Chicago Sun-Times

Pair of talented USC linemen on display today

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No word yet, but I would have to imagine the Bears will be represented today at USC’s pro day. We should get word on the action from Los Angeles later on.

Thirty-two Trojans have been drafted in the last six seasons and the Bears are believed to have interest in two USC offensive linemen—guard Chilo Rachal and tackle Sam Baker. Both could be potential picks for the second round and the 44th overall selection.

The Bears met with Baker, the son of Arena League commissioner David Baker, at the combine. I saw him walking down the hallway in the Indiana Convention Center flanked by offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and his assistant Luke Butkus. Baker didn’t have a great week at the Senior Bowl and the stock of the 6-5, 309-pounder has dipped in the last two months, but Baker has a ton of experience coming from a top-notch program. A four-year starter for the Trojans, he is a skilled pass blocker.

Rachal is a mauler who could be the second guard taken after Virginia’s Branden Albert. He’s a good athlete who is coming out a year early. The Bears have a track record of targeting underclassmen too.

If Baker and Rachal figure into the Bears’ plans, it would likely be as a second selection. General manager Jerry Angelo is looking at the package of players he can get with his top picks, specifically on the first day.

ESPN’s Todd McShay had an interesting twosome for the Bears with his most recent mock draft on Tuesday. McShay had the Bears selecting Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams in the first round with the 14th pick. In the second round, with the 44th overall pick, he has the Bears grabbing Rutgers running back Ray Rice, one pick after Carolina nabs Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm.

For what it’s worth, McShay has Baker going 35th to the Kansas City Chiefs and Rachal 48th to the Atlanta Falcons, who own five picks in the top 68.

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I would love for the Bears to get Ray Rice, but I'm thinking they could possibly wait until the 3rd round to snag him.

I don`t normally put much into McShay`s prediction`s, so with that being said, I would really like to see Mendenhall fall to us, but it`s looking more and more like Carolina will take him, or Mike Shanahan for Denver. I think if you look at Mendenhall hard enough, you will see a little Terrell Davis, and we all know what he was doing to the teams in this league, until he got hurt. It seems like all the mocks that have us getting a lineman, have us putting him on the right side, and I thought the whole idea was to get Tait back over to the right side, and put a rookie at left tackle!? I like the idea of getting Rachal from USC, the Bears need to be way more physical up front than they were last season.

In the words of Jim Cramer "THEY NO NOTHING", what is McShay thinking, Williams is a finesse blocker on a team that wants a power running game and only plays zone line on occasion and Rice could be had with the second pick in the third round. Not to mention he is under sized on a team that wants a power running game.

Baker does not fit the Bears system very well but fits better than Williams, Rachel fits like a glove.

OT's Long, Otah, Cherilus, Collins, Nicks, Benedict(before he passed away)

RB'S Mendenhall, Stewart, Forte, Smith. Stewart and Mendenhall are a big step above the other two, Stewart probably fits best, his turf toe will be healed and someone will get a steal with either of these guys.

The RB's that best fit the system are, Mendenhall, Stewart, Forte, and K Smith. Well known players in this system are LT, Emmitt Smith, Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes.

If the Bears are really lucky they could go Otah or with a trade down Albert in round 1, Forte in round 2 Stewart if they trade up, and Collins or Nicks in the 3rd. But to really run there system they are also gonna need a major upgrade at WR and QB. There is no real threat at either position. There still really vulnerable to stacking the box and blitzing. Rex lacks the ability read a defense and his progressions, and we have no real elite WR which is a signature of the Coryell offense. See Irvin, Holt, Bruce, Moss, Porter,

It's a power game, with a deep ball, huge olinemen, and big strong accurate QB. Aikmen and Warner, Bradshaw, are some of the big names, Rivers also fits the mold. it also mixes in short and mid slants. Power.

