Chicago Sun-Times

Kiper dishes on myriad of draft possibilities for Bears

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There is nothing quite like a 25th anniversary and the 2009 draft marks the 25th year Mel Kiper Jr. will be associated with ESPN's coverage of the NFL Draft.

Kiper has the Bears selecting LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson in his latest mock draft, which has been up for a few weeks, and he took time out this morning in a conference call to talk about a realm of different possibilities.

"Wide receiver, offensive line and obviously the quarterback situation has to be cleared up there moving forward," Kiper said when asked what the Bears could potentially target at No. 18 in the first round. "But certainly wide receiver would be the one you have to look at, maybe Percy Harvin if he was there would be someone they have to consider. I just think their defense, which did not get it done in a lot of games, has to be looked at. Tyson Jackson from LSU, a defensive end, would seem to fit kind of the mold of the versatile defensive end they like. I would say Tyson Jackson if not maybe Percy Harvin.''

We outlined a few reasons why Harvin might not be a good match for the Bears in that slot last week. Harvin's cut from the Devin Hester mold and like Hester he played other positions in school. He also comes with some injury baggage, not the kind of thing general manager Jerry Angelo will likely be willing to consider at this pick.

Still, there are some other options and the Bears are known to be interested in Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, who Kiper slots more in the second round. Whether he makes it down to No. 49 in the second round remains to be seen. Some mock drafts suggest Heyward-Bey could be a late first-round selection.

Kiper compared Nicks, who was in an offense run by John Shoop at North Carolina, to one of the game's best over the last 20 years.

"I compared him a little bit to Michael Irvin," Kiper said. "Irvin didn't have the great 40 time, but certainly had great natural pass receiving skills, great hands, toughness, great route runner. That's what Nicks is. If his 40 time is good enough, he'll be a first-round pick. If it's an average to mediocre 40 time, he'll probably be a second-round pick."

Kiper then listed some other receivers that might be worthy of consideration at some point:

Mike Wallace, Ole Miss: "Mike Wallace had a big year for the Rebels, he's got the ability to beat you on the vertical routes, did a real good job,'' Kiper said. "His stock is certainly on the rise. He is certainly a guy that I think a lot of people are going to have to take a good, hard look at."

Johnny Knox, Abilene Christian: Comes from the same program as defensive back Danieal Manning.

Nate Swift, Nebraska: Kiper called him productive and consistent.

Sammie Stroughter, Oregon State: Made 70 catches for 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Mike Thomas, Arizona: He's a slot receiver at 5-8 and the Bears have one in Rashied Davis.

Deon Butler, Penn State: He's another undersized guy but he has big-play ability.

Jarrett Dillard, Rice: Wildly productive in college with 60 career touchdowns, 20 last season.

Dobson Collins, Gardner-Webb: Has good size at 6-2 and was productive last season but comes from a small school.

"Those are some receivers that I think at some point need to be considered as guys you might get at bargain points during the draft,'' Kiper said.

*** If the Bears looked at a cornerback in the first round, Illinois' Vontae Davis is who he would match up with them.

"I'd say at that particular juncture Vontae Davis of Illinois as a roll-the-dice type pick,'' Kiper said. "It's a little early for D.J. Moore of Vanderbilt so I would say Vontae Davis, if he is there. Malcolm Jenkins I don't think will be there but his 40 time is going to determine where he goes. Right now, I think Jenkins could go as early as maybe nine to Green Bay but if he doesn't run that well then he drops significantly in the first round."

Some other notes from the chat:

*** Right now, Kiper has three offensive tackles going in the top eight picks as there are some standout talents like there were a year ago. Alabama's Andre Smith, Baylor's Jason Smith and Virginia's Eugene Monroe could all be long gone before the Bears' turn comes at No. 18.

That doesn't mean they are not going to have interest in a tackle high in the draft. Kiper lists Ole Miss' Michael Oher as the next prospect, and puts him in the 15 to 25 range in the first round, and has him going No. 28 in his most recent mock to Philadelphia. The Bears also like Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt, who projects as a right tackle. Kiper calls him a second-round pick right now. Kiper also says Arizona's Eben Britton could gain some momentum moving forward.

*** Georgia's Matthew Stafford and USC's Mark Sanchez are both worthy of discussion for being the No. 1 overall pick. But Kiper says Kansas State's Josh Freeman could "be the buzz of the draft" in the coming months and says he could make a move into the first round.

