Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, April 20: Could the Bears trade up in Rd. 2?

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Welcome to draft week.

We have five days until one of the more exciting weekends on the NFL calendar. Check back with us often this week as we will be updating with information related to the Bears' situation as we come across it. General manager Jerry Angelo, college scouting director Greg Gabriel and coach Lovie Smith will speak Tuesday at a pre-draft session at Halas Hall. The smoke screens are already forming.

We will have a Four Down Territory each day through Friday, so get your draft-related questions in now and make sure you stay with us all week, including Saturday and Sunday from Halas Hall where we'll be filing continuous updates. Let's get to it:

Q: I've seen plenty of stories from all over that seem to indicate some of the top wide receivers could be falling into the second round. If so, why wouldn't the Bears trade up to give themselves a better chance to grab a player who could make a difference for Jay Cutler this season? I know rookie wide receivers are not always the most productive, and they are not the safest picks, but I'm with you. Are the Bears that sure Earl Bennett is a future star?

Sean B., Chicago

A: That is a good question and one we've covered a little bit before. The first point that needs to be made is that Angelo's history is to trade down in the draft. In seven years, he's traded up just once and that was to acquire wide receiver Justin Gage in the fifth round in 2003. Angelo has traded down a number of times, most notably in 2003 when he dealt out of the No. 4 overall pick and in 2006 when he traded the No. 26 overall selection to move out of the first round all together. History would say the chances are not good, but then again history would have told us the chances for Angelo getting in the running for Jay Cutler were not good either. That's changed and now the Bears need to do something to get some wide receivers to go with Cutler.

Now, NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock said last week that you can throw the traditional draft value chart away. He calls is obsolete.

``Every team in the top 10 is looking to trade out,'' Mayock said. ``Never seen it, never seen the situation quite this heavy. And the theory is, everybody knows we're upside-down right now with this draft. The rookies are getting paid way too much money proportionate to their value. So, teams are scared to death of missing (in) the top-10.


``Here's what happening, though, that I think is really interesting, and I'm anxious to see if this trend plays out. That whole trade chart that all the teams used to use, it began to go out the window last year, and I think, like the economy, it's completely out the window now. So, I think any team in the top 10 that is looking to get out will listen to any reasonable offer, and more than ever, teams are looking to get down (to picks) 15 to 25, because you can get the same kind of player at (No.) 20 as you can at (No.) 7, and you pay one-third the money.''

That's all well and good but I don't think it applies to the Bears in this instance. They're not involved in the first round and there still has to be a way for teams to evaluate the trade of draft picks. So, for the sake of this exercise let's turn to the draft value chart on Ourlads.com.

Here is what the Bears have in the way of picks to use in trade (compensatory draft picks cannot be traded):

Round-Number-Overall Pick Points

2-17-49 410 points
3-35-99 NA
4-19-119 56
5-4-140 36
5-18-154 29.8
6-17-190 15.4
7-37-246 NA
7-42-251 NA

That means of the five picks the Bears have that can be traded, the total value is 547.2. So, let's say the Bears want to move their way up to No. 34 and get the second pick of the round from the New England Patriots, who currently own three picks in the second round. Why New England would want to trade down with that many picks in the round, well, I doubt it would happen. But let's just use them for this exercise. After all, as Peter King points out at SI.com, Bill Belichick has been involved in 28 trades on draft weekend from 2000-2008, and 16 times he traded down (remember one of those trades up came with the Bears in 2003 when Angelo was dumfounded that Jimmy Kennedy was off the board and the Bears didn't know what to do. They swapped down one spot with the Patriots and proved they didn't know what to do by selecting Michael Haynes).

What would it take to pry that pick off the hands of Belichick? The draft value chart says it is worth 560 points. That means if the Bears trade every pick they can, they still don't have enough to make the jump up 15 spots. Doesn't look real feasible, does it? Of course, Angelo could package draft picks from 2010 but he's already shipped is '10 first rounder to Denver and I don't know if he wants to start moving other picks from that draft.


Q: With respect to the Bears' remaining pick in the third round (99th overall), knowing that this compensatory pick cannot be traded, is there anything prohibiting the Bears from making a pick for another team and then shipping that player off to that team to complete a trade? That way they could trade up in the second round.

Adam P., Winnipeg, Manitoba

A: As I understand it, teams are only permitted to trade players that are under contract or draft picks. The Bears' pick is not tradable, so they could not trade the player they draft in this slot until after he has signed his contract. That will not happen draft weekend, so I don't believe this is a feasible end around the rule. Why can't compensatory picks be traded? I don't have an answer to that one.


