Chicago Sun-Times

Rachal, Baker steady at USC pro day

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USC running back Chauncey Washington probably helped himself the most Wednesday at the Trojans pro day, wowing scouts with a 4.35 40-yard dash. It was a performance that probably ensures he will be selected.

But Bears West Coast scout Marty Barrett, in attendance, might have been keeping a closer watch on the offensive linemen on display.

Guard Chilo Rachal had a vertical jump of 28 inches and the did three cone and short shuttle drills, choosing to let the remainder of his work from the combine stand. He looked good, a source said, particularly in positional drills.

Tackle Sam Baker was slower in the 40-yard dash than he timed at the combine, but stood out in positional drills.

Both are believed to be on the Bears’ radar.

For what it's worth, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis did 36 reps on the bench at 225 pounds. He reportedly has a visit soon with the Cincinnati Bengals, who draft ninth.

The Los Angeles Times had a take on the afternoon.

So did the Orange County Register.

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These two are not my favorite prospects because they lack versatility, but take them if they are the best linemen available in the second/third round...draft 2 more offensive linemen for good measure.

I say grab MENDENHALL 1st, and then both of these guys if we can in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. They are solid and both can step in and play right away. Do the Bears have any USC players? Well we need some because they win in college! Grab a quarterback with that other 3rd round pick and let Jerry work that 4-7 round majic.

That's funny. I've read elsewhere that Baker looked unimpressive in position drills and Rachal looked unathletic and out of shape. Makes you wonder what is the truth.

We have to get OL first, The game is won/lost in the trenches.
RM can not run through the opposing teams DL. I watched the Vikes Peterson running through truck holes last year and Benson had no holes opened at all. Even Olin said the OL sucked last year. We can not throw out a 4th pick in the draft without trying to get him some serious OL help. Serious as in good - 1st round good not 3rd round maybe/might be good eventually. I personally do not like what I see in Benson but OL is a top priority. Then get RB


here is the problem with your logic. It just so happens that for some strange reason this year's draft is LOADED with good Offensive lineman. The temptation to grab one in the 2nd round is too huge! So what is gonna happen is that the bears will have their choice of Ellis, Merling, McKelvin, Talib, Harvey or Rivers. There is also a chance that Mendenhall and Desean Jackson will be there. What do you do now?

Here are some recent comments made by Lovie on the state of the Bears.

Asked if the Bears need a starter at halfback, Smith said in reference to Benson and Adrian Peterson, "We didn't get No. 1 running back-type production most of the year. Do I think the players we have there can do it? Yes, I think they can."

(He said the same thing last year. He says the same thing every year.)

He said Benson continues to rehab from a broken leg and should be ready to participate in the off-season program at some point.

(What point would that be??? Who knows, does it really matter.)

While being clear he was not laying all the blame on Benson, Smith said he does not want to see the same Benson he saw in 2007.

Why not he was the same guy you drafted, maybe he will be come LT or Marshall Faulk if you wish upon a star.

Smith called Benson a "hard worker," but indicated he would like to see the former Texas star lose weight in an effort to gain quickness.

( So this is Benson working hard? Loose weight? Why would you do that, you told him to gain weight last year, now you want him to drop wait. Gosh could this be because he is slow and can't turn the corner. Make up your mind Lovie, big Benson or semi big Benson, hard worker, needs to live up to expectations?)

He said he believes Benson is very motivated in part because of the way last season went for him but he also said it's time for him to live up to expectations.

(Benson is finally motivated my goodness it only took 4 years. Yes I expect him to suck so he will be living up to my expectations.)

There comes a time when you need to produce," Smith said. "That's where he is. It's as simple as that."

(So this year it is time for him to produce Lovie??? But what about the three other years he has been here??? I guess they don't count.)

What seems certain is the Bears will bring in competition for Benson—probably from the draft. But …

"It's probably better getting linemen earlier [in the draft]," Smith said. "More running backs have turned out later in the draft than have offensive linemen or even defensive linemen."

(Yes look at all the great Running backs the Bears have drafted in the later rounds, for that matter look at all the great Olinemen they have drafted on day one.)

(How many guys on the Oline have you and Angelo drafted Lovie are actually playing??)