"You can't say for sure about quarterbacks," Kiper said. "Quarterback is always going to bring with it a lot of risks."

The Bears are well aware of that fact.

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No question, Heyward-Bey #1, forget Harvin.

None of this matters as long as Orton is still the starter!!!!......If he is, we are all doomed to mediocrity.I'd rather see that Leaks guy from Florida that we let go a few years back play before Orton!!!!....Do like Ditka and trade every draft pick you have to get a QB!!!!!...A better QB will make the whole team better....Orton sucks!!.....He is a nightmare!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry, I can solve all your problems.....Trade for QB Troy Smith!!!! You can't and won't do better than him!! GO BUCKS & BEARS

Tripper....seriously?! Not in this draft, maybe last year, but not this year. And when you think about give up all your picks for 1 guy has proved not to work...Hence Ditka/Ricky Williams thing flopped after a few seasons!

I wouldn't mind going defense with Jackson or Vontae Davis...its too bad that USC safety didn't leave school. I just don't want to see the Bears trade the pick for 3rd or 4th rounds picks. I mean it JA, don't!!! I just want to draft someone that is going to get me excited about next season.

hey tripper are you a complete IDIOT or are just trying to get people worked up

Yes, I'm serious!!!!...Desperate times call for desperate measures!!! All you candy a$$e$ are afraid to take a gamble and try to better this team and take some chances deserve this mediocre product we now call the Bears!! Get your heads out of your a$$e$ and go for it!!!! Or we'll be stuck with an 8-8, 7-9, 6-10 team forever. I'm sick of it!!!!!

Considering Orton is more reliable than Rex dreams of being, did better than Grossman with a worse WR corps, has a 21-12 record (63.6% Winning Percentage), had a QB rating in the 90's before he got hurt and again at the end of the year after healing up & since it'll cost us next to nothing to keep him in '09....he's clearly this worst option at QB ever in the history of organized football, including both the Canadian version and the flag-football variety.


Defensive End or corner can live but WR is too much of a gamble in this group until round 2 (if a top WR drops to #49 then maybe)and later in the draft.

I still want the best linebacker if either of the top 2 (USC, OSU) are available, because I believe in taking the best football player and athlete and these two would make those plays we could not stop either runs or passes to the tight end etc throughout the year last year and would make Urlacher more versatile in the D, while building the middle for the future when the Url is gone.

WR and OL should be Free agent or trade. Gross at Right tackle for 5 years would be sweet and Ocho or Boldin for five would be sweet as well. Trade Goon, he will be gone after next year anyway in free agency.

I say we trade for Boldin and give Earl Bennette some playing this year. Pickup Derrick Anderson or Jeff Garcia to compete for the QB spot. Jerry we're not that far from the Super Bowl. Spend some money.

Tripper, you get it, my man. The Bears need to make some kind of bold move (signing Brett Basanez doesn't count, by the way) or it will be Groundhog Day, 8-8, 9-7, 7-9 forever. As long as you saps continue to watch, why should they make a bold move?

Forget what Kiper says, the Bears interview for "signability" not talent. Translation: cheap.

Tripper and exfan are on to something. However, it would require the McCaskeys to sell the team and the smarter fans to get much more vocal.

I agree with Tripper that Kyle Orton will never lead a team to the Super Bowl. Can anyone imagine a headline, "Kyle Orton leads the Bears to the Big Dance." Well, it might be a polka but it won't be the Super Bowl.

Oher looked liked a turnstyle in the senior bowl....already got one in St Clair! I know I'm in Tx now, but the "O'lay" blocking style isn't really my ideal cornerstone @ tackle.

DozenDuece - Dont you get it Tripper IS Rex . lol

"Can anyone imagine a headline, "Kyle Orton leads the Bears to the Big Dance." Well, it might be a polka but it won't be the Super Bowl."

If Train Rex can get to the SB I'm 110% positive that Orton can do it also !!

I think the Bears should trade up for a OT. They have Hester, they can probably bring Earl Bennett into the mix at WR. They have one of the best TE Tandems. We need a good offensive line because we have a good RB in Forte. We need some good talent to create holes. As far as QB is concerned Orton should get the job done. If you ask me I would trade up for a OT. But we all know Angelo shies away from trading up like it would give him the rabies.

