Chicago Sun-Times

Building a case for drafting a wide receiver in the 1st round

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Bernard Berrian.jpg


The Bears' pursuit of Orlando Pace got us thinking more about the possibility they will draft a wide receiver in the first round. If the Bears sign Pace, it greatly reduces the chance that an offensive tackle is not a target in the early rounds in the draft.

A wide receiver might be the No. 1 target already. It is not difficult to build a case for the Bears needing to draft a wideout in the first round. Sure, it's easy to come up with some reasons for why the club will stay away from a receiver in Round 1. Most notable, of course, is the track record of general manager Jerry Angelo. You can't ignore that, It's not something he does and it may take a strong effort from the coaching and scouting staffs to talk him into it.

The last time Angelo drafted a receiver in the first round was 1997 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Reidel Anthony with the 16th pick. Anthony's numbers are not very different from those put up by David Terrell, the wideout selected in the first round (8th overall) by the Bears in 2001, less than two months before Angelo was hired. Let's look at Angelo's track record for drafting receivers by round. Cover your eyes if you have a weak stomach. This isn't a pretty list and you can make a strong argument Bernard Berrian is the best of the bunch although Mark Carrier, a third-round pick of the Bucs in 1987, had a nice career. Here we go:

1st round--Reidel Anthony (Bucs, 1997)

2nd round--Mark Bradley (Bears, 2005), Jacquez Green (Bucs, 1998), Courtney Hawkins (Bucs, 1992), Danny Peebles (Bucs, 1989)

3rd round--Earl Bennett (Bears, 2008), Bernard Berrian (Bears, 2004), Lamar Thomas (Bucs, 1993), Lawrence Dawsey (Bucs, 1991), Mark Carrier (Bucs, 1987)

4th round--Horace Copeland (Bucs, 1993), Bruce Hill (Bucs, 1987)

5th round--Airese Currie (Bears, 2005), Bobby Wade (Bears, 2003), Justin Gage (Bears, 2003),

6th round--Jamin Elliott (Bears, 2002), Nilo Silvan (Bucs, 1996)

7th round--Marcus Monk (Bears, 2008), Darnell McDonald (Bucs, 1999), Tyree Davis (Bucs, 1993)

11th round--Terry Anthony (Bucs, 1990), Frank Pillow (Bucs, 1988)


Keep in mind, while he was one voice in Tampa Bay, he wasn't the only voice as the director of player personnel. Of course, he has full control of the Bears' drafts.

The reasoning for taking a receiver in the first round is pretty strong. First, if the club professes to have the confidence in Kyle Orton it does, or if it wants to flirt with Jay Cutler, they're going to need someone to throw the ball to, right? Some others:

1. When Earl Bennett lined up with the starters earlier this month at minicamp, that signaled right there that using Rashied Davis as a starter in 2008 for 12 games was a mistake. Davis had been relegated to the second team and it was through no performance of Bennett. In the history of the NFL, there might not be another receiver who has gone from a 0 catch season to the starting lineup the next year, not without injury any way. Sure, the Bears need to actually find out what they have in Bennett this year by actually getting him on the field. But think he can be an effective starter might be every bit as much as an error as getting in the position they were in to rely on Davis as they did in 2008.

2. When talking about true ``No. 1'' receivers, Angelo has said to get one you usually have to use a high pick. Finding later round picks that blossom into top receivers, well, that involves luck.

3. In listening to Ron Turner talk at the end of the season, he admitted it's very difficult to move up and down the field without a consistent big play threat. Maybe that player is Devin Hester, but if it is, he needs a complement. When you are relying on your running back and tight ends as top targets in the passing game, no defense is going to be scared.

4. Hester himself is no guarantee at the position. The work-in-progress needs to take a major step forward this season. There is no backup plan in place.

5. Unlike last year, it's a good draft for wide receivers and the Bears might have their choice of a good one at No. 18.

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11 Comments

2. When talking about true ``No. 1'' receivers, Angelo has said to get one you usually have to use a high pick. Finding later round picks that blossom into top receivers, well, that involves luck.

See this tells you all about Angelo, he believes you need luck. Other teams like to use skill and evaluation in drafting. Or do the same teams just keep getting lucky over and over?

Creighton....huh?

drafting PERIOD takes luck...all the information at a teams disposal and still you have busts...workout warriors...etc etc

taking a 3rd rnd WR and below with the expectation they will turn into a legit #1 wr is silly...

sometimes you just get people who surprise you (colston, BRADY etc etc)

I have never seen a draft with so many good wide receivers. This year will produce some really good wide outs.

He's had more luck in the fifth round than in rounds one and two combined!!!!

With that history, if Jerry Angelo pulls the trigger on a first round wide receiver no one can ever again question his cajones. Brains, competence, money, and many other things will be still open for discussion, but not brass.

I hope to eat these words, but my opinion is he won't be able to do it. Maybe round 2, but if they get Pace it's gonna be defense in round 1. The only way I back off from that is if some draft day special happens and a top 5 guy like Crabtree does a freefall to 18.

The good news is he may get a good guy in the second round this year.

