Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, April 22: Angelo's history with marijuana (Percy Harvin) and the draft

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Another busy, busy day of draft preparation. We're going to do two more Q&A's this week, one Thursday and one Friday. Get your questions in now. Here we go.

Q:
With reports all over the place now that Florida's Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana at the combine, could he drop all of the way to the Bears? More importantly, would Jerry Angelo draft him and give the team a receiver more explosive than Devin Hester?

Ben T., New York

A: Angelo has ample experience with wideouts from Florida who dabble in weed, or at least test positive for weed. The Bears drafted speedster John Capel in the seventh round in 2001, 208th overall, about six weeks before Angelo was hired. The Bears took the unusual step of renouncing their draft rights to Capel about a week before training camp opened and before the team had reached a contract with him. Capel got busted in Gainesville, Fla., a month after the draft for possession of marijuana, and he blew off and was late to a slew of team activities. Twelve months earlier, Capel had stunned Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene in the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials.

"John did not display the desire needed tobe a member of this football team,'' Angelo said in a statement at the time. "His actions left us with little choice but to end the relationship and move forward."

Angelo was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they drafted a sliding defensive tackle, Warren Sapp, 12th overall in 1995. Sapp also had some drug luggage hanging over him, but the Bucs went ahead and took him and wound up with one of the most dominant players at his position for a decade.

"It was just a gut feeling. We could have been wrong and could have had egg on our face today," Angelo said three years later. "Are the rewards greater than the risks? You have to answer that when character is in question."

Harvin may play the same position as Capel, but he much more resembles Sapp in terms of ability. It would be one thing to roll the dice in Harvin with a top-10 pick. If he somehow makes it all the way to the Bears--multiple people we spoke with today said there is little to no chance he makes it out of the first round--he's a no-brainer. You're talking about a $3 million contract for four years for a guy who some consider the most explosive offensive player in the draft.

Mike Florio over at profootballtalk.com nailed the issue this morning. It's what league execs have said for years. When a player fails a drug test at the scouting combine he's either got a serious drug problem or he's too dumb to stop in time to let the evidence clear out of his system before a drug test that should be circled in his calendar in red. You worry about investing in the wrong player in the first round, really the top third of the first round. If you like Harvin as a player, what's the risk at No. 49? The reward could be immense.


Q: You have done a quite thorough job outlining the Bears' pre-draft visits and private workouts. As you have previously mentioned, Lovie Smith made visits to Arkansas and Vandy last year. That obviously translated to draft picks. Where has Lovie visited this year and what players could come into play at those schools?

Bill S., Oneida, Ill.

A: Great question, Bill, and if I had an idea here I would have an even better answer. We tracked down Smith's trip to Fayetteville, Ark., last year in a late phone call out of the blue with a source that will remain unnamed. The Bears wound up drafting defensive tackle Marcus Harrison and wide receiver Marcus Monk. We knew Smith went to Boise, Idaho, with line coach Harry Hiestand. He also went to Nashville, Tenn., to meet with Chris Williams. Our first thought on Tuesday when Smith was a no-show at the pre-draft media session was that Smith was on the road doing some last-minute work to make certain he was comfortable with a draft pick. The club said he was taken away from the building for unexpected personal reasons. I don't think you throw around "personal reasons'' as part of a smokescreen. The bottom line is if I had news on any campus visits by Smith, it would have been loudly displayed right here.


Q: From what I've read, linebacker is one of the deeper positions in this draft. While I would like to see the Bears get a wideout that they believe could make a solid contribution as a rookie, I do not understand why linebacker is not considered a position of need. If Brian Urlacher goes down with a serious injury or he turns out to have lost enough that he is no longer a quality starter, just who is ready to move in as middle linebacker? If the best player on the board at No. 49 is a linebacker, the Bears should pick him.

Tim F., Denver

A: I don't know that linebacker has been ruled out by the Bears but replacing Urlacher right now is a little premature. Remember, the Bears signed him to an $18 million, one-year extension last summer that carries through 2012. If they need to be replacing him right now, there is a far bigger problem here. You make a good point about what is behind him, but what's the contingency if Lance Briggs goes out? How about Charles Tillman? Matt Forte? Take any key player off almost any team at any position and you can say the same thing. If a can't-miss linebacker falls into the Bears' laps, it will merit discussion, but where are you going to play him unless he is a perfect match for the strong side?


