Chicago Sun-Times

Draft preparation about to enter the next stage

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With the pro day circuit winding down at schools across the country--most of the big ones are out of the way(USC will hold its pro day Wednesday)--the Bears are nearing one of the next big steps in draft preparation. Soon, the club's six area scouts will gather at Halas Hall for at least a week. The team will begin to shape its draft board and at this point it's more removing players from the list than adding them. Twenty-seven days away from the first day of the draft, the team already has a pretty good idea what the board is going to look like.

In talking with a number of league sources last week, the same thing kept coming up over and over again--offensive tackle and wide receiver. Those are the two positions the team appears most focused on for the very top of the draft. Could it change now after Kevin Shaffer was signed this week? Maybe. But the Bears didn't come out and trumpet the signing of a starter, and certainly he's no longterm fix at the position. If general manager Jerry Angelo wants to ensure Frank Omiyale can compete at guard right away, he probably needs to go out and get a quality tackle early in the draft.

A couple tidbits we picked up along the way:

*** At this point, the Bears have not shown extra interest in UConn tackle William Beatty. Nothing is in the works in terms of a private workout or visit. That doesn't mean they are not interested in him, often times teams will stay as far away as possible from prospects to not tip their hand. But the Bears sent Lovie Smith to Vanderbilt last year and drafted Chris Williams. They had extra get-togethers with Matt Forte and drafted him.

*** The club put Arizona offensive tackle Eben Britton through a private workout. Britton probably projects as a right tackle but one evaluator said he might not have the feet to handle the edge. He suggested Britton ultimately could wind up inside at guard. However, most are comfortable with Britton, who played left tackle in school, becoming a successful right tackle.

*** What type of tackle are the Bears going to target? Some suggest they are going to look for a big body, someone with a major frame that they can plug in at right tackle as a road grader. Get someone with a Fred Miller- or Big Cat Williams-type frame and go. That might suggest a player like Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt, who they have worked out. Loadholt is probably a second-round pick, but there's no telling if he will make it to No. 49 where the Bears are selecting. Beatty might not be that person, although he has a frame that he could grown into.

*** Another Oklahoma player that might be appealing is wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias. He fits the mold of the second-round receiver that the team has been exploring. Nothing is in the works with Iglesias, that we know of, but the Minnesota Vikings are putting a full-court press on him. Personnel boss Rick Spielman and coach Brad Childress were at the OU pro day and Iglesias has a visit to Minnesota scheduled. The Bears like going after Sooners.

*** Don't be surprised if the Bears start showing interest in Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller. The club is expected to host Longhorns defensive end Henry Melton for a private visit, according to the Austin American-Statesman, and Miller is a guy who is emerging as a potential mid- to late-round selection. Miller is a little undersized at 6-1, 310 pounds, but he fits the mold of what the Bears look for as he is very quick off the ball and has a relentless motor. He's also strong, bench pressing more than 500 pounds. Miller is from Killeen, Texas, and has a good relationship with Tommie Harris.


***
Here is another linebacker to keep a close eye on--TCU's Stephen Hodge. He played safety for the Horned Frogs, and after a solid showing at the combine some teams might still be considering him at that position, but many project him as a linebacker at the next level. Hodge was an under-the-radar guy but is beginning to generate a little buzz, and the Bears have a keen eye on him. One reason why? Hodge is a distant relative of coach Lovie Smith. Hodge is physical and could be a contributor on special teams immediately.

*** Reports out of the pro day for Northern Illinois' Larry English were poisitive. English is receiving a lot of buzz for teams that play the 3-4 defense. Green Bay was well represented in DeKalb, and the Packers are making the move to the 3-4 this season. What's interesting is how the expansion of teams playing that defense is going to affect the draft. It used to be that Pittsburgh and a select few other teams could find bargains waiting and looking for players who fit their scheme. Now, with the proliferation of teams using the 3-4, it's going to put players like English, who can project as an outside linebacker, in more demand.

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18 Comments

"Miller is from Killeen, Texas, and has a good relationship with Tommie Harris."

Is that a positive or a negative?


THe highest rated tguy at reciever or Tackle will be the first pick. Whoever falls to them at those two positions. So it will probably be a Reciever sense I suspect more OT's will be picked than WR in the first round. Second round OT.

Please don't model anyone after Fred Miller.

Juaquin Iglesias, please not this guy. Spread offense recievers take a lot of time to adjust, don't know how to run routs, and are often busts.

Loadholt is looking more and more like a third round pick. Cadogan, Kropog, Lang, Fulton, Tupuo are all 2nd or third round guys. I think Andrea Smith will also fall to round three which will bump one of these guys up a bit.

