-OLT-ORG. He will be targeted because of his versatility.

3) I like the Booty suggestion in round 3 much better than the Brohm selection in round 2. Who is going to block for these QB's?

4) Smith is a strong possibility in round 3, but I see a host of small-school developmental WR prospects with size and speed that may be available on the second day. Again, with the 2-TE sets, they will target receivers with size and RAC ability for crossing routes and slants over downfield speed.

5) Linebacker??? How many backup linebackers do we need? With Okwo and Williams already selected with 3rd and 4th round picks, respectively, LB is one position that we do not need to address in the 2008 draft.

6) No mention of DTs??? Apparently, having 2 undersized, injury-prone DTs is sufficient for a team that will face Adrian Peterson twice a year?!? The DT rotation is a major area of weakness and needs to be addressed on day 1.

To all you Mendanhall lovers - I too agree he has tremendous potential and it would be hard to turn him down if he's there at 14.

BUT, by the same token it is very high risk. Identifying early round highly rated college RB's who will be great in the NFL is a 50/50 roll of dice. Almost as tough as QB's. My hesitancy on Rashard is we simply must end up with a solid multi year starter with our 14 pick.

It would set us back years if our 14 is a bust or injured in his first year and a half. We must get a guarenteed starter and for that reason I still lean towards Albert or Gosder with our first rounder just as the safest play.

Of the OL prospects who may be there when the bears pick at 14(Im assuming Jake Long and Ryan Clady will definitely be gone) I would prefer Albert or Otah over Williams. As Otah and Albert are both bigger and stronger than Williams, I see them as safer picks. If Albert doesn't work out at tackle like some think he will, he is a surefire great guard. Otah's size and athleticism (yes i know he ran a slow 40 time, but he does have pretty good feet) projects well for a LT but he could play RT for a year or play guard as well due to his physical size. I have seen several reports question Williams desire to play and that is an instant steer clear for me.

In terms of QB, I would stay away from Henne due to the fact that he has numerous offensive teammates being drafted from Michigan. He played with other very good players and was very mediocre until the bowl game. Id rather see them use their 2nd 3rd round pick on a guy like Josh Johnson or their 5th on Kevin O'connel.

In the 2nd they need to take whatever prospect they have graded the best between RB, OL, and WR.

As for defense, they should take a DT and S at some point for depth. They are set at corner, LB, and DE. The only way any of their 1st 4 picks should go to D is if the value is just too much to pass up.

Angelo Jr. as usual you have very little idea of what you are talking about you donot need to address a DT in the first round. The offense should be the first day priority there will be no tackles better then the ones already in house availible. No QB will be taken in the first 4 (1,2,3a and 3b) all this tears QB's are projects and Woodson IS NOT A NFL Qb NOW OR EVER. I wiil be glad when it is over the closer it gets the sillier the predictions. Williams is not the man Cherilus and Zuttah can play right now and make the running game legit. Let's get out of LA LA and hpoe Jerry does the right thing.

Truth you made some good points till you got to your draft list which I completely disagree with. The defensive tackles will be fine and you would be a panic drafter, [1] Harris should be on two legs this season. [2] A.Adams and Dvorcek should also be healthy. [3] Toenina, Idonji were good fits for the rotation, [4] Anderson will not be starting this year unless he learns to stay in his lanes A. Brown was fine when back starting DE so stop the panic. Safeties Payne is going to be healthy, McGowan got better as the season progressed Brown will be back for a couple of games and with McBride doing well at corner and Vasher healthy Tillman would be a natural playmaker at safety and the idea has been tossed around. Running backs if Mendenhall is not the one out there then in the 3rd round Ray Rice and Tashard Choice are solid options, and are proven at their level as blockers and recievers, tall upright backs are not impressive to me only bigger targets Forte is too upright will take a licking, also Detroit released Kevin Jones bring him in to compete. 3b the best WR on the board and at 4 another OL to close the first day. At the beginning of the first day a QB [ Booty,Ainge,J.Johnson,O'Connell and Dixon]. Then Jerry can go on his 2nd day fishing expedition. Truth think about it tell me what you think.

With the way the Bears are crying about all of their lack of respect(money), we should draft a LB in the 1st round, a DL in the 2nd, a couple of OLs in the later picks. Give Kyle Orton the ball come training camp, and let Rex sit, and see how playing QB should be done...Let Rex grow with experience he needs and not the Lovie Howell-Smith/Ron Turner type... Staubach had to watch Meredith and Morton before he got a chance. Montana had to wait for DeBerg, I believe....

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 16, 2008 2:30 PM.

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