Q: Is it just me or are you starting to like Rashad Johnson more and more as the draft nears? I read your piece on him and I think he has all the intangibles to be an absolute stud, and I think the Bears would be crazy to pass on him in the second round. You previously indicated you thought he would possibly be there in the third round, but I think he is quickly moving up the draft board. If he was a little bigger I think he would be an early first round pick. I think there are enough options in the draft at wide receiver that they can address it in the later rounds, or they can make a play at Torry Holt after the draft. What are your thoughts?

Nick D., Orlando, Fla.

A: It's not a matter of who I like or do not like. That's not what I am trying to do here. I'm just working to present options that we've learned the Bears are exploring, or present possibilities we believe the Bears might consider. Johnson is one that looks like he could be considered by the Bears and multiple sources have told us that Angelo likes him. How much? That's the question we don't have answered. Every safety in this draft seemingly has some hole in his game. Johnson's definitely is a lack of size. If he were 6-2, 210, he'd probably have a first-round grade. But he isn't and he doesn't. If he makes his way to No. 49, I'd imagine the Bears will at least consider him. Head coach Lovie Smith is the defensive coordinator and you'd have to imagine he's going to want some more help on that side of the ball at some point. As far as Holt, we said it once and we've said it again and we'll say it once more--when the agent says he doesn't see the Bears being an option for his client, we believe him. No agent is going to shut out a team he thinks could have a remote chance of signing his client. When Kennard McGuire told us April 3 he didn't see Holt matching with the Bears, we took his word for it. We're still taking McGuire's word for it.


Q: If Jerry Angelo is right, and I bet he is, that half of the high draft picks will fail, and a quarter of the rest will be just ordinary players ... given the very, very high multi-million dollar contracts these picks insanely cost a club, why would any club with a high pick either do their best to give it away in any trade for a much lower pick or simply decline to make the pick at all? Why not start their draft with their second-round pick (like this year and next year with the Bears) which leaves a lot of more to pay proven veteran players? Granted there may be a blue chip player you are certain of and so you would make that pick and pay that big money rookie contract but mostly these rookie players are just one big unknown. What do you think?

David H., Chicago

A: NFL clubs are crying more and more about the contracts that are handed out to players at the very top of the draft and you have to imagine that a rookie pay scale will be addressed at some point in the future. But have you heard the Cleveland Browns complain about the contract they had to give left tackle Joe Thomas? What about the money Minnesota paid running back Adrian Peterson? The first round is where you find blue-chip talent in the draft. Personnel people will tell you time and time again it's the blue chip players that make a difference on Sundays. You point to the busts in the first round and I'll point to the first round producing more Pro Bowl players than any other round. There's no sure thing in the second round. The clubs get very high, multi-million dollar payments every season from the television contracts the league has. They've got the money to spend on these draft picks. A club needs to have confidence in its approach to the draft and proceed accordingly.

Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. We'll check in with another Four Down Territory on Tuesday. It probably will come later in the day after the Halas Hall pre-draft briefing.

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13 Comments

I know it's pure speculation but what are the chances of the Bears trading down and picking up more picks? For example if we gave Dallas our 2nd for their 3rd and both 4th round picks this would give us multiple opportunities to address several positions. Maybe we can't draft a wide receiver that's high on everybody's draft boards but with multiple pick in the 3rd and 4th we could draft 2 receivers (or more) and hope to hit pay dirt with one of them. Kind of a shotgun effect for the draft. Just a thought.

Not necessarily a draft related question, but there's been a lot of discussion here about systems and players who fit into various systems, like the Tampa 2, etc. My question is, why has the league gotten away from the storied 46 defense as popularized by Buddy Ryan? It certainly proved to be a worthwhile scheme when it was deployed by Ryan's Bears and Eagles. It certainly brought pressure on the passer. I remember when Ron Rivera was D coordinator, he mentioned it a couple of times. Coincedentally, the Bears haven't had much of a pass rush since Rivera left.

Weren't Phillip Rivers and Eli Manning traded for one another prior to signing any contracts just a couple of years ago?

Brad- Here's a scenario for you. Which free-safety do you think would be the best fit in the Bears cover-2? Smith (if available), Johnson, Delmas, or Moore? If Jerry takes a receiver with the #49 pick, does Byrd, Mitchell, Quin, or Nolan fit the bill?

So Angelo wanted Kennedy in 2003 and not Haynes, so with his one pick he was hoping to choose between two busts, oh boy he can sure pick them. Whats really funny is Kennedy was gone and he didn't know what to do.

Way to run your draft, no plan B, quick throw a dart at the draft board. It's Haynes. Who? That slow guy from Penn. Whatever the clock is running grab him. Sweet we picked a guy, we totally rule.

Dark quick hint Moore is a SS. It's a bad safety class.