The Bears may have to choose between Beatty, Britton, Meredith, Maclin, Britt, and Bey in round 1. Whoever they have at the top of there board will probably get the pick. There is a real good chance it is Britt or Britton. Have they given Maclin a good look?

Nicks, Robiskie, Iglesias, Meredith, Cadogan, Loadholt, Kropog, Tupuo in round 2.


Do you remember Tommie Harris on draft day??? Dancing around like he really had passion. He didnt even know how to say Lovies name...he called him Lubbie? This Miller kid has more passion than Tommie Harris. Compare him to Warren Sapp is like comparing Urlacher to Mike Singletary. Go Bears and Go Niners!!

Please take Loadholt or Britton assuming we don't get lucky and have Oher or A. Smith drop. Beatty is a gamble with his light weight and if he does succeed in pro's it will be at L.T. He'll never be a road grader.

But please also quit thinking W.R.in round 2. Kyle can't get the ball within 5 yds on 20 yd tosses. The bears need to use their 2 pick for the free safety available in the order of will moore, Delmas, and the guy from 'bama.

Yes we stink at W.R. but we're going to run even more next year with a new L.T., guard, and Britton or Loadholt. We will win more games with a huge improvement in our defensive center fielder than we will a W.R. Buy Torry Holt for a year and work on it next.

It wouldn't say much for the Bears off-season planning if their only off-season moves were for two guys who supposedly can play RT and they drafted a RT with their first pick.

I think the Bears most pressing needs are at WR, FS and DE, in that order. They really need playmakers at those spots, and I doubt you will find them after the first 2 rounds. The Bears might think that Marinelli can get more out of Brown-Anderson-Ogun, so I'd expect to see a WR in the first (unless Malcolm Jenksins falls-he's the only FS worthy of the 18th pick), followed by a FS in the second.

I would not be at all surprised to see the Giants and Bears swap places in the first (with the Giants targeting a WR), with the Bears picking up the Giants later 2nd round pick.

Philbeart - I think you're wrong about Beatty.

William Beatty, Connecticut
Height: 6-6. Weight: 307.
Projected 40 Time: 5.02.
Combine 40 Time: 5.12.
Benchx225: 27. Arm: 34 3/4.

Eben Britton, Arizona
Height: 6-6. Weight: 309.
Projected 40 Time: 5.05.
Combine 40 Time: 5.15.
Benchx225: 24. Arm: 32 3/4.

Also the bottom line on him is he has the frame to fill out. I see a guy with more lifts even though he has longer arms it tells me he's strong and has spent time working at getting better.

wmfights, I am gonna go ahead and say that is from Walter. By the way it's a very good place to get info on players.

Beatty is considered by many to be the most athletic OT in the class. He is very giften to be sure. But most also think he is a pure LT. It's not just about bench, how is his hand punch, does he explode out, how are his hips, how is his technique, does he have a strong lower body. I will tell you right now Britton has a stronger lower body than him. Another question on Beatty is his character. He was not a very motivated guy until this year. He may be a money guy. That all said I like them both and niether would bother me, and both are big upgrades. I think Britton would make a better RT and I don't think Beatty would be happy at that position. However I feel the Bears are probably going WR in round 1.

Tom no team not even the Bears would draft back to back safety projects. Angelo has already been to the safety dollar store twice and has moved in-house Bowman. I really believe the WR will be first the tackle second and the D-line in that order, with linebackers last to fill out special teams. And post draft the prices will go down and Torry Holt will come even cheaper. Sometimes you have to remember the Bears mentality, we will get a older WR soon just watch.

wmfights - I would like to be wrong about Beatty, but I dont' think I am. You're listing weights in college guides. At the combine or Sr. Bowl he came in about 290. And by all accounts he is a gifted, quick athlete but not a nasty run blocker and never will be. The book on him is that he's promising at left tackle due to his quickness but he needs 1-2 yrs to bulk up and is not a year one starter.

I'm not saying Beatty is bad; he could be one of the great left's in 3 yrs if he commits himself. But we need someone who can start yr one on the Right and he simply cannot.

Hey Crieghton, no way Smith falls out of the first round. Where do you get your information from? I guess its from your brain, I would pay less attention to that as possible.

um... first off we need Bey in the first round... dudes an animal. he had no QB in maryland and stil was a stand out, not to mention his 4.30 40 time that stunned everybody, have you seen the video?? looked like a 4flat, dudes so quick... need Bey in round 1 and Beaty in the 2nd... thats what we need to do.

Not to mention the fact our D is descent. Special teams obviously one of the best in the league... and if we have this fresh o-line, with bey and hester??? DB's will have no choice but to play em' soft.... how many times did hester scold the heck out of any DB in the league 40 yds downfield?? Orton is coming along, get bey and let these DB's play em soft so we can jam it down their throats with a new oline and Forte. Thats whats up. Bears will finally have a good offense if this is the case.

