Need No. 14--Tight end
Players on roster
TE Desmond Clark (signed through 2010)
TE Greg Olsen (2011)
TE Kellen Davis (2011)
TE Fontel Mines (2010)
After looking over the ranking list I submitted to the Sporting News, I'd probably move tight end up a slot or two if I had it to do over again. But it's certainly not an area of major concern. What the Bears could use is a more skilled in-line blocker for the run game. The loss of special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo in free agency a year ago was well chronicled but just as significant was the departure of John Gilmore. The offense didn't come up with a replacement for Gilmore and it showed at times in the running game. Matt Forte had a terrific rookie season and there's good reason for optimism moving forward with him. Let's remember the Bears ranked 24th in the league in rushing. Gilmore would not have pushed them into the top half of the league, but he might have helped in short yardage.
Forte gained 36 yards on 18 rushes when it was third-and-two or less. On fourth-and-two or less, he carried seven times for 12 yards. Davis never advanced as a blocker to get a crack in any situations other than jumbo sets. Olsen could be ready for a breakout season as a receiver but will never be a major asset in the running game. Clark has made himself into a solid blocker but is on the downside of his career. Mines is someone who has stuck around for two seasons but hasn't gotten much of a chance as the Bears have done a good job of staying healthy at what is considered the most injured position in the league. Given what could be a greater reliance on the pass with the addition of Jay Cutler, finding a blocking tight end might not rank real high in the Bears' draft room. One of the facts the Bears used in rationalizing Gilmore's exit when they chose not to up their offer was that there were times when he was only getting a handful of snaps a game.
Who the Bears have been looking at
The Bears put North Carolina's Richard Quinn through a private workout in Chapel Hill, N.C., and they brought in Iowa's Brandon Myers on an official visit to Halas Hall. Quinn would be an ideal fit as an eventual replacement to Clark. He's a physical blocker, is passionate about the game and has upside as a receiver in the passing game. Quinn barely got involved in the passing game in school but could improve with more opportunities. He might come off the board as early as the third or fourth rounds and that could be before the Bears want to pull the trigger for help at this position. Myers is either a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent. The Bears may also be interested in North Carolina State's Anthony Hill and Fresno State's Bear Pascoe would be an ideal fit and not just because of his first name.
Coming Tuesday: Running back.