To quote Al Davis "We don't take what they give us, We take what we want"

I think McShay is looking at what the Bears should be looking at. But I think we need to take a shot with our 70th and 90th picks and try and move back into the second round (52 to Tampa is the match for value) so we can address RB and possibly G or QB in addition to the OL we get in round 1. It would be nice to get three of the top 55 players with the holes we have. Depending on how the first round shakes out, we might be out of the top tackle prospects, and have to take Mendenhall at 14 (poor us, right?), not only to fill a need, but to keep him from the Lions. I see 8 of the first 13 teams that could use an OT early (Miami, St. Louis, Oakland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Carolina), and there are only 5 prospects that may end up in that group (in no particular order):
Jake Long
Ryan Clady
Chris Williams
Jeff Otah
Brendan Albert--is looking like a tackle prospect as opposed to a guard

If they are all gone by the time we are on the clock, we have a choice: we either take Mendenhall and take our chances that a solid OT will slip to 44 (Baker, Collins, Cherilus, Nicks, Mills), or we entertain offers for teams trying to get Mendenhall or looking to get back into the first round. Atlanta is rumored to be interested in skipping Matt Ryan in favor of Glenn Dorsey, and pulling a move back into the first round for Flacco a la Cleveland las year, using their two second rounders as bait. If Atlanta passes on Ryan, that is a good thing for us, as KC and Baltimore are both in the market for a tackle, and one of them will take Ryan instead, which increases our chances that a tackle will be there at 14.

Figuring Jake Long goes #1 overall, my wish list for the remaining guys would be:

1. Chris Williams--seems the most polished of the group, and can plug in right away on the left side
2. Jeff Otah--perhaps the best upside, but still raw, and will have to start on the right side early in his career
3. Ryan Clady-not too sure about his football mind after the poor Wonderlic and Boise's reputation for turning out less than brilliant young men.
4. Brendan Albert-a great guard prospect, but will need time to develop if we want him as a tackle. Another right side guy early in his career

I am of the opinion that we have to take one of the 3 OTs if they are there. If they aren't there, then we have to hose the Lions by trading out with a team that wants Mendenhall. I would be fine with drafting Mendenhall at 14, but I would rather get another early pick or two from someone else and stick it to the Lions on top of it. At somewhere between 18 and 22 (Dallas would need to give us the 22, 61, and 163 for the 14th pick, which gives us 22,44,61,70, and 90 in the first three rounds), we can still get a solid starter, and add in a few more picks to either select key players for our future, or trade back up into better position to get targeted players.

Nice job Joe, I would say that your post hits it right on the head, and when Angelo reads it, he`s gonna have a s--t eatin grin on his face, cause that`s what he`s hopin for, more picks in the middle rounds. I still think some teams have been awful quiet this off-season, and I`m just waiting for draft day to see if someone doesn`t offer something up to the Dolphins, for that 1st pick.

Todd McShay is not the only draft analyst I've read having the Bears takeing Chris Williams. Friday on NFL network Bears Report editor John Crist also thinks the Bears will take Williams. I hope they are right, I would like to see the Bears end up with Chris Williams also. The Bears could plug him in at left tackle and Tait to the right side and the tackle situation will be good to go. As of right now the tackle spot is the weakest spot on an already weak offense. This is why it is very important that the Bears land one of the top four tackles be it Williams or Otah. I would prefer Williams over Otah because the Bears are in a great position to get a left tackle. Next season if everything goes right they might not have another chance to get a left tackle with a first round grade like Williams. Remember the scouts have Williams rated this high for a reason, it would be a lot easier to go into a draft looking for a right tackle next season. The fact is Williams is big 6-6 320lbs and talented and has an impressive wing span, this means long arms for pass protection. I think this fact has been lost while everyone has been nit picking Williams because the fact is on the left side Williams job one will be to protect the blind side of whoever is at QB. This ability alone will improve the Bears offense and the extra time Williams will provide for Grossman or Orton will go a long way in keeping drives alive, that extra second that Williams will provide could mean all the difference in a comp pass and a int. In the second I say take Matt Forte but I would be happy with Rice, but I don't know about his size at 5-9 195lbs it might not be a good idea to go into the season with two backs in Wolfe 5-7 and Rice 5-9 and both under 200lbs. If the Bears had another big back that could take a pounding I'd say take Rice, remember I'm not saying Rice won't be able to handle the Job but the Bears might be safer with a bigger back like Forte who like Rice is a 2ooo yd back in college. Another concern with Rice is will his 5-9 frame be able to hold up against bigger more dominant d-linemen in the NFL as a blocker as opposed to the ones he faced at Rutgers, in the end I think the Forte pick would be safer. I got a strong feeling this is just a gut suspicion that if Chad Henne or Joe Flacco are available that is the direction the Bears are going to go in I'd be happy with these picks also GO BEARS!!