After yet another snooze fest in free agency.... we now seem to be heading for the lose fest part of the off season. Well i suspect that JA is looking hard for a trade partner to move down ( we see more value there ). So look for another raid on players from the southwest. Lovie and JA love everything Oklahoma. Heck i even seen them at Oklahoma the broadway show looking for someone with good hips and fast twitch !
Truth is it's a comfort zone thing when you draft or sign what or who you know. These guys believe they know the SW teams better so they gravitate there. The other thing we as a franchise love to do is grasp at local guys looking for that added turnstyle swing or 2 and a feel good story. Some things are just habitual so i suspect at the end of the day we'll all be saying the draft was just more of the same ...

Gabe,

I hate to break it to you, but the D is not decent and hasn't been since the Super Bowl two years ago. In fact, it was the D more than the O that lost games for us last season. Now with Harris unable to make it through even a walk through (that guy is looking like he is done), I wouldn't be upset if the Bears used their first pick on a DT. A push up the middle makes the ends better and the dbs better.

I still think DHB would be a poor draft choice as a WR for us at 18. He has size, he has speed, but he reminds me a lot of Berrian, who was very limited in his route tree, and took a few years to get acclimated to the pro game. And he (Berrian) still doesn't run crosses. We already have a limited route runner in Hester. He is improving, but we have to be able to get more than a project at the 18 pick.

Britton can step in and start on the right side from day 1, but now we have Shaffer. Right tackle problem solved for 2009. We still need some younger tackles for the future, and especially if Williams does not turn out to be the real deal. Loadholt is who I think Jerry has targeted, but I would be much happier with Beatty, Britton, or a later round pick than Loadholt. I like his size, and his mean streak, but don't like his feet.

The receivers in this draft that can have an immediate impact in the passing game as a #1 type wideout are : Crabtree and Maclin. Guys that could be a #2 right away, with the potential to be #1 or at least a reasonable attempt at a 1: Nicks, Britt, and Robiskie. DHB and Harvin to me are 3rd WRs, but DHB could be a #2 or possibly a #1 in a couple of years with some work on his route running and hand catching (seems like more balls get into his body on the game film than I would like). Harvin has the potential to be a 2, but I think he needs some really solid coaching to reach the possibility of a #1. This is just my opinion, and both DHB and Harvin have the potential to break a game wide open, but in different ways. Just not sure they can do it for 60 minutes every week as rookies. A guy who can beat the jam, split a double team, get out of his breaks in the right spot, and read a zone to get open will contribute sooner than a dynamic speed guy who can run by you.

If we look at DL, I am a big fan of Ziggy Hood as a nose tackle for us. Depending on whether Marinelli can get a Pro Bowl season out of Alex Brown remains to be seen (I am admittedly skeptical), and Ogunleye hasn't earned a paycheck in the years he has been here. Anderson and Idonije are nothing to write home about. Harrison has potential at the nose, and if Tommie is ever healthy again, he could be special. But none of the guys on that line inspire much confidence in any of us. There are hard workers, and blue collar guys, and injury risks, but no stars. At 18, we aren't getting a star, unless we draft Michael Johnson, who is the textbook definition of boom or bust. But Hood could be a solid player for the next 7-10 years. I don't think he slides to 49, but if we move back, he could be a solid pickup.

The problem with where we are is it is going to be tough to get an impact player at 18. We can get a starter, but will that guy be enough to change the face of the position he plays? Not sure. There are a lot of solid talents in this draft, but how many of them are stars in the making? Not a whole lot.

We have to hit on this pick, or at least come out of the first three rounds with 2 starters and a solid backup/special teamer. Anything less than that is a failure by Jerry and his scouting team to improve this team as much as is needed.

By Duane on March 30, 2009 8:02 AM
Hey Crieghton, no way Smith falls out of the first round. Where do you get your information from? I guess its from your brain, I would pay less attention to that as possible.

Any player cn fall out of the first round it happens to multiple guys every year. As for were i get my info, everyone is talking about Smith, it is a common subject, I guess you just have not been keeping up with the draft.

Now I believe Smith will fall because IMO he is not a NFL OT. I feel he will be a guard and he has a huge bust factor. But we will see if he falls out of the first round in the draft. Until then it's anyone's guess. Like i said it's just my opinion don't get your panties in a bunch.

I agree with you that he has fallen in the draft, but the top 10 to the end of the first round, no way to the 3rd round. I dont wear underwear.

Hey Brad. How come we haven't heard anything about David Bruton and Chicago? He's an excellent free safety we could nab in the second or third round. Could be an immediate starter and an upgrade over what we have on the roster now.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 29, 2009 11:45 AM.

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