I don't totally agree with Mel Kiper's pick for Chicago, LSU's Tyson Jackson, Chicago needs someone that can get to the QB, and Jackson isn't much of a pass rusher. Tyson Jackson kind of reminds me of a younger version of former Bears defensive end Phillip Daniels, both are around the same size, 6-5ish 280lbs, both can do everything pretty solid, but neither player is ever gonna get you double digit sacks. Most scouts view Jackson as more of a left defensive end at the next level, and while the Bears could use some youth at the left end position with Adewale Ogunleye getting to be on the wrong side of 30, and a free agent after next season. I don't think left end is as pressing of a need as say offensive tackle, wide receiver, or free safety. Also, Chicago has some potential starters for the left end position already on the roster in Israel Idonije, and second year player Ervin Baldwin, who Chicago liked enough to elevate to the 53 man roster from the practice squad this season because there was rumors the Chiefs were gonna snag him.

If the Bears don't sign a free agent tackle like Jordan Gross, they got to go tackle in the first. I would love for Chicago to land Arizona tackle Eben Britton. I love this kids potential, and he can play both tackle positions. Britton is a great run blocker that also has quick enough feet for the left side. One more year in school and Britton could have been a top 5 pick. Britton could come in as a rookie and play swing tackle. Britton could backup John Tait, and take over the right tackle position in 2010, or maybe sooner if Tait were to go down with an injury.

If Hakeem Nicks the wide receiver from North Carolina slips to Chicago in the second, the Bears got to take him. Slow 40 or not, this kid can play receiver, and is hard to take down after the catch. GO BEARS!!

The Bears need to trade down in the first round with someone in the low 20's. Draft Hakim Nicks from UNC and go OT with the other pick they pick up in the deal. Then look at FS or DE with their 2nd rounder. Nicks is a real deal. Yes he doesn't have blazing speed, but we have that in Hester. He's the possession receiver we need opposite Devin. Great route runner and catches everything. We don't need another short, speedster like Harvin. Trade down and GET NICKS!!!

I agree with your dislike of Kiper's selection. Jackson is not a great fit for our defensive line, and hasn't been since Greg Blache was here. I don't share your optimism on Baldwin or Idonije as a starter, especially since Izzy bulked up to play inside.

The other thing I strongly disagree with Kiper on is that the Bears would have to consider Harvin at 18. Why take another Hester-like player? What we need is a #1 receiver, and he talks about two other guys right after that in Heyward-Bey and Nicks who are more like the guy we need (Kiper compares Nicks to Irvin, which is exactly the kind of player we need as a #1 WR). We need a guy who will catch anything, be open when he needs to be, and make the catch in traffic. Hester is our speed mismatch on the other side, and Olsen and Clark will abuse the seams all day long. But if you don't have that money player on 3rd and 9 that will be open at 10 yards whether he is doubled or not, then we don't have a solid passing game. Larry Fitzgerald has evolved into that kind of player, but it took him a few years to get this good. Boldin was that kind of guy right out of the gate, which gives Arizona essentially 2 #1 WRs. Indy has 2 in Wayne and Harrison. It would be nice to just have one that could frustrate Harris, Woodson, Winfield, and anyone else who has to cover them. They won't be able to put their best defenders on Olsen and Hester if we have a true #1 threat.

Our biggest needs are the same as what they always are: we have to be able to get the QB on the ground, and we have to keep our QB off the ground. better pass blocking does the latter, but so does having a go-to WR that forces the defense to play coverage, and still someone comes open. That is where Orton will really shine going forward. If we have that one target that is always rolling coverage to their side, then someone always will come clear on the other.

I would be ok with Maclin at 18, but I still question whether he is the type of guy who can be that "always open" threat. I need to watch more film of him and see how well he gets off the line, gets out of his breaks, and how well his hands stack up. In a perfect world, we trade our 2010 first rounder for Boldin, and then draft the best lineman on the board at 18, regardless of which side of the ball. Gross looks like he will be signed before free agency opens, so they can franchise Peppers, so that option is probably not viable. I like the idea of Vernon Carey at RT as a free agent, but that's just me.

Kiper, as usual, looks at the team needs, and just puts the highest rated player at a need position in the slot on his mock drafts. If he actually cared about fit for a player, Jackson would never even be in the discussion. He does know a lot about the players, and like all draft experts, his rankings are subjective, and vary depending on the scheme and trait hierarchy of each team. But mock drafts are aptly named in that they are simply what they think could happen.