Will you guys stop with all the man love for Mendenhall. He may be a good RB in the league, but why spend big money on another RB? Especially since our O-line is in a state flux. Angelo would've signed an OT in free-agency if he was targeting a RB in the first round. I wouldn't mind if Angelo traded down with some team (if at all possible), and picked up another 2nd/3rd rounder. That would allow the Bears to fill all their needs on offense in the first 4 rounds of the draft.

As I have said many times before, if you want to see an improved power running game, then you have to support the idea of adding INTERIOR linemen who are capable of preventing penetration and providing cutback opportunities on the off-tackle handoff. Because of his versatility and potential to play OG and/or OT, Albert will give the Bears the opportunity to select the best OT or OG in the second round instead of reaching for an OL or RB prospect.

Jerry Angelo, Sr. will draft offensive linemen early and often in this draft because he has no choice.

I agree with Joe's point that there is too much talk off adding a blue-chip running back on a team that is without 2 starting OL and age/ineffectiveness at the other 3 spots. RBs are much more exciting than OGs, but our need for prospects on the interior far outweigh any "needs" in the backfield.

IF the bears do draft a running back, it will be on the second day...maybe in the 5th round. Sorry. The Bears need IMPACT PLAYERS in rounds 1-3 and it will take a running back and/or receiver at least 1 year to develop/compete, hence the use of a second day pick. I would advise fans to get off the first day RB bandwagon, because it isn’t going anywhere in the 2008 draft.

A pass-rushing DT can be an impact player on this team, and deserves a first day pick as well (3rd round?).

The Bears will also look to add another developmental QB to the roster, possibly in the 3rd round, to take over #2 duties in 2009.

I see lots of receivers selected in the 4th and 7th rounds.

The Bears Run the Ball first, that is there motto, they ran the ball behind guards and center 42% of the time, they ran it behind the LT 9% of the time. The Bears ranked 18th in pass protection last year and 30th in run blocking. Miami ranked better than the Bears at Oline, so I guess that means they are a better team than the Bears. Teams like Philly and Pitt ranked below them in Pass pretection, at least 8 teams gave up more sacks then the bears including Pit.

Williams is projected to go in the middle of the first round, I do not consider that to be very high for a top of the line starting LT. In fact he has 2 RT's rated as better than him, and Otah a guy with little experience is now being rated higher than him. He does not fit the bears system, the bears wil not be able to run to the left with him playing, thus making the Bears even more predictable. Ogden, Samuels, Pace where all top 4 picks. However if we are going on just what the scouts say, Robert Gallery was rated way higher than Williams, so that tells us nothing. I hope the bears do draft Williams it will continue Angelos string of bad OT draft picks that started 20 years ago. He does not fit the system. Denver yes, here no. But my guess is we will never find out, as the Bears are going to trade out of the first round. If Angelo feels the draft is deep enough at certain positions, which we know he does, he will look to pick up a second and a third maybe from the Raiders, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas (In which case the bears would look for a late first and a late third). I think there is very little chance the Bears stay at 14. If Mendenhall and Williams are there they will ignore Williams and use Mendenhall as bait. It's what Angelo does. Don't be fooled and think need outways practicality with this man.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2008 6:30 AM.

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