Chicago Sun-Times

Bears draft preview: Need No. 1 Wide receiver

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Need No. 1--WIde receiver

Players on roster

WR Devin Hester (signed through 20013)
WR Earl Bennett (2011)
WR Rashied Davis (2010)
WR Brandon Rideau (2009)
WR John Broussard (2010)
WR Devin Aromashodu (2010)

Need

Let's see if we can get this straight. Prior to the trade for quarterback Jay Cutler just more than three weeks ago, general manager Jerry Angelo said the Bears had talked themselves into drafting a wide receiver in the first round with the 18th overall selection. Angelo thought there was a good chance the Bears could land a "blue'' receiver in that spot, meaning a guy who has a chance to be an elite performer. The Bears needed to upgrade their receiver corps and Angelo was willing to take the plunge after drafting only one wideout in the first round in the combined tenures of his time with the Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kyle Orton needed the help and it was on the way. OK. What exactly has changed?

Well, Angelo is no longer armed with a first-round pick. Orton is no longer the quarterback in need of wide receivers now that he's in Denver with Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. Now, Angelo has Cutler and that right there might make it more important to improve the receivers considering there could be a subtle shift toward the passing game in the playbook. While offensive coordinator Ron Turner said earlier this week that Hester was looked "spectacular'' in the voluntary offseason program, most believe it's a stretch to think he'll develop into a true No. 1 receiver. Across from him, the Bears are propping up Bennett as a legitimate starting option when his next NFL reception will be his first. Perhaps management and the coaching staff alike have acknowledged that Davis was miscast last season as a starter on the outside when he belongs in the slot. They didn't do him or the offense as a whole any favors playing him out of position. The real issue here is if Bennett doesn't work out the Bears are in serious trouble. When you chart the development of another former Bears' third-round pick at wide receiver, Bernard Berrian didn't take off until his third season. Can the Bears place all of their hope on Bennett without getting a mature, as-NFL-ready-as-possible receiver as soon as possible in this draft? Angelo and college scouting director Greg Gabriel can talk circles around you about the value of the pick and not reaching and players at other positions having substantially better grades. Great. What about Bennett? What about Davis? What about last season is so hard to remember? You can construct a compelling case at another of other positions. We're tried to do that right here when discussing free safety, offensive tackle, defensive and and you can even make a good argument about defensive tackle. But a final analysis is going to lead you one place, right back to wide receiver. One other thing--the Bears need to take a better look at Rideau and Broussard this summer. Rideau was the garbage time star of preseason a year ago and Broussard has added almost 15 pounds and made several impressive plays in minicamp.

Who the Bears have been looking at

The Bears hit the road to do work on the guys they were considering in the first round--North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks and Rutgers' Kenny Britt--and then started looking elsewhere. There is still a chance one of these guys could fall, but seeing them fall all of the way to No. 49 would be a real surprise. There will be a frenzied run on receivers. Whether it gets going in earnest at the end of the first round or beginning of the second round remains to be seen. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake started April with visits to put Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias and Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi through private workouts. The Bears also got together with Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Ole Miss' Mike Wallace. Robiskie and Massaquoi would both be appealing at No. 49 and don't rule out Iglesias. Chances are the Bears will use two of their eight picks on receivers. The team is known to have brought in at least three wideouts on official visits--Louisiana-Lafayette's Jason Chery, Kent State's Julian Edelman and Pitt's Derek Kinder. Edelman was also put through a private workout and is a possible wildcat quarterback. Kinder is the most interesting in terms of being a prospect. He projects possibly like a Berrian type. Here is the latest updated list we have on the private workouts and official visits the Bears had the last six weeks or so.

Coming this afternoon: The NFL draft.

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14 Comments

I am not convinced that the Bears need another wide receiver. The ones they have never really got a chance because Orton was slow in both reads and releases. That drops by receivers like Davis certainly contributed to the poor passing output is true, but still the quarterback's performance was key. With Cutler's accuracy, stromg arm, quick reads, quick release, and mobility, I look for the passing game to be a powerhouse this year. I also would predict that Forte will have a hard time gaining as many running yards because the offense will not have to rely so heavily on him. He will probably also gain a lot more yards as a receiver. I would still like a pass rusher or another hole-opening offensive lineman as the first pick.

This is need #1, no questions asked. Chicago needs a big physical receiver to line up opposite Devin Hester. I see no reason Hester won't improve this season especially with Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. Hester caught 51 balls last season, not bad for a guy who has only played the position for two seasons. But still, Chicago needs a split end, Cutler's strong arm isn't gonna turn any of the Bears current receivers into one.

I like Earl Bennett, but he's more of a flanker or slot receiver. The fact Bennett had to learn all three positions probably had something to do with his problems learning the playbook. Chicago should have kept him at one position, probably the slot for his rookie season. The fact he came out and admitted he had a problem learning the playbook shows he should be alright for this season. If he was still having problems I can guarantee he wouldn't have said anything about his problems learning the playbook. Bennett will be alright.

