Chicago Sun-Times

Rush for an end? Bears check out Georgia Tech pro day

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Lovie Smith
has said it time and time again. Jerry Angelo has repeated it for years.

You can't have too many defensive linemen.

Perhaps to that end, the Bears were represented today at Georgia Tech's pro day. The Yellow Jackets have defensive end Michael Johnson, one of the better prospects in the draft. Johnson has a rare combination of size at 6-7, 266 pounds, and athletic ability. He was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.68 seconds at the combine. He's got the long arms and quickness to come off the edge and create instant problems for the offense.

Some have questioned his consistency, or rather his lack of it. That's something he's going to have to answer with NFL teams. There was a pretty good pass rusher at Florida in 2002 who had similar questions. Alex Brown turned out pretty good for the Bears and, if anything, he's been a model of consistency. Johnson isn't expected to last until the fourth round like Brown did.

But recall what Angelo said about finding an elite pass rusher with the 18th pick in the draft--if the player is still on the board at 18, he might have some traits you love, but he's not elite. There are some holes there.

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What Lovie and Jerry mean is you can't have to many DT's, which seems to fit there philosophy more, as the Bears only had 3 DE's last year on the starting roster. Johnson has almost all the tools, this is probably a guy that Rod Marinelli could work with, lots of talent but needs to be motivated, much like Sapp did early in his career. His 40 time was slower than I thought it would be but he put on a about 10 pounds of post season weight beforethe combine.

He is real athletic but does not have a lot of moves. Needs to be tought how to be a DE, rather than just getting buy on his natural ability. 18 is actually considered high for him but I have an idea that he will be gone to Either WAS who I think will trade with CAR for Peppers and take him or HOU may grab him as he is there type of player and they need Dline help big time, at the latest I would say ARZ in round one.

I still think Kevin was onto something when he mentioned Peria Jerry to the Bears at 18, he could play NT for the Bears or Under if Harris goes down again. He will give you a Pass rush as well and help take pressure off Harris and Brown. I don't think the Bears will do it, but it wouldn't be a bad pick, Johnson is a bit more of a risk but the Bears have the right type of line coach for him.

I would consider DE a secondary need. It is important, but maybe not quite as urgent a need as a RT, a WR and a FS. If Angelo wants to be able to take a chance on someone like Johnson, I tihnk he needs to start singing starter-worthy players at RT/WR/FS prior to the draft.

I think Khalif Barnes and Torry Holt would be a nice combo that would allow us to wait a couple years before signing a starter-caliber OT, and Holt would be a good 2 year move to solidify the WR position and teach Hester and Bennet the art of route-running/film study.

I think Michael Johnson is kind of a luxury pick. There are enough questions about him that you probably wouldn't want to take him in round 1 if your team was full of holes, but you could potentially take a chance on him late first/early second if your team was relatively complete.

If the BEARS would sign another FA offensive lineman, then they could grab a good DE with the 18th pick

Johnson seems to be an intriguing player. Speed, height, length, and some beef. I don't know if he will be a 2nd rounder but I'm sure he is a solid 3rd rounder. The one thing that I see is he will more then likely go to a 3-4 D scheme. He is fast enough to have make up range and he looks good with his hand down. That's it

They are looking at the line on both sides of the ball too take the best player available at 18. he could develop much like Peppers did coming out of N.C., most did not think he had the make-up to be a great end,but he has panned out, if we don't go D-line in round 1, that means the BEARS are hoping the Evander "ziggy" Hood drops to them in round 3, if we go Johnson in round 1 then they try to get Delmas in round 2, and Meridith S. Carolina in 3....Loadholt is still a possible number 2 if Delmas is gone.....Delmas brings some wood with him and might get picked higher in the draft because of it, especially now that Philly has lost Dawkins, both them and us need a safety who came come right in and play...Delmas looks to be the beneficiary here.....I also see that Kenny Britt is rising on the draft boards, another player I had hoped to get in round 2 or 3...maybe we can get an extra pick by trading Vasher, I know a lot of you like him, but I think we are alright at corner Graham, Tillman, and Bowman (McBride still around also), and could bring in a vet FA to replace him, while getting younger and a player of need with the pick Vasher could bring.....

Saw his last 2 games..The young man is a FREAK!! Awesome player..would love to have him. Just don't think he's priority at the moment. FA could've changed that, but signing a guard, when we needed OT...(slap to the head)!!

I'd like to see us sign Torry Holt and spend the first 3 picks on O-Line. There is no more pressing need on the Bears. You could argue FS but if we don't protect Kyle Orton well then we're going to see him revert to how he was playing late last season: terribly. There are no elite prospects at FS this season. Sign Holt, Draft O-line, and try to grab a FS in the 4th round.

Dont you guys realize that we signed the best free agent out there. Rod Marinelli....he was 0-16 last year. The bears are trying to build Chicago Bay. Draft a d end like Simeon Rice, and we already have a d tackle like Warren Sapp....more like Tree sapp. Now we just need a Jon Lynch, Deric Brooks, Ronde Barber....uuuggghhhh

Take either Khalif Barnes or Torry Holt. One or the other at least, both if possible. At 18 in round one take the best available...FS, WR or OL. In round two, take the best available at whichever of the three positions is not addressed in round one (FS, WR, OL). In round three take the best available at whatever position not addressed in rounds one and two (FS, WR, or OL). Do this twice in round three because of the compensatory pick. In round 4 go OL or WR available. Trade the rest of the picks to move up a round. Finish off the DL next year...hope the contract year players pick it up. In round 2-4 go DL only if serious talent falls.

I know everybody wants the Bears to get younger, so do I however, don't you think its worthwhile to pick up Orlando Pace at a discounted rate? Take advantage of his last few NFL steps while birthing a young and inexperienced line over the next two draft years, giving Forte a chance and Kyle some time? I mean age injuries and all.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment on Johnson. He is a one-trick pony as far as pass rushing. He outguns the guy he lines up against on most downs, and he won't be able to do that in the NFL. Many compare him to Mario Williams and Julius Peppers, but the only thing they have in common is raw athleticism. Williams was more of a late bloomer in college, and Johnson could be a guy that just needs the right coach to get that talent translated to freakish performance. I also think he will get taken earlier than he should based on potential ahead of other players that are more polished and can be as effective. Can you imagine him on the left side opposite Mario Williams in Houston? wow....

His type of talent and quickness is pretty well suited to the Bears system, as they want an upfield end from either side, but he will run around the run plays every time until he gets some recognition skills and some pass rush moves. He could be a 15 sack guy with the right coaching like Mario Williams has become, or he could be a 2 sacks over 2 years guy like Jamaal Anderson in Atlanta drafted a couple of years ago.

There are an awful lot of high talent, risk/reward cases this year. Maybe there are every year, but I can't recall a draft where this many top guys were this uncertain. Should make for an interesting comparison of different teams' draft boards.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 9, 2009 3:43 PM.

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