Chicago Sun-Times

Don't rush to judgment on a pass rusher at No. 18

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INDIANAPOLIS--In perhaps another sign that the Bears will look at an offensive tackle or a wide receiver in the first round of the draft, general manager Jerry Angelo said it's unlikely the club will be able to find an elite pass rusher with the 18th pick in the first round.

"If he's elite there is a reason why he is there at 18 so I can't say he's elite,'' he said Saturday afternoon. "He might have elite traits but to say he is going to be an elite pass rusher, there is going to be probably one flaw is the reason why he is there.

"There are only probably in any draft maybe eight elite players, in any given draft, sometimes you might get to 10, sometimes it might be as few as three. That's a strong word. You might get a player with some strong traits that has some potential but there is going to be some real areas of concern too and one thing I have learned in my experience with pass rushers as there have probably been as many gotten on the second day, meaning rounds four through free agency as gotten on the first day. That is one good thing about pass rushers. You can get them really in any round. There are certain traits that they have to have, very difficult position to project as well."

Angelo makes a valid point. Jared Allen was a fourth-round pick in 2004. Jason Taylor was a third-round pick in 1997. Adewale Ogunleye was an undrafted free agent in 2000. Heck, the Bears' best pass rusher of all-time, Richard Dent, was an eighth-round pick in 1983. The draft is only seven rounds now.

With new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli expected to reshape some of the players up front, it could be the Bears count on him to make the difference there and use their resources elsewhere.

"Of course that will help whenever you can add a top-flight defensive lineman who's a rusher,'' coach Lovie Smith said. "But the first thing you do is what we did. We brought in the best defensive line coach in the game. He'll help a lot. From there, we'll always try to keep our defensive line as one of our strengths, so you'll always look to that."

Just maybe not at No. 18. Marinelli is expected to overhaul Mark Anderson's game after two disappointing seasons and all are confident Ogunleye will be in top form in a contract year. Guess what? When you combine Alex Brown's 13 tackles for loss with his six sacks, he was in the top five in the league in tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a lineman. That bolsters his personal theory that sacks are overrated.

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With that being said a tackle round 1, WR round 2, DE round three and hopefully another third round pick in FS, then G, SLB, C. Sounds good to me.

To me, it seems like the Bears like what they have in their current defensive ends, with Mark Anderson and Adewale Ogunleye both proving in the past they have the ability to get to the QB, I think Angelo feels Rod Marinelli will get these guys back to form, with that being said, I can't see the Bears going defensive end in the first either.

If the Bears resign tackle John St.Clair, which is starting to look like what their gonna do, the Bears will no doubt be going tackle at #18. Couple good things about this are, its a pretty deep tackle class, and sitting at #18 the Bears should have a very good chance to get a pretty good prospect at right tackle. The second good thing is, the Bears need to get a right tackle, which is a lot easier to land than a left tackle.

If someone like Michael Oher slips, you take him, but I don't think Oher will slip. Eben Britton is the tackle I see the Bears taking at #18. Britton played left tackle as a junior at Arizona, but at the next level, Britton is a right tackle, who could fill in on the left side if someone were to go down, but right tackle is his best position. Britton doesn't have the foot speed needed to man the left tackle position. Many scouts felt the spread attack and mobile senior quarterback Willie Tuitama help mask Britton's lack of elite foot speed and agility as a pass blocker, but his size and strength in the running game could make him a standout at right tackle. Also, scouts love his physicality and consistency. Britton is a high character type and hard worker, if the Bears were to draft him at #18, they would probably have their right tackle for the next 10 plus seasons.