Smith did not want to declare any player a starter this early in the off-season.

(Except Mike Brown and these guys, oh and Benson, and Lloyd already gave us Rex. Glad he is not declearing anything.)

But when the Bears line up for their off-season team workouts, Smith indicated John St. Clair would take the first rep at right tackle and Terrence Metcalf would take the first rep at right guard. He also said Josh Beekman would be in the mix for playing time.

(I to have all the faith in the world in these two, why should we even look oline, or RB, the team is solid as is.)

Smith also addressed the absence of proven playmakers on offense, expressing confidence in wide receivers Devin Hester and Mark Bradley, as well as tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen.

"Whenever you lose a playmaker, it's a little unsettling," he said, apparently referring to the departed Bernard Berrian. "But I still like what we have on our roster. … The cupboard isn't totally bare, but we need to look to elevate our game even a little more."

(He says the cupboard isn't totally bare implying that it is near being empty but then says he likes what they have??? Which is it Lovie.)

I don't know why the Bears are even drafting according to Lovie they see good to go.

Some sites have Baker listed as a marginal 1st round prospect, and Sporting News has Baker just barely clinging to a 3rd round grade. It all depends on what they are asked to do in drills, and what they have done in their careers. Then you add in what a particular team is looking for in a lineman, and the waters are muddied even further. I don't recall too many times in the last 2 years when John David Booty was hit on the blind side, so that tells me that Baker is a solid pass protector. And let's be often is the left tackle going to be pulling and getting into open space? guards are much more likely to be the ones in space, so the speed and agility of tackles is only important in one direction-backwards. They need to be fast out of their stance, and able to slide in pass protection. Getting to the second level is a luxury, and run blocking is more about toughness and technique than it is about athleticism. Baker has done it all on the field, and measurables may not tell the whole story on him. Film study, football IQ, and knowledge of the game will make him a solid LT in the NFL for many years. While there are players with more upside, he might be the safest LT prospect in the draft.

I would be happy with either player in the second round or later, but might be more inclined to lean towards Jeremy Zuttah in the 4th or 5th round, who can play either guard or tackle, as long as we take a tackle in the first round. If we go with a skill position in round 1, then we need to go OL in 2,3, and 4. I don't want to see us drafting maulers though. I want to see us drafting versatile linemen, so we can run AND pass better than in 2007. We have been putting maulers on the field for several years (Miller, Metcalf, Brown) and they get old, slow down, and get beat up a lot faster than the athletic guys like Garza, Kreutz, and Tait.

More interesting comments from Lovie.

With uncertainty at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and on the line, it's no wonder the Bears are planning to load up on offense in the draft. Nonetheless, Smith remains a believer.

''We have lost some good players, but our core is still in place,'' he said. ''Olin Kreutz is the anchor of our team; he's still in his same [center] position. We have three offensive linemen coming back. Even though we have a QB battle, we have guys that have played there for us.(One question while I do like Olin I believe he is in his 11th season and why is the anchor of the Bears offense a center?)

''And defensively we have everyone coming back. We are losing some guys, but our core is in place.'' (If everyone is coming back then how are you loosing anyone)

The Bears had the league's best special teams units the last two seasons, so their problem is not depth. It's front-line talent, particularly at the skill positions, where general manager Jerry Angelo was stumped during his postseason news conference when asked to name the building blocks. (So Angelo can't name a single skill position guy who he thinks the Bears can build around? Yet everyone is hoping Oline, who apperantly has an Anchor and core group. But the skill positions don't, so what is the greater need now?)

''I can't really sit here and say who do I feel 100 percent about,'' Angelo said. ''You know. Anybody.''(thats good Jerry, thanks for clearing that up.)

Smith conceded he can't name the starting offensive line or identify who will emerge as playmakers.(That is a positive sign the head coach can't name a playmaker on offense, hey I thought Oline, Tait and Garza where the core? Why not name them)

''If we give our offense a little bit of time and we plug a few guys in, we can be very productive.'' (A few guys?? A second ago him and Angelo couldn't name a playmaker or the Starting Oline now they just need a couple of guys. Which is it??)