Brad,
If you put on your armchair GM hat, and looked at the potential trades that could happen involving premier players and/or first round picks, which ones could you foresee happening by the end of the weekend?

One that comes to mind for me is the Bills sending either the 11 or 28 pick to Carolina for Julius Peppers. Carolina wants a first rounder to draft a replacement for Pepp, and he is definitely not interested in playing there in 2009. Carolina could draft Michael Johnson at 28 if that is the pick they get. Buffalo needs a pass rusher, and there is no one in the draft that has Peppers' potential to be dominant....

We also have the WRs to consider, and I am sure there are others (Brady Quinn), especially given the transition some teams are making to new coaching staffs and systems.

What if there was a 50% chance you'd end up with a lemon when you went to buy your next car? What if there was a 50% chance of the next house you buy losing 100% of its value, let alone a 30% decrease in value during tough economic times? The first round contract situation is broken. I don't care that owners get big money from TV contracts. It doesn't mean they should be less prudent in how they spend it.

Revamp the system. Put Darwinism to work. Let those that prove it get paid like gods...not busts like Benson.

Brad,
To step away from the draft-related questions for a moment, I had a question regarding Caleb Hanie. Obviously last pre-season he showed great athleticism and escapability for a QB and I was wondering if Ron Turner would be open to utilizing both he and Cutler on the field at the same time? Under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Baltimore ran a play where both Joe Flacco and backup QB Troy Smith were on the field, and Smith completed a pass to Flacco for significant gain.

Do you see the Bears following suit? Because I'd hate to see an athletic player such as Hanie riding the bench all season. Get the kid on the field because he's a weapon.

Mike

Mike,
If we still had Orton, I would be all for doing exactly what you say and getting both on the field for interesting formations and plays. But when we traded for Cutler, all that goes out the window. Cutler is an athletic, cannon-armed QB who can keep plays alive by moving around the pocket and firing the ball into tight windows.

Does Peyton Manning run pass routes on gimmick plays while his backup takes the snap? How about Tom Brady? Philip Rivers? Eli Manning? Roethlisberger? (ok bad example there) Cutler is one of the premier young QBs in this league, and he is capable of beating the defense with his arm. Caleb Hanie is an athletic young player, but no one has any idea how he will react when on the field with the first team defense of our opponent. Why risk a bad play, when you have one of the top QBs in the league on the field already? If you want to run the wildcat, run it with Hester, not Hanie. If you want to have Cutler running pass routes, or getting jammed at the line by a CB, make sure you understand what you are doing, but I would rather not expose my QB to more risk than necessary. Teams run those plays to create "playmaking opportunities." The right arm of our QB creates those same opportunities (GOD THAT'S FUN TO SAY!!!). So does Devin Hester's speed, Matt Forte's footwork, and Greg Olsen's speed in the seam. We don't need gimmicks, we need pass protection. You give Cutler 5-6 seconds consistently, and we will move the ball, and score points.

Given the history of QBs and injuries in Chicago, I don't want him doing anything other than playing his position, not split out wide, where we can't protect him. He will get plenty of hits when he takes off and tries to make plays with his feet. Let's stop it there.

7 round mock drafts are almost a complete waste of time. here is McShay's 7 round picks for the Bears:

Derrick Williams-_WR Penn State
Corvey Irvin--DT Georgia
Captain Munnerlyn--CB South Carolina
Courtney Greene-_SS Rutgers
Johnathan Luigs--C Arkansas
Joel Bell--OT Furman
Mortty Ivy--OLB West Virginia
Philip Hunt-_DE Houston

If this is Jerry's draft results for this year, he should be fired immediately after the draft. a SS, a slot receiver, a 5'8" CB, a Cody Balogh repeat, and a bunch of also rans is not his 3 starters. Luigs is the only decent pick out of the bunch. That would be a solid pick that late.

basically, these guys all take what they see as the team needs, and determine who their highest rated player is at the position of need, regardless of scheme or fit. I feel dumber having read it and taken time talking about it....

Joe:

I completely agree your first post about Cutler was spot on!!

The second blog, well lets just say that it was not up to your usual high standards of analysis. I wonder what the odds would be of the Bears picking up any of those 7 mock picks?

I know jetty doesn't like to trade up. However I believe the perfect fit for the Bears WR would be Brian Robiskie. To draft him they would probably have to move up 6 spots to get ahead of Miami and NY to get him.

I really like Dez Clark but he would have some trade value. Enough value to trade for a 4th round pick to trade up to get the spot needed to draft Robiskie if he is still on the board at that time.

What do you think?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 20, 2009 5:53 PM.

Bears have plenty of competition for a receiver in Round 2 was the previous entry in this blog.

Big Game Torry Holt to sign a three-year contract ... in Jacksonville is the next entry in this blog.

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