If not Britton, like it or not, I can see the Bears taking Phil Loadholt of Oklahoma. I like Loadholt, who is seen as a massive man who can engulf his opponent, and is a potentially dominant drive blocker. This guy will make Matt Forte look a lot better than he already is. Loadholt slipped because he is not seen as a left tackle, and left tackles have more value. With Loadholts long arms he could keep pass rusher at bay on the right side in the NFL, which will help Kyle Orton, he might seem like reach at #18, but I think he's gonna be a pleasant surprise at the next level in the NFL at right tackle. If not at #18, I can see the Bears trading down a couple slots to get Loadholt, but I hope they don't trade down to far, matbe 2-3 spots, I'd take him at #18, its a reach but he would fill a huge hole for the Bears. GO BEARS!!

Tackle with first pick best availible offensive lineman in the second WR in the third and best availible at any position in the fourth and fifth. This is a year you cannot pass on offensive linemen the F/A market is dead and whats left isn't much better than some player with upside.

Sacks are over rated, but pressure isn't and that was the problem for the Bears, average QB's and bad recivers were ripping the defense apart in the middle of the field cause they had to much time, the speed of the defense has dropped at every position this year. S, DT, LB, CB, LDE seemed to have all lost a step.

"That is one good thing about pass rushers. You can get them really in any round. There are certain traits that they have to have, very difficult position to project as well."

If we can get one in any round there Angie whats the hold up? Common 7 drafts man, 7 drafts, get the damn job done chump.

The more I look at this draft class the less impressive it looks. Some positions are just anemic this year, DT, 4-3 DE, QB, S, and the positions that are deep the talent level does not have a high peak. Lots of good but not much great. I don't think this class is blowing anyone away.

Kevin I agree about the Bears liking there DE's and I don't see them drafting one in the first round but don't forget Ogunleye will be 32 and is in the final year of his contract.

Britton is a good bet, Loadholt is a 2nd round pick, don't be surprised if the Bears go after one of the top 3 corners in round 1. I don't think Oher slips because tackle is just way to in demand and safe. Another thing to remember is that some teams may seek to jump past the Bears, Like Pit who are desperat for a LT and need to get in front of the Eagles, Detroit and the Bears to have a shot at a good LT. I think PIT will make a call to the Bears and try to get Meredith, Britton, or Beattey. Then the Bears might consider Loadholt at 32, plus whatever pick they want to give, they may go after Kropog at 32 though, who knows. Andre Smith is droping like rock.

The Bears will definetly be taking a WR or OT in round one.

You can bet that it will be both of those positions with the first two picks. It's just a matter of what prospect is available at #18 so long as Angelo doesn't trade up or down....

My guess is WR at #18 and OT at #49...

St.Claire re-signing is 50/50. No word of the Bears even discussing contract with his agent at ths point so it seems that Angelo will let him work the FA circuit before beginning talks if at all. Perhaps it's just a ploy to gauge his true market value or the Bears are eyeing a different player such as Mark Tauscher, Kalif Barnes, Stacey Andrews, Tra Thomas or RFA Donald Penn when the free agency period kicks off next week.

Go Bears !!

The problem with Jerry is he likes to say what aint which is what all good GM's do, - I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt there too.
I guess there were only 3 elite players when he selected Ced? lol
But OG had a terrible year and just to expect a player to `bounce back' is a pretty big expectation, personally I would not expect anything from OG, I would get a better Pass Rushing DE as OG doesn't have too many years left anyway - is Jerry gonna let OG get old before he replaces him like he did the Oline? (OG is already old people)what Jerry is gonna do with that 18th pick is any ones guess as Jerry does some weird stuff like maybe he is alluding to trading down.....
Mark and OG may have proved it in the past but not in the past year which is scary, I have wrote I like Rod/Sapp abilities but durn we are talking about bouncing back how many players?
OG,Anderson,Harris....the ENTIRE Dline! I have faith in Sapp working Harris back but I don't know about Og, or that many intangibles. And I feel we do need sacks from Brown not just tackles behind the line. A sack is a big demoralizer for the opposing offense more so than a tackle behind the line.
Not to put Brown down as I like his game, but more sacks (with Harris bouncing back) would be the game ticket. I am optimistic about Rod/Sapp fixing the Dline but I am not betting the farm on Og, too many bets in one pot for me.