The Bears have spent virtually the same value of their draft picks under Angelo on offense as defense, yet they are getting much better value on defense. In other words, they won't be merely drafting offense this year -- they will be re-drafting. The wish list includes positions where they already used high picks without getting much payoff, such as wide receiver Bradley, lineman Terrence Metcalf, quarterback Rex Grossman and running back Cedric Benson.

''Sometimes, for whatever reason, defensive players come around a little quicker,'' Smith said. ''I can't say it's like that everwhere, but for some reason, our defensive players have played a little quicker, reached a certain point a little quicker. (Like who is a rookie on offense that has not come around?? Most of our guys have been here awhile now)

''But these players you talk about offensively, we haven't cut any of them. We still think they are going to come around, hopefully this year.''(Ahhh Hopefully, go cubs go, oh I mean Bears)

Smith believes that process will be greatly aided by open competition. He said players understand ''you go 7-9, and something isn't right.'' The coach known for declarative statements about the team's quarterbacks said every job is open, regardless of position or how well a player did last year. He went so far as to say Brian Urlacher has to earn his starting spot.(But Mike Brown doesn't he got named a starter)

The Bears didn't consider cutting Benson in the offseason, but Smith admitted this is an important year for the former No. 4 pick. Benson is rehabbing from a broken left leg just above the ankle that required a metal plate and screws. He should return before training camp.(this sounds promissing)


While there is indeed a great pool of OTs in the draft, pickings will by slim by the time our 2nd pick comes around. Long and Clady are near locks to be gone by the time we pick in the 1st, and Williams is a good bet to be gone as well. Albert, Otah, Cherilius and Baker will be gone by our 2nd pick. It may be a great pool, but if we wait until the 2nd round, we will quickly find ourselves in shallow water.

Also, RB is considered very deep in this draft. Quality can be had in the 2nd, 3rd and later rounds. You can find post 1st round RBs FAR easier than you can find post 1st round LTs.

Just because it is loaded does not mean we will draft a this year ready OL with other teams passed up OL drafts, especially with JA inability to draft good offensive players. Look at Benson/Grossman we can't keep trying to draft skill positions without shoring up the OL with great players. Great as in 1st round not good as in 2nd-3rd round we need a great LT not a good one, then even Benson can run the ball and even Grossman can step up in the pocket to get his deep passes off, the Defensive ends are just too good to try and draft a pro caliber LT in the later rounds. While other teams take the best OL we will be stuck with the guy;s they passed up.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Bears use a third round pick on Chilo Rachal of USC. Nice size at 6-5 315lbs would easily be our biggest guard and give the Bears some much needed strength inside. Scouting report on Raschal says he has explosive use of hands to pop the defender and to generate a surge as a drive blocker. If true these attributes could really help the Bears ground attack. One of the negatives is some scouts felt that Rachal could of used another year of development. Thats fine because if the Bears do draft Rachal I look for them to sit Rachal for a season anyways much like they have in the past with players like Kreutz and Josh Beekman who should get a shot this season at left guard. I would like the pick because like I said Rachal could give the Bears some needed power inside and if Beekman does not make it he could come in and take a crack at left guard in 2009, if Beekman does make it, which I think he will, Rachal can then push Garza at right guard GO BEARS!!

For once this blog was not clogged with the real goofs and some good comments, now for my 2 cents: I still question some people who comment on getting a QB as a priority they would not pick a QB in the first 3 rounds might wait until 5 or 6 with [1] signing both incumbants [2] other pressing nedds to be addressed [3] no more NFL Europe to develop on e cause they sure haven't developed one before. That said DT is not a pressing need with everyone who was hurt last season coming back there is a good rotation. Safety I still think soon you will be seeing Tillman making a move since now McBride held his own for Vasher last season could be better this season. So all is not gloomy in Beardom. Jerry get right this time fix the OL and away we go. GO BEARS!!!!

What I am trying to say is that dropping 1st round money on an offensive lineman is like kissing your sister - it is just too unsatisfying. Angelo needs to score big (and we want him to too!)

So once again I am asking the true bear fans if we are sitting there at #14 and Ellis, Merling, McKelvin, Talib, Harvey, Rivers, Mendenhall and Desean Jackson are there... WHO DO YOU PICK???

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2008 10:38 PM.

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