Today, draft wise, Chicago has gotta go with Ohio States Brian Robiskie if he falls to #49. Its unlikely, but stranger things have happened, remember back in 2007, no one thought Greg Olsen would slip to the Bears either, so who knows? I think in the end its gonna end up being Mohamed Massaquoi of Georgia. Scouts are big on his ability to run routes and his character. Massaquoi would be a great complement for Devin Hester, and this would also allow the Bears to move Earl Bennett to the slot position, giving Chicago three young legit receivers. Another reason I like Massaquoi is his smarts, he won several academic awards at Georgia. Scouts say he should have no problem learning an NFL playbook, this is key, especially for a team like the Bears that needs a rookie like Massaquoi to come in early and contribute. Its gonna be interesting, can't wait to find out who the new Bear is gonna be GO ANGELO!! GO BEARS!!

The Bears need to grab 2 receivers, through the draft or via trade. Then Hester needs to go back to being a return man.

I agree with KA, priority #1 WR. With the 49th pick it will be Massaquoi (character counts) assuming Robiskie is gone. Go Bears!

I can't wait for this afternoon. It is just like Christmas morning when I was a kid. You're still excited, even though you've opened up your gift (Cutler) three weeks earlier without your parents knowing that you've opened your gift, marveled at it and wrapped it back up so they don't know.

I just hope we get a player that can contribute right away at any position on the roster. Other teams can do it (i.e. Philly w/ DeSean Jackson and Denver w/ Eddie Royal in round 2, or multiple teams that have gotten good rookie starting O-linemen in the second round).

Brad wrote: "What exactly has changed?"

Jerry Angelo believes that the QB makes the WR's. So the WR's will be able to perform differently with Cutler. You don't know what you have until you give the WR's a chance with Cutler.

Which is why building an "Elite O-line" is the most important thing in this draft. To get the most out of Cutler he must have as much time to throw as possible and that's going to effect your WR's as coverage breaks down.

Dennis Green, coach of the Arizona Cardinals,when looking for a QB, said of Kurt Warner that they saw that if he had time to throw he was still a great QB. So they got him and went to the Superbowl.

When Brett Favre went to the Jets, they were doing great until Favre got hurt. He threw six TD's in one game. And because they had Favre, combined with an upgraded O-line, it allowed Thomas Jones to have a great year. And Favre barely had time to learn the playbook and get familiar with his team mates because he was brought in so late.

The point is, Favre changed the team and they were winning big time until he got hurt. An "Elite QB" had gone to the Jets. That's what changed the Jets. And that's what has changed in Chicago.

Cutler is going to make the WR's better and an "Elite O-line" will make Cutler better, which in turn makes your WR's even better yet again.

Which is why we need to get C/OG Alex Mack (one person called him the best Center to come out of the draft in 25 years!), OT Andre Smith (Nick Sabin, his coach, just said yesterday nothing is wrong with Smith, he's a great player), and OG Duke Robinson.

Cutler with an "Elite O-line" makes the WHOLE TEAM better. Can one WR do that? Or one FS? No.

Mack, Smith, Robinson. DYNASTY!

Do it Jerry Angelo. Do the right thing. Do what it takes. Get these players!

GO BEARS!

Let's go back to a time in the early part of this Millenium where a QB drafted from the late rounds emerged and became a Star with a cast of mediocre WR's.

Only proving, a Great QB can make your WR's Better.

Cutler will make this Group of WR's better.

With that being said.

Devin Hester will finally emerge this season with a QB that can get him the ball.

Matt Forte will become even more spectacular than he was last season. The offense is in a great position to be very good.

Kyle Orton's Lack of mobility and Noodle Arm limited plays down the field. He couldn't Strecth the Defense.

The Offense will be better, regardless if they do not draft a WR and I don't think they will.

Just when everyone thought they would draft a QB. They didn't....
I do not see them getting a WR. The Defense was in the Bottom portion of the League in Yards allowed. They will go Defense with this 2nd Round Pick. I would like to see a move up for Laurinaitis but no Ammo to make such a move.

All right guys,
We all know we all would like to see a Britt, Nicks or Robiske fall to the Bears 49th pick but lets be realistic this probably will not happen. So then let’s talk who in the next tier and should be the next receiver for the Bears. I for one do not want to see Massaquoi in a Bears uniform, he catches way too much with his body and not his hands, I watched him play this year and looked at tapes also and he continually catches with his body. Here are the receivers I do like in the later rounds:

Dudley Guise, Northwestern State - 6’3, 209 lbs runs a 4.39 forty, 39” vertical leap, long arms 34” for an impressive catch radius. Despite his size he has excellent body control, hip sink and footwork to gain separation from DB’s. This years Marquise Colston.

Jamarko Simmons, Western Michigan - 6-2 Weight: 231lbs. 4.5 forty. After breaking Greg Jennings' school records for catches in a season and in a career, after decimating the defensive backfields of Illinois (mainly Vontae Davis), West Virginia, Missouri, Florida State and others, Jamarko can flat out play.