We can get a pass rush specialist in the later rounds. O-Line, Safety, and WR are much more pressing on day one of the draft.

Jerry says that coaching and attitude will help make us better on defense.....I hope they also change the way they practice!!!..hopefully, Big Rod brings some full contact tackling drills and more intersquad scrimmages to Lovies Country Club!!! That way, maybe during a scrimmage someone will cream Orton and Hanie will start from then on!!!!!!!ORTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!

The Bears Brass will not select an O-lineman with the first pick because they need a playmaker now!!!! It takes time for an O-lineman to make an impact, time Jerry and CO. don't have!!!!!..If they don't win this year, they will likely get fired (they should get fired) I think they know this so they must get a difference maker, a big play maker, not some O-lineman that will no doubt struggle this year!!.....Good luck, Bears!!!!!!

Creighton, I agree pressure is important, and about the drop-off at linebacker. Don't be surprised if the Bears use their 3rd rounder on California linebacker Zack Follett, 6-1 231lbs, who is a player they like. Follett is a great pass rusher, this season Follett had 10.5 sacks to go along with 23 TFL, in 07 he had 6.5 sacks, and in 06 5.5 sacks, so the guy can get to the QB from his linebacker position. I like Follett the most because scouts say he is a punishing tackler. Follett can also drop back in coverage having four passes broken up, and is a playmaker having had 5 forced fumbles. I wouldn't be surprised if Angelo pulled the trigger on this pick for Follett to both upgrade the linebacking core, and pass rush.

Creighton, I realize Ogunleye is getting a little long in the tooth, so is Chicago gonna bring in an end at some point during the draft, maybe? But it depends on how Angelo feels about 2nd year player Ervin Baldwin, does Angelo see him as the Bears future starting left end? The Bears liked him enough to elevate him from the practice squad to stop the Chiefs from signing him during the season. I think it all depends on how they feel about Baldwin, who I think they feel has a lot of upside.

Creighton, I think we both pretty much agree what their gonna do in the first, but it could change with free agency coming up. I would still like to see the Bears go after a free agent tackle, it would open a lot of things up for the Bears on draft day to address other needs like receiver, free safety, etc.. I would love for the Bears to sign Atlanta tackle Tyson Clabo who is a RFA. Clabo is young enough to be around for awhile, and has a lot of upside coming on for the Falcons this year at right tackle, is Angelo gonna do it, who knows? The Bears didn't mention anything about going after a free agent tackle, but then again, even if they were planning on doing it they wouldn't say anything. The Bears have a history of signing free agent tackles with Tait, Heck, Miller, and even Blake Brockermeyer back in 99. I know Miller is a bad example, but Tait isn't, Tait was a good free agent signing because he was young enough to come in and be more than a stop gap. I feel the same way about Tyson Clabo who is only a 4 year vet, I'd like to see the Bears go after him, I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility. This friday we should learn a lot more about what direction the Bears are gonna go in, maybe St.Clair, maybe someone like Clabo who could be the long term answer for the Bears art right tackle and free things up for the Bears on draft day so they can addrees other needs, we'll see in the coming week GO BEARS!!

Kevin wasn't Baldwin released? Maybe I am wrong. As for Follet go look at my Bears draft picks that I listed during the senior bowl. Follet is my number 3 pick. They do have a history of signing FA tackels, they also have a history of loosing during that period. Don't ever mention Brockermeyer again. The Bears have always done there best when they had strong offensive line. Just look at the history of the team. The have gotten away from drafting there own linemen and have paid for it.