Which brings me to his discussion on CB in round 1. A lot of people seem to think we need a corner in round 1. With what Bowman showed in limited action last year, as well as Graham and Tillman both being healthy going in to 2009, Vasher is a luxury. If he doesn't look like he can regain his form, you cut him. If he does, you either put him back on the field as a starter, or you have a pretty dynamic nickel back for this season. And that's not even factoring McBride into the equation. I like Davis, but Jerry would be pretty short-sighted if he takes a CB at 18 with our other holes. It is by far our deepest position as far as experience and potential. If Vasher flops again (which we have to consider as a legit possibility given his last 2 seasons), we still have 2 solid CBs in Graham and Tillman, and the potential of Manning at nickel again. McBride and Bowman are pretty good as 3rd and 4th CBs. Not too many teams have that kind of depth.

Jerry needs to stick to the Tampa plan that we all mock him for. Build from the inside out. Get the lines right first, and fit in pieces around it. Offensive line, defensive line, and then QB, WR, S, LB in no particular order. But I have a feeling that someone special will drop to us again, like Olsen did. If that happens, we need to be able to pull the trigger on it, and if it were me, I would work the phones like a madman to try and get a second first rounder out of Philly or Detroit in exchange for our 2010 first rounder, or work to get more picks in 2 or 3, because people are going to drop this year, and we need to be able to pounce. This is a very solid draft for what we need, and at first glance, next year is not going to be as strong for us.

Trade first round pick for Vince Young! Titans dont seem to want him. He has alot of talent and he is a winner. what Ditka did and trade everything you've got for one guy.

How'd drafting that stoner work out for Ditka again?

Oh yeah.....a complete collapse for his team, his firing, and a complete demoralization that led him to never coach again.



You hit the nail on the head. Nicks looks like a keeper. I would add OG or C to the list of potential 2nd round picks.

Kevin and Joe, the combine has not even happened and niether have individual workout's. All the mocks out there are going to change after that in a big way.

Kevin we both agree on Britton but as for need, DE is almost as big a need as OT for the Bears. Not just because of depth problems but because of production probelms. OT may be a little more pressing need because Williams is still a question mark and there is a chance the Bears loose St. Clair, and Tait is at the end of his run. If they loose St. Clair they will have to go OT by the second round. As for a reciver Britt and Nicks make sense, but will either be there in round 2?

Joe, Nicks is a very good reciever but do not compare him to Bey or the other way around. The are nothing alike. Bey is a burner with bad hands, he dropped 20%+ of all passes thrown to him. Nicks is a good player but if he runs a 4.5 40 he is gonna be gone before the Bears draft in round 2. As for your take on Fitzgerald, it took him a year to be great, his second year he put up 1400 yards and 10 TD's.

People need to remember a couple of things, first Angelo looks at the Bears as having 2 first round picks joining the team this year. They didn't really have Williams all year so this will be his first real year with the Bears if he can stay healthy. So right there the Bears look at him and it's like there picking up a first round OT this year. Second Lovie and Angelo are conservative in what they do, so don't expect some flashy first round pick. Third the Bears are a defensive based team. And finally the Bears spent the first three picks on offense last year, expect them to go defense this year with at least 2 of the first three picks. I excpect The Bears to consider Bennett as the number 2-3 reciever this year even though he did not play which is another almost extra pick this year, and for them to get a reciever in FA, I also excpect they will draft a WR in the mid rounds with the pick they are getting for Berrian. I do not think they will go WR in the first 2 rounds but rather 3rd or 4th. RT is the need on the line and while I and Kevin agree on Britton who I think is this years Clady, the Bears will look at the 2nd or third round for a RT because that fits the value system the Bears like to use and because they already have a first round pick joining the team this year. Not to mention Tait or St. Clair will be the starter so the guy they get will be a developmental OT. I expect them to go defense or QB with the first pick. It looks like Simms is going to wind up with the Titans again. If Sanchez and Freeman are gone they are going defense and will take the Best defensive value player on there board that is not a LB or Saftie. Corner or DE. Could be Davis or Maybin.

I am not saying this is what I would do, but rather what I think the Bears will do.

A few thoughts:

1. THE COMBINE IS WORTHLESS!!!!!! They shouldn't even take it into account. They ahould look at how they play football. The combine has turned out to be a godsend for bad players that can jump high, run fast, and throw far, but just can't seem to play football very well.

2. Forget the QB in the first 3 rounds. Draft one somewhere after the 4th. Like it matters if you get one in the first or second round.

3. Make the team a "beat you into the ground" team again. Hurt people, take no prisoners, and out tough anyone that dares to challenge them. Go O-lineman, D-lineman, and linebacker in the first 3 rounds, and not necessarily in that order. Sign either Haynesworth or Peppers. Time to get serious about putting a serious physical beat down on the other teams in the division. Make them taste the Bear's wrath.

