Chicago Sun-Times

Bears draft preview: Need No. 14 Tight end

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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)

Need

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.

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10 Comments

I think tight end is rightly placed near the bottom of the Bears "needs" list. Not that the position isn't important, more to the fact they have two very good players now and have bigger holes to fill.

I wouldn't be upset if the Bears took Duke Robinson-guard from Oklahoma witht he 49th pick. He's a road grader and with the addition of Jay Cutler the Bears could really open up their running game with Robinson and the other changes they've made on the O-line.
With Robinson their wouldn't be anymore goal line embarrassments like last year. I don't know if the players mentioned in mock drafts, mostly wide receivers, would have the impact for the Bears that Robinson would have. He's potentially a ten year starter for the team. Most wide receivers don't contribute much their first two years in the NFL where Robinson would be a big upgrade and would be an impact player right away.

Not even Gilmore could have helped last season. The line as it stood was fair in passing situations but VERY spotty on running plays. They should have had plenty of practice as they saw 8 man fronts regularly, but they weren't. Garza and Tait moved no one.

The need at tight end is what it was last year. We need more beef on the line. Gilmore was highly under-rated as a run blocker, and was a decent receiver. Kellen Davis does not show the same ability to block at the same size, but does have more upside as a receiver.

Dez Clark is a solid all around tight end. He blocks adequately, and is a good receiver. But I don't like him as a fit for this offense. Olsen is by far the better receiver, and Clark's ability as a blocker is not as big of a determiner as some tend to think. I would like to see them use Clark as a trade package to move up a little bit in the second round. Maybe Buffalo would take Clark and the 49 to give up the 42 and 110 picks. They need a tight end, and apparently they are a willing partner to trade with Jerry anytime he wants.

We can get a blocking tight end in round 5,6, or 7. We need receiving options, and we may not get a shot at the one we want unless we get ahead of the Giants and Fins at 44 and 45. Clark only has one year left, and he will not be resigned after that, so let's get something of value for him now.

Well said Ryan (from a previous blog). Ever thought of working for the Sun Times?

I agree with most everything you said, except I think the Bears are going to win 12 games. I don't think you mentioned how much of an impact Cutler is going to have on the running game. I see Forte rushing for 1500 this year now that they can't stack the box. An improved running game is going to help the D-line stay fresh and explosive. Look for a better effort from them now that they don't have to watch the offense go three and out for what seemed like games at a time last year.

Bear fans. You heard it here first, Urlacher goes back to the Pro Bowl this year. He's going to step up his game this year to match Cutler's. I'm working two jobs this summer to get NFL Sunday ticket this year. I can't wait for August!

Go Bears!

NM,
I don't know that the reason is that Cutler is on board for Urlacher stepping up his game. I think a bigger reason is that he is not recovering from a back/neck surgery in the offseason, which sets back his freakish offseason workout schedule. He trains as hard as anyone I have seen on the Bears in quite some time. High altitude offseason workouts, speed work, strength work have all contributed to him maintaining his speed as his size has gone from 244 lbs in his early career to nearly 260 lbs now.

I expect much better out of Brian early in the season this year. He really started looking like himself down the last 5-6 weeks last year. If he starts the season strong, we should have a better overall performance from the defense, as they feed off him. Briggs will play better, the secondary plays better, and that drives better performance out of the front 4.

If the defense ends up in the 10-15 range as far as league ranking overall, we have a legitimate shot to go deep into the playoffs. Cutler helps the running game, and the running game helps Cutler. As long as the O-Line holds up, we should be able to improve our time of possession by at least 5 minutes per game, which is a world of difference to the defense. 5 less minutes of wearing down per game, and 5 more minutes of wearing down for the opposing defense.

I would rather use a right tackle with some college TE experience.
He'd have reasonably soft hands & OK straight-line speed.
He'd be of potentially multiple utility:


  • blocking TE w. occasional reception to keep defense honest

  • reserve tackle

  • tackle eligible threat

  • special teams coverage cannonball

Hey Creighton, my bad I thought you'd pick it up the link would allow you to go back to 67 and see historical BEAR draft picks, and believe me man there were some terrible drafts back in the day, I left off on 83' was trying to determine for myself which ones I liked, I would go 83' 81, 75' and 66' which is not on the list but the year I believe we got both Butkus and Sayers, enough said on that draft.

Yes a blocking TE would help, but is not a big priority you can also pick one up on waiver wire as we get close to the season, simliar to what Miami did last year when they got Polite as a FB when we had to cut him on the last cut. We have too many other needs to look at to waste a pick here, as Brad is showing in his breakout, the conversation should really get hot as we get close to end of the week.

Brad Biggs correctly points out that blocking is an important part of what tight ends are supposed to do, and Olson is not a good blocker. Kellen Davis looks like he could be great IF he can learn to block, which at his size should just be a matter of putting his mind to it. The missed block by Davis near the end of the game likely caused the Carolina loss.

However, with Olson and Clark tight end is not at all a need right now. The Bears have far too many real needs to worry about Clark's eventual retirement. If they don't have a tight end beside Clark who can block in short yardage, they can use a reserve lineman. If they have one who is athletic enough, they can even throw a pass to him once in awhile in order to keep defenses honest.

Joe:

Great point about getting some value out of Desmond Clarke if the Bears can? Moving up in the 2nd round would be ideal but is Desmond really worth a 2nd rounder or would a move up in the 3rd be more likely and another later pick?

I also agree that Urlacher will have a better year this year, although I have been suggesting in prior posts that Urlacher would bring good value in a trade maybe even a number 1 pick where the Bears could pick their next middle linebacker of the future as Urlacher most likely won't be around for to much longer.

However in thinking things through maybe Urlacher will have a probowl year this year and bring a number 1 pick next year that would replace the one the Bears lost with the Cutler trade?

I would expect with all of the BEars needs in the draft a blocking tight end may be a 7 round or FA pick up after the draft, too many other needs.

It's a classic WCO which means you don't need a blocking TE. What they needed was a better Oline. TE's in the WCO are there to catch the ball not block. You need a very good Oline in WCO, and it should be Pass protection oriented. A guy who comes into block for 3 or 4 downs a game is not that important and really just taking up a roster spot. If you have a great oline you don't need to worry about the blocking TE.

Chi don't worry about I figured you were talking about a different draft or you had been drinking, heavily. I saw an opening to mess with you and I took it. It's just my nature.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 13, 2009 7:35 AM.

Bears draft preview: Need No. 15 Quarterback was the previous entry in this blog.

Dollars and sense: The Orlando Pace contract is the next entry in this blog.

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