My big concern about Britton is he is very good, he may not be a great Pass Blocker on the left side, but niether is Jake Long. While he is not Jake Long he will be a pro bowl RT for a team, he could be a good LT or a great RT. WAS, GB, OAK, NO, JAC, STL, DET, PIT, SEA, CIN, PHI all need a lot of help at OT. There is gonna be another run at the position. I think Britton is a better RT but he would be better than Baker at LT which means teams will look at him there. 18 is a long way down. Also I expect a couple of trades to happen in the top 15, Carolina will trade Peppers, maybe to Texas or maybe to WAS, and KC will trade Dorsey to someone, DT will have a premium this year being a thin class and Glenn Dorsey does not fit in a 3-4 in any way shape or form. Anyway there is a chance the Bears end up with Andre Smith instead of Britton. Which does not thrill me given the way he is behaving at the combine or should say was behaving sense he left.

Creighton and Kevin, I agree with your assesment that there is not very much special or elite talent in this years draft.

Who in this draft class are truly elite athletes for a first pick at #18? I completely believe in taking the best available athlete, the elite player rather than filling a positional need and reaching for a pick. Eugene Monroe (gone before #18), Michael Oher(gone), Andre Smith or Jason Smith (gone) at OT, Stafford (Gone) at QB maybe Sanchez (gone) at QB, Malcomb Jenkins (gone) at CB, Orakpo (gone) and Brown at DE and Raji at DT (gone), Moreno at RB and both Laurinaitis and Maualuga at Middle Linebacker and Aaron Curry (gone) at OLB.

Britton might be a great OT but some pundits rate him a reach at #18 possibly being available as late as a 32nd pick, Loadholt some say as high as 50th pick. Andre Smith may be available after this fiasco at the combine, but you have to wonder about his decision making and character now more than ever, he might turn into another Cedric Benson type OMG!! Eugene Moore and Jason Smith will be gone before #18. do the Bears trade down to a high 20's or low 30's pick to get real value at that pick and pick up another 4th rounder or so?

Or do you pick the very best athlete at #18?

The only real value picks that I see at #18 right now based on best available athlete is a MLB that may be available at #18 and that is Laurinaitis and Muauluga. Now may be the time to start thinking about the next middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears while you still get value for Urlacher?

Creighton, Ervin Baldwin is still a Bear, if you go to the Bears offical website, and go into their roster he is still listed. Baldwin spent most of the season on the Bears practice squad, and was then elevated to the 53 man roster when it was rumored the Chiefs were gonna sign him, this shows me the Bears must see something in him to want to keep him around, he's a player I'll have my eye on during the pre-season.

Creighton, I agree with what your saying about a potential run on tackles in the draft. This is exactly why I keep saying the Bears might have to take a player like Phil Loadholt at #18, even though he is a projected 2nd rounder. If Chicago signs no one except John St.Clair, they will have no choice but to take the best tackle available, which could very well be Loadholt, especially if there is a run on tackles. I have an idea Britton will be available at #18, and again, if no one is signed except St.Clair, the Bears have got to take either Britton or Loadholt at #18, this is the Bears biggest need, even bigger than receiver. With Booker getting the axe, and Lloyd not expected to come back, this tells me the Bears like what they see in Earl Bennett, Bennett and Hester could be this years starters at receiver. Although, I would still love for the Bears to nab Ohio states Brian Robiskie in the second.

Creighton, I agree, its better to build a line through the draft, but free agency is another tool you can use to build a team. I totally agree, you don't sign a stop gap type, but a guy like Clabo who is still young, has proved himself this year, unlike a draft pick, and has his best football in front of him, would be a great pickup for a team like the Bears that currently has no starting experience on the roster at tackle. Clabo would fill a huge hole, and is young enough that he would be a lot more than a stop gap, just an idea GO BEARS!!

cmon angelo make some moves take some chances go get some good free agents or trade some draft picks for a proven star like bolden cutler,something man look at kansas city they get a stud gm and in one week gets a great defensive player in vrabel and then makes a splash in trading for matt cassel making them a playoff contender overnight,im so sick of jerry angelo he needs to go

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 21, 2009 6:42 PM.

Fast talking: Bears trying to lure Tait from retirment but planning without him was the previous entry in this blog.

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