Two words for ya: PERCY HARVIN

HARVIN AND HESTER

Think that might stretch a defense a little??

I agree with MSBearsFan a top WR like Maclin or Crabtree dropping might do the trick at #18 but 2nd or even 3rd round seems the likely scenario for a WR pick. The list of past Angelo WR picks certainly shows Angelo is far from adept at picking a good one.

The Bears may not have a pick at #18 if they trade it to the Donks.

Let's take a look at wide receiver BUSTS drafted in Round 1 since '01 and up to '06 (they say it takes receivers 3 years to develop, so I've omitted the 07 and 08 drafts.

01: David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Rod Gardner, Freddie Mitchell. The other 1st rounders were Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne.

WR's picked after round 1 in 01: Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, Steve Smith, TJ Houshmandzadeh.

02: Donte' Stallworth, Ashley Lelie, Javon Walker

WR's picked after round 1 in 02: Jabbar Gaffney, Antwaan Randle-El, Antonio Bryant (had a career year last year), Deion Branch (was spectacular before injuries de-railed him).

03: Charles Rogers, Bryant Johnson.
The other 1st rounder was Andre Johnson and he was at the top.

WR's picked after round 1 in 03: Anquan Boldin, Kevin Curtis.

04: Michael Clayton, Michael Jenkins, Rashaun Woods.
Others in the 1st: Larry Fitzgerald, Roy Williams, Lee Evans, all at or near the top.

WR's picked after round 1 in 04: Devery Henderson, Bernard Berrian, Jerricho Cotchery, Patrick Crayton

05: Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Matt Jones, Michael Clayton (not necessarily a bust, but certainly not a #1).
Others in the 1st: Braylon Edwards, Roddy White

WR's picked after round 1 in 05: Pretty bad year for WR's; Vincent Jackson of the Chargers was the only one worth a poo.

06: Santonio Holmes was the only 1st rounder

WR's picked after round 1 in 06: Greg Jennings, Jason Avant (had a great year for the Cardinals), Brandon Marshall, Domenic Hixon (will most likely start for the Giants), and Marques Colston.

If I'm JA, I stay AWAY from WR in the 1st and look in the 2nd, 3rd, or maybe 4th rounds. Just my opinion...

Jerry needs to prove he understands what is necesary to be a successful NFL WR. In the Bears offense, receivers have a few different molds they can fit: The big bodied possession guy, the polished route runner with quickness, and the deep threat.

Hester is really only a deep threat right now, and gets open underneath by selling the deep route. We need someone who is like Torry Holt or Marvin Harrison on the other side, where they may not be the fastest guy out there, but they sell the fakes, run precise routes, and are always where they should be when the ball is delivered. They get deep by fooling the defender, and are fast enough to maintain the separation.

The deep threat guy is a one trick pony, and will take time to develop into a well rounded receiver. Bernard Berrian was that type of player when he got here. DHB seems like that kind of player. We need a guy who can get off the ball, beat the jam, and run something other than a quick slant, an 8 yard stop, and a fly/fade pattern.

The routes we need in this offense are: The skinny post, the deep comeback (15-20 yards), the intermediate crossing routes, and the deep square in. Add in the routes we ran on the 3 step drops, and we all of a sudden have a pretty diverse passing game

Justin,

This is in no way meant to be a personal attck, but while you make a small point, Creighton's is MUCH STRONGER.

I don't believe in luck, but to make a point . . .

Luck, good or bad, does not land you with a guy in the first round (on the strength of one college game) with tiny hands, a penchant for putting the ball on the carpet and a fondness for marijuana. Ahh Rashaan, where have you gone.

Nor does luck, have you draft a RB at #5 who the greatest college coach of all time called the biggest con artist he ever met.

Luck, good or bad, does not have you draft a RB at #4 with a bad attitude and more miles than than my '73 Nova had back in the day.

Luck, good or bad, does not have you draft a QB at #12 who can't throw the deep out and who cheats handicapped people out of parking spots.

Luck, good or bad, does not have you draft a small school LB in the first round and try to start him at DE.

Luck, good or bad, does not have you draft an OT at #14 with a bum back.

Do I need to bring up second round picks with gun collections, or a WR who didn't even start at his position in college despite the fact that the team featured four of them at a time? How about DBs or DEs from smaller programs who couldn't get it done?


The point is, Creighton is SPOT ON. I realize not all of the players mentioned/alluded to above were picked by JA, but the previous administration was even WORSE. The fact is, it's about evaluation and analysis, something we haven't had here since the mid to late '80s. I do agree that even with doing your homework there is no guarantee, but it's next to a sure thing that if you draft a kid with attitude problems in college and then throw a ton of money at him, it will make matters worse. Also, picking injured guys with potential seems to be a recipe for 7-9 to 9-7.

Jay Cutler is a Bear, this is so awsome. Angelo just got a clean slate from me. Lovie still sucks.

Sorry Creighton, I have to disagree.

3 picks and our QB for poistion that wasn't as high of a need as other areas was just not a good move.

I think JA was bullied into this for some good PR. This was way overpaying!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2009 1:37 PM.

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