Chicago Sun-Times

Live from Halas Hall: Bears find a safety, a strong safety

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Oregon State's Al Afalava projects as a strong safety. Maybe the Bears have plans to use him as a free safety, but every scouting report published about him lists him as a strong safety with in-the-box skills to be a hammer vs. the run.

He's another player the Bears brought into Halas Hall on a pre-draft visit. You can find some bone-jarring hits by him on YouTube.

Afalava is 5-11, 213 pounds, and could contribute on special teams quickly. He's going to have to prove he can pick up the scheme quickly but the Bears have had success with late-round safety selections. Afalava may have had to answer character questions. Like defensive end Henry Melton, he had a DUI arrest in college.

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32 Comments

Yay! Another S.S.

At this point, when you have spent the entire draft not reaching for players who were over-valued, why take a flyer at this point just to have a safety on the draft list? Gabriel says they think he can play FS, but there is nothing on film to suggest that he can. He is an extra linebacker in the box, and struggles to change direction in coverage....This one makes me mad. If you are taking the best player on the board, then do that, but don't keep changing your philosophy every round. That is what makes drafts bad or good. Have a plan, and stick with it....

Hahahahahahahaha, a strong safety. Who cares it's special teams time anyway.

Well I guess Angelo really like Bullocks. We are so screwed in the secondary.

Gee Jerry, ever wonder why you can't seem to find a free safety?

The last 2 picks have me scratching my head. I hope they aren't out smarting themselves.

I love the picks of:

Gilbert DT
Iglesias WR
Melton DE
Moore CB
Knox WR

Freemean OLB (I'm not so high on)
Afalava SS/FS (free agent)

But I do see at least 3-4 guys that will help this year (Gilbert, Iglesias, Moore) and maybe they will catch lighting in the bottle with Knox and Melton.

Seriously? How many strong safeties do we need?

BTW, I fully expect with all the good grades going to the packers on their draft that at least one of the first 3 picks will be a big bust. I ain't scared.

People are sooooooooo dumb. He adds depth to our secondary and probably a ST guy right away. You need good special teams too people. What if Payne gets hurt? You need depth. People act like they know more than Jerry Angelo. Shut up already. This was a pretty good draft with lots of value for our Bears.

So much for taking the best player on your board. Was Melton really the best available at any position at that pick? Freeman is more promising, and he lasted for two more rounds. And was there really not a free safety with a grade that matches Melton? This guy better be an all-pro sack artist, or it was a monumentally stupid pick for a team with dire needs at safety.

Really, I thought the draft was going ok until this pick. The Freeman pick makes me scratch my head, but this one is ridiculous. We do not need another strong safety, we need a free safety.

We're going to get lit up again this year.

Kane -

Nice rant. Try this on for size:

http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2009/04/number_crunch_breaking_down_an.html

The numbers do not favor Jerry Angelo. He is below average as a drafter. People here aren't saying they're smarter than Jerry. They're saying that he frustratingly bucks conventional wisdom (i.e. that which the rest of the league sees as obvious) in favor of odd whims. Lots of decent looking FS types were available throughout this draft (maybe not great, but certainly worth taking a mid-round chance, e.g. Bruton, Clemons, etc.), but he didn't see the "value" at any of the picks, and instead "reached" for at least two serious "project" type players at positions of lesser need (Melton and Freeman).

So, anyway, no. I see no reason to shut up until JA's drafting percentage equals or exceeds the league average, smart guy.

I think they should go for Derek Pegues, his scouting reports look pretty good and according to the Bears needs. I am with Ripper, and I am positive that Raji will be a bust. He won't control his weight once he cashes his first check...

Ok.... now lets pick a safety.
Who is on the list?
Al Afalava? He was projected as a 7th round pick at best and may not even be drafted by ANY team and he is not even a Free Safety but.... we do have safety next on our list so Afalava it is!

I love that "Bone-Jarring Hits" video.
One cheap shot that he got flagged for.

How many of these picks have been the best player on the board or a player that fills a need?
Just keep drafting guys 2 or 3 picks early so no one takes "your guy" Jerry. He does this every damn year.
They make a list of players that they want or believe to be sleepers and no other team can see the hidden talent and they will stick with that pick no matter who is still left on the board.
Just close your eyes and pick the next player on your list and if he is gone then take the next one on the list.
How else can you explain the Bears always passing on better players at the same position to take a reach pick that no one else was coveting?
Gilbert and Iglesias better be really damn good or this draft is going to be a bust.

Way to kill the buzz over Cutler guys.

Huh? I think this has been a good draft, but maybe we ought to see some of them play a little before we jump off a cliff? Too funny!