Q: I continue to enjoy your ongoing Bears coverage during this exciting offseason/draft preview period. I have a question heading into this weekend's draft: Where does BYU's Austin Collie sit on the draft boards among wide receivers and do the Bears have any interest? He's a strong character guy, very bright, precise route runner and he showed great hands throughout his college career to go along with a big, strong body (6-2, 215 pounds). He's not a "speed guy," but I think he'd be a very nice addition to the Bears in the later rounds. I'm just very surprised to hear so little about him across the league this offseason. What do you think?

Joe M., Jersey City, N.J.

A: Collie has no shortage of production coming out of BYU but we need to put those numbers in perspective. He was in a spread offense that played in a conference without a lot quality defense. Angelo said Tuesday that speed was what the Bears were seeking first and foremost and it remains to be seen if Collie is going to be able to make the adjustment at the NFL level. He was clocked at 4.63 seconds at the scouting combine and while that's not going to seal his fate right there, he didn't show a lot of run-after-the-catch ability in college and that combined with a slow speed is an issue. He could compete as a slot, possession receiver and figures to come off the board somewhere in the middle rounds. He'll be a 24-year-old rookie after a mission but he'll come with top character and will be a quick learner. The Bears need an impact guy. I don't know if they will find one, and I also don't know if Collie can be that guy. As far as I know, the Bears have not shown any outward interest in Collie but that doesn't mean anything.

Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. We'll check in with another Four Down Territory on Thursday.


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16 Comments

The Bears must consider upgrading the FB position. Jason McKie is not the answer and is not a viable option along with Cutler and Forte. If the bears really want to do some real damage the answer is in a threatening running game. J Angelo did say he is considering adding a running back in this years draft. Kevin Jones did nothing to impress his first year as a Bear. Matt Forte carried a lot and needs help. It comes in the form of Shonn Greene a bruising smash mouth RB. At 234 is a load to bring down. The WR position can wait for next years draft. The offense with Hester, Olsen, Clark, and Davis while not electrifying, will do some damage when factoring in Cutler's accurate and rocket arm. The Defense will be in rare form duplicating as good or a better year than 2006. Skies the limit for the defense with Lovie and Marinelli teaming up together. Bears were highly ranked in take aways and d@m$d tough against the run last year. Man Up and Bear Down!

I think there will be a definite effect on the Chicago Bears' draft. Harving is a wide receiver and the Bears and other teams are in the market for a receiver.

Something is going to happen regarding the draft needs of the Chicago Bears. The question is what?

The Percy Harvin Effect

I agree, something will happen with this, he will slide, but how far? It depends on the person on whether we get him or not, some people can do that and are fine others crap out. Sapp is a great example of a person that is really a good person just things happen. I hope he drops to us :)But then I don't know him and I am sure Jerry will do the history thing.

And besides pot is really old news nowadays, it's not the pot it's not having the intelligent enough to stop in time to get it out of your system before the most important day of your career.
It all depends on whats inside you, are you better than that? or not?
Sapp was better than that.

Oh man....

If Harvin slides down the line and by some "miracle" is still on the board at #49 the Bears would have to consider taking him.

Pot is Pot, probably half the league players smoke it or have at least smoked it !! Big-deal.... Seriously, Look at Urlacher, he must have been smoking something when he went to bed with Paris Hilton and that psycho baby-momma Tyna Robertson !!!

Harvin will be put in the NFL drug program anyway so the risk is definetly worth the potential reward. You would get him dirt cheap based on his skill level and pre-test failure draft status... The intitial investment would be pennies on the dollar due to that failed drug test.

Harvin is a home run hitter, the Bears could use a player like him not only as a WR but as a scant-back. If Harvin becomes a Bear you could probably say adios to Garrette Wolfe and Angelo would certainly look to the post-draft FA market for a "bigger" Veteran WR to round out the WR core.
Hester, Harvin, Bennett, Rideua, FA pick-up... Now were talkin !!

Go Bears !!

Stay away...we don't need another Rasamm Salamm..

@Bensonsucks: Did you even read the last paragraph of Brad's answer to the Harvin thing? Florio DID nail it, it's not that the NFL GM's care that players smoke weed -- some GM estimated 50% of his players smoked pot -- it's the fact that they're too stupid to quit for a month or two before the biggest test of their entire lives! You have to play by the rules, it's not rocket science.

austin collie did not play in a spread offense at BYU... sorry, obviously you never watched them play. they play more of a pro-style offense. and, he had 11 games in a row this year with over 100 yds against both teams with good and bad defenses (Utah, TCU, Arizona, and he absolutely smoked UCLA's Alteron Vernor (sp?) all game long). nice try. by the way, i think you meant 4.53 not 4.63 in the 40.

he may not be the speed guy the bears are looking for, but please do your homework before you spew out incorrect information.