Jarrett Dillard, Rice – 5’10, 195 lbs. 42 inch vertical leap. Jarett holds the college TD record (60) his route running is refined and he is quick out of his breaks making DB’s overplay the deep pass. He is very similar if not better in my opinion to Eddie Royal the Broncos 47th selection last year and Cutlers go to guy.

The Bears need to draft at least 2 receivers this draft I believe these guys can be had in the later rounds and contributing immediately. At the same time this will give the Bears a shot at picking up a Free Safety, like the player I talked about a week ago say a Jairus Byrd ( I know Creighton he played corner although it seems many scouts and experts feel the same way as I, that Byrd can transition nicely). Once again he is a ball hawk 19 INT’s and can tackle 200 at Oregon. I like him more than Johnson. And Joe I like the fact that his father is our secondary coach, the other players should not be threatened that a son of the coach is going to get special treatment, at this level it is all about talent and Jairus has that and more and would be a great Free Safety for the Bears.

So guys let me know how you feel about my suggestions, looking forward to it and especially the draft. I enjoy the business side of football more than the games today.

By the way Brads blog Inside The Bears has brought many of you guys together I am surprised none of you are having a DRAFT PARTY, this would have been a perfect time to let Creighton wear his pink. Well guys I have enjoyed reading your blogs the last few months, you guys know the game extremely well and I have learned a lot from guys like Creighton, Joe, Smooth and Armstead. Thanks guys and enjoy the draft.

By Protect the QB on April 25, 2009 10:51 AM
"Which is why we need to get C/OG Alex Mack (one person called him the best Center to come out of the draft in 25 years!), OT Andre Smith (Nick Sabin, his coach, just said yesterday nothing is wrong with Smith, he's a great player), and OG Duke Robinson."

Everyday it's the same thing, you come on here and you say the Bears should take these three guys. Maybe you don't know how the draft works or your just a little slow. Everyone has asked you how the Bears would be able to draft the 3 first round picks you keep listing.

Now I give Angelo a hard time, but even I do not excpect the man to convert 1 second round pick into 3 first round picks. That is insane. Everyday you keep posting the same thing and you keep excpecting things to change. Even though what you are proposing is impossible.

Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Kevin A glad to finally see you figured out were Bennett belongs.

Kieth maybe he can be a good FS, but if the Bears are looking to get bigger in the secondary, like they say they are he would probably be looked at as being a little short.

Here is hoping for a good draft people. It should be interesting to see if the Bears trade down, Brad reported the Bears are shopping the pick. You don't get Blue Chip prospects by trading down all the time.

I agree with Protect the QB. Tom Brady doens't need number 1 WRs, sure Moss is, but Brady has won SuperBowls by making average WRs better.

I have said it all along, a good QB will make WRs look better because they can get them the ball. Orton had problems doing that last year. Watch Hester have close to an All-Pro year this season, as well as Olsen. I like Bennett and think can step up and he caught no less than 75 balls every year at Vanderbilt. He has great hands and that will show this year. Remember a third round WR we took in the 2004 draft (Berrian), he didn't break out until 2006, his 3rd year. I think Bennett has a break out year this year.

I don't want to use the 2nd round pick on a WR, I want an interior offensive lineman or a defensive player. Yes, that's right, I would use it on a guard or that center "Mack". I want to build the best O-line for Cutler. Give Cutler time, he will find an open WR that CAN catch like Hester, Olsen, Clark (best hands on the team), Bennett and even Kellen Davis.

Is anyone going to tell me that none of these guys can catch? Come on, this is why I laugh when I hear the Bears don't have anyone to catch a pass from Cutler.

To say that Rashid Davis was, "miscast last season as a starter on the outside when he belongs in the slot" is total BS. i can count three specific drops he made from the slot where if he hung on to the ball, the chains would have moved and the bears would have come away with a win (see Q4 Carolina, Tampa, and Minnesota). Each time, above adequate throws were made by Orton. The Davis experiment should be over. Give Rideau that chance. Even though he played mainly against 3rd stringers in the pre-season, he at least hung onto the ball when it hit him in the hands. I would really love Robiskie to fall to the Bears. He's the league's next Hines Ward.

Kieth almost forgot, Jamarko Simmons, nice call I would so throw a 5th rounder at him, he is a young Brandon Marshall, he also has some of Marshall's pboblems.

I am not sure how many people have seen this but it is a short 4 part series on how the Bears draft. There is a lot of time till the Bears pick if anyone one wants to check it out. It is about 20 min.

The two interesting parts are at one point Angelo and Turner are talking about a WR who drops a lot of passes and reminds Angelo of Moose. Angelo seems sold on him and Turner is a little less sold on him. The other part i found interesting is they mention is that at one point they are mentioning a good place to take DT's.

Anyway here is the link.
http://www.chicagobears.com/2009draftcoverage.asp

hey da bears are awsome i need to know who the #1 draftpick of 2009 is.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 25, 2009 8:58 AM.

Four Down Territory, April 24: Price finally right for Boldin? was the previous entry in this blog.

Montana offensive lineman Colin Dow was brought in for visit is the next entry in this blog.

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