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)
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.