Perno ""Did you even read the last paragraph of Brad's answer to the Harvin thing?""


Yes I did but what are you asking me again ???

I don't recall mentioning wether Florio "NAILED" anything or not !!!

All I said was that if Harvin falls to #49 then Angelo should seriously consider drafting him and that testing positive for pot shouldn't be a big deal since most of the Athletes do it anyway. Getting a 1'st round talent at a mid-2'nd round price is an investment worth considering, baggage or not....


Go Bears !!

Agreed Perno. You have to wonder how much of an idiot Harvin is. He could potentially cost himself millions of dollars. MILLIONS.

Or he's hooked on the stuff like Florio pointed out.

Either way you have an idiot, an addict or both. While Angelo mentions Sapp as a worthwhile risk, I would personally stay away from that.

And Bensonsucks, you above all should know the risks of drafting questionable character. Look no further than you screen name, sir!

I watched some highlights of his pro day, and it looks like it takes him about 4-5 stutter steps to throttle down from full speed, and then he makes his cut. I think that will be a problem until he learns to control his speed. Hester seems to have an advantage in that he can make his cuts at near-full speed, and gets separation that way. Harvin needs to learn how to do that before he will be successful as a full-time WR.

Either way, I don't want us to keep stockpiling guys who do the same thing. All our receivers are flankers or slot guys. I would prefer we avoid him.

Word is on all the major sports sites that Harvin will not drop, it's being looked apon as a minor infraction.

Besides you already have read that Turner, Lovie and Angelo all want a reciever with some size at Split End. Harvin is a natural Z or Slot guy and would struggle on the line of scrimage. Either way no one really thinks he is dropping right now.

If you look at the spots teams are trying to fill in this draft combined with need, you will probably see a lot of recievers in round two rather than round one.

If Seattle skips on Crabtree you will see a lot of recievers fall. Plus Boldin and Edwards are still on the block and will probably be traded or at least one of them will. If not I cannot see more than 3 or 4 recievers going in round one.

Crabtree(Oakland), Maclin(Ravens), Bey(NY), Harvin (STL rd2,) Robiskie(Dolphins rd2), Britt(Bears). Not a bad way for things to fall. I don't know if it will happen like this but it could.

Mike ""And Bensonsucks, you above all should know the risks of drafting questionable character. Look no further than you screen name, sir! ""


Come on Mike.... The difference between selecting Benson at #4 and the possibility of selecting Harvin at #49 is like night and day !!

Benson was a TOP selection and commanded a Kings ransom of a contract justifed or not. Harvin getting selected in the middle of round (2) would not be very expensive. What, $3 to $5 million over (4) years ?????

That tiny price is peanuts compared to the salary cap. My point was that it is a high risk yet high reward proposition. If he gets the support from the league and the Bears and proves to put this issue behind him and blossom's into a game changer then the Bears would be tremendous winners. If he continues to dissapoint and doesn't get it then the Bears are out a few million dollars !!!

Some times you need to gamble on a player because talent ussually prevails ie..... Dan Marino, Laveranues Coles, Sebastian Janikowski, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Brandon Meriweather, Darren McFadden, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzade, Santonio Holmes to name a few.

Go Bears !!

Did some of you forget that Harrison had some major mschief on file and Jerry did his homework and drafted him? Do not take into to much on this Pot thing, if he is that good and drops believe me someone will grab him and probably like him.

This from Bears gab:
Potential Robbery/Theft Alert: The Marcus Harrison (DT Arkansas) pick was a steal if he turns out to not be a discipline problem or injury prone. Some scouts said he had first round talent, but his injury history and conduct/character were an issue.

They will be saying the same thing about Harvin - but who really knows untill a year later as it is so even with good character players.

I have seen no problems with Marcus and this really goes to show, it's whats inside a man not if he made a mistake.
as Marcus had some real serious issues and grew up fast.


Randy, correct me if I'm wrong, but Harrison never tested positive for any substance at the combine or any other day where NFL teams so closely looked at a player. That's the issue here. For this guy to do that stuff, on such an important date, is mind-boggling to me.

Bensonsucks, a valid point on your favorite player! But while the risk was high with CB because of draft position/$$$ involved, I also think taking a WR with the 49th pick is a huge risk based on how meager our receiver depth chart is. If we choose receiver, our season is directly proportional to how he turns out. We don't have a proven, reliable WR and this guy I assume would be expected to have a sizeable role on the offense.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 22, 2009 10:23 PM.

Iglesias confident he stacks up with receivers in draft class was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears draft preview: Need No. 3 Offensive tackle is the next entry in this blog.

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