4. Smarter coaching will be a bigger deal than different players in 2009.

Go Bears. Kick A*($&*, and become the team that plays liek Chicago is....TOUGH!!!

The 18th pick is a good pick to trade down with to get extra players. From what I've been seeing at this point, I see more value at the end of the first round and into the 2nd and 3rd rounds in the WR and RT position and it fits Angelo's M.O. I don't see a QB or DE worth taking in the draft who would fit what the Bears need in the 1st round this year. I'd actually like to see another speed receiver to take that pressure off Hester if they can get that and a possession receiver in FA. Or Bennett develops into that WR. Beekman may develop into Olin Kreutz' replacement, but I don't think they should take that chance. If a quality center becomes available, that would be great. Kreutz hasn't been himself the last 2 years and he has a lot of wear on his tires. That position takes at least 3 years to get a handle of.

If Harvin is gone as is Vontae Davis, trade back into the late first and pick up another pick, take Hakeem Nicks (who will end up being the 2nd best receiver in the class behind Crabtree, just watch) and take another OL. We don't need a DE by any means, the players at the position are not the problem, it's been the scheme. Alex Brown is incredibly underrated and Anderson / Ogunleye are both much better than they played last year. With Lovie calling the defense again and Marinelli being an incredible line coach, we will be just fine. And don't even mention a rookie QB, there's not one in the entire bunch worth having.

By LMS: And don't even mention a rookie QB, there's not one in the entire bunch worth having.

Thats what they said last year too, but Ryan and Flacco turned out to be pretty damn good. Flacco 18th pick as for your comment on the team not needing a defensive end, they only have 3 of them, and Goon is a free agent after next year. As Alex Brown he has never been a pass rusher. As for the scheme the scheme is still the same as it has been the last 5 years with Lovie yet you say Lovie will fix it. As for Rookie QB's how do you know there is not a good one in the Bunch, I bet there are at least 3 that come out and are better than anything the Bears have. Oh and As for Anderson, he has been bad for 2 years and teams run right at him and over him when ever he comes in. Also sense you are talking about play calling you do know that Brown calls the stunts on the line, you know the stunts that produced almost no pressure. I like Alex but he is not that talented, he plays with his head, Goon needs someone next too him who is good so he can go man, otherwise he does little, and Anderson is a one hit wonder.

As for Rod please inform me as to all the Defensive ends he has coached up. I mean he was given 3-4 first round picks at end in Tampa and he never turned them into anything special. Oh and please don't say Rice who was a Pro Bowler before he ever met Rod and had his best year in Arizona.

You know I always get a kick out of people talking about Lovie and Rod like they made the defense in Tampa. It's like they have no clue about Kiffin and Dungy. Thats Future NFL Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy. But no it was Rod and Lovie the secret dynamic duo of Tampa.

Tampa Bay Twins Power Ativate
Lovie: Form of a mediocre head coach
Rod: Shape of worst Head Coach in NFL history


It's always a real smart choice to hire your friends, it always works out so well. Just ask Bob Babich the only guy on defense not to get fired.

Sorry Creighton, most, if not all of the experts had Matt Ryan as a top 3 player last year.

Also, forget Harvin, if we get a receiver, we need one with more height. Hakeem Nicks would be fantastic in a Bears uniform, so MIGHT Jeremy Maclin.

Actually JPCZ, after the combine his stock fell and most said he did not have the arm, but everyone liked his intagibles, he was listed at the number 1 QB in a draft class that was said to be the worst QB class in 20 years. Most had him as a top 3 pick because there was a huge need in Atlanta for a QB. Also only one or two experts were saying he was a franchise QB, he was looked at as a huge question mark. Me and Kevin A were talking him up all pre draft and hoping he would fall to the Bears, while everyone on this board kept quoting the so called experts about his so called weak arm.

I got a question for you, if Nicks is so great what is Britt? I would rather have Britt, Nicks is a possesion reciever who will be decent in the NFL but is not nor will he ever be a number 1. As for size Nicks and Britt are only a little taller than Harvin. Granted I don't want Harvin, but people are this Nicks kick cause the so called experts are looking at him. Britt is bigger, faster, stronger, has better hands, and he put up better numbers. Nicks is nothing special, he is similar to Moose except Moose was faster than him.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 11, 2009 1:35 PM.

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