We’ll tie up the loose ends we can get our hands on here from a busy Day 1 of the draft.
The Bears have nine picks Sunday and the action starts at 9, an hour earlier than in years’ past with the new format. With five minutes per pick, if every team uses the full allotment of time per pick, the draft will last 16 hours on Day 2. No joke. Do the math yourself. But it shouldn’t take quite that long. We hope.
*** Hard to say which way the Bears will go with the 70th pick, the seventh of the third round.
I was thinking about the possibility of USC’s John David Booty at quarterback, but the more I mull it over I keep coming back to the commitment the club has had in Rex Grossman forever. Yes, it’s an open competition with Kyle Orton for the starting job, but don’t bet for a second the higher-ups aren’t pulling for the former first-round pick to blossom. I think they will hold off on drafting a quarterback.
*** So where does that leave us? Well, they’re in need of a playmaking wide receiver and surprisingly there are still some nice ones remaining even after 10 came flying off the board in Round 2.
I think the Bears are high on LSU’s Early Doucet, and a Scouts Inc. mock draft of the third round on ESPN.com has the Bears taking just him. There are durability issues concerning Doucet, who was hampered by a groin injury this past season.
Michigan’s Mario Manningham, whose stock has plummeted since a slow 40 time at the combine and the more worrisome marijuana news, is also available. Would general manager Jerry Angelo roll the dice on a character guy in round three? Florida’s Andre Caldwell is also available.
*** Say you’re not interested in a receiver and you’re looking to shore up he defense in a trouble area from last season? How about Arkansas’ defensive tackle Marcus Harrison. I ran some Razorback names by coach Lovie Smith on Thursday. He spent two days in Fayetteville around the pro day and sources told me he was high on Harrison, running back Felix Jones and cornerback Matterral Richardson. So, I ran the three names by him and the first thing he did was ask me where I got my information. The second thing he did was essentially tell me I was right with two names and wrong with one. He didn’t reveal which however.
*** If you’re thinking safety, it might be a little early but Arizona State’s Josh Barrett is an intriguing prospect and the Bears simply love Notre Dame’s Tommy Zbikowski. With the flock of picks they have, they’ll work to get the Buffalo Grove product.
*** If Chris Williams in the first round was just the first building block for a reshaped offensive line, consider Rutgers guard Jeremy Zuttah, who line coach Harry Hiestand worked out
*** Penn State cornerback Justin King is still on the board and you can never have too many good corners. Ever. He could be too good to pass up.
*** If the Bears go deep into Day 2 to get their third quarterback—ESPN.com’s Mike Sando pointed out they are the only franchise in the league without at least three passers under contract right now—keep an eye on San Diego State’s Kevin O’Connell. I’ll throw another name at you as well. LSU’s Matt Flynn. He’s got intangibles from here to Baton Rouge, La., and might be under consideration.
*** There's a good chance the Lions would have taken running back Matt Forte with the 45th pick if he slipped past the Bears. Detroit brought him in on a pre-draft visit and liked him a lot.
The Lions instead went with Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon in this spot. He's an overachiever who some consider a reach in that spot, just like they thought the Lions went early for Boston College offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus in Round 1 at No. 17. Aren't we used to Matt Millen drafts being criticized by now?
Get this. Word is the Denver Broncos were also inquiring about Forte. They passed at No. 42 taking Virginia Tech wide receiver Eddie Royal. Mike Shanahan never drafts backs real high. The Broncos wanted Devin Hester two years ago when the Bears nabbed him.
*** Sun-Timesman Mark Potash noted the following:
Of the 33 players in NCAA Division I-A who rushed for 1,200 yards or more, Tulane's Matt Forte is the only one to do it behind an offensive line that did not include a first- or second-team all-conference member. Tulane was fourth in Conference USA in rushing, but 10th in passing, ninth in total offense and 11th in scoring.
*** NFL Network host Rich Eisen asked commissioner Roger Goodell about the through-the-roof rookie contracts players are getting these days with players at the very top of the first round getting astronomical deals before ever playing a down of professional football. Miami offensive tackle Jake Long, for instance, signed a contract with $30 million guaranteed.
EISEN: The compensation these players are going to get, Commissioner Goodell, if you think about it the NFL is the only business set up in America in which a complete newcomer becomes the highest paid player in the history of whatever business he is joining. Do you think there is enough groundswell for a rookie cap to be installed in this league?
GOODELL: I hope so. It’s something we want to raise with the Union. It’s not that we take away from anything that Jake Long has done, and take away from the money he has made. It’s just that he hasn’t played yet on an NFL field and neither have any of the other rookies. I think the veterans who have performed on the NFL level deserve that compensation. As you know, our system is set up where we have a minimum team-wide, so it’s not that we’re saving dollars, we’re still paying it to the players, and we’d just like to pay it to the veteran players who have performed on that level.
*** How many chances could the Bears have had after drafting Williams to deal into the first round to take Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall before he was selected at No. 23 by Pittsburgh?
Four picks were dealt between No. 15 and No. 23. Detroit moved out at 15, although the Lions would be an unlikely partner as a division rival. Houston dropped out at No. 18. Philly dealt out of No. 19 and Washington moved out of No. 21. The Arizona Cardinals did all they could to move down from No. 16 before selecting Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Whether any of these clubs would have wanted to go all the way to No. 44, or entertained the idea of a first-round pick in 2009, we'll probably never know. That was not working in the Bears' favor.
That’s it for Day 1. We’ll check in Sunday.