How about Pierre Walters and a developmental OL prospect like Cadogan for our last 2 picks?

Congratulations Jerry, You took all the good will and high hopes you created with the Cutler trade and proceeded to prove to Bear fans that you are indeed STILL a pinhead with NO ability to judge talent or fill positions of need in a draft. Was this REALLY what you planned going into this draft ? I was OK w/ some of these picks, but for the most part,you left better players on the board while reaching for others. WISE UP !!

Okwo, Bauzin....how did those guys look to you greylion?

Two of "Jerry's Hidden Gems" (should be a segment on Home Shopping Network) that were drafted waaaay to early and didn't quite work out.

He's like the Jerry Krause of football.....always trying to outfox everyone.

Rams FS Oshiomogo Atogwe had the Franchise Tag placed on him and he has yet to sign. ProFootballTalk.com said the following:

"For Atogwe, the selection of Iowa defensive back Bradley Fletcher with the second pick in round three might be enough to suggest that pen should be placed to paper, ASAFP."

The Seahawks picked Curry with the 4th overall and immediately removed the Franchise Tag off of LB Leroy Hill.

With the Bears trading for Cutler and inquiring about Boldin, don't be surprised if the Bears start sniffing around.

Peoria Matt tell what team hasn't draft flops;Tell me what team makes a star out of everyone of there 1-4 rd draft picks.


Al Afalava is a good pick up. If anybody was listening, Jerry said they are looking for more bigger FS.They also said there looking for T who can play G rether than G who could play C.

i think jerry done a pretty good drafting the last couple years. if you look at it this way, how many players do teams use that they draft? 1 or 2 maybe, 3 max? they let the rest go or put them on the practice squad. so if the bears can use 3 players i think theyre doing good. i still see the bears getting a WO in FA, i dont see them getting a star player but someone good. whos to say bullocks wont do good for the bears, he was on a crappy defensive team before he came here.

dice, I don't care about other teams.

I care about the Bears.

Angelo reaches far too much for a team that doesn't have a lot of wiggle room for projects and reaches

Cutler fell into his lap. He gets big props from me for the trade.

But he will not get any free ride on his drafting resume.

Let all you idiots show me your NFL Scout card. We wont know if this draft is any good for a couple of years. You act like you know more than people that do if for a living. The fact is the experts cant get it right most of the time. Be a Bear fan and just hope for the best. We just dont know.

What's with all the obsession about a safety? A good pass rush is by far the best pass defense, and the lack of it is clearly the Bears' pass defense problem. The 1985 Bears' defensive backs weren't all that great, but they didn't have to be when the opposing quarterback was on his back most of the time.

The damn Packers have filled a need with every single pick that they have made and have gotten great value on them as well. It all fell into place for them because they were flexible and drafted the best player available for a position that they needed improvement.
They killed us in this draft.
That is how you draft Jerry. Improve your team pick after pick with proven players and cut the dead weight.
Not add to it with more mediocre stiffs.

In the mean time Jerry was not only passing on the best players on the board, he was passing on the best players still there who play the very same position as his picks.
How do you do that time after time and still keep your job?

To top it off he ignored the team’s needs and takes a DT instead of a DE, forgot all about a FS until he finally drafts a Strong Safety instead and then takes a DE that is a total mystery to the rest of the world and will probably be cut in training camp.
Knox is a “combine star” who has speed but it has never translated into being a great WR on the field.
More "project" picks and guys who will get shoved around because Lovie likes his players small and light on their feet.
Great idea if ballet ever becomes a needed skill in the NFL.
More of the same mentality that it does not matter how much talent the players have, it is the coaching and the system that will make them NFL stars. They have Marinelli now so just draft any guy over 250 lbs and you have got yourself a real live defensive lineman!

I would rather have two real players drafted and have no more picks then the collection of fodder that Jerry offers up every year.

Jerry said they are looking for more bigger FS.They also said there looking for T who can play G rather than G who could play C.

How about a Guard who can play Guard?
A Tackle who can play Tackle?
A Center who can play Center?
A Defensive End who can play Defensive End?
A Free safety who can play Free Safety?

Keep moving players out of position until they suck at every one of them just like they did with Devin Hester.

Duane pulls out the "What are your football credentials" line from Hub Arkush. Nice.

So I guess if you're a fan, just shut up and "hope for the best".

And remember everyone....Jerry said three starters from this years draft.

Wow this is like hearing all those "bear Fans" crying on the radio that the Cutler deal was sguandering the Bears future.

This looks like it could be a GREAT DRAFT! We will know for sure in a couple years.

Lets analayze it!

1st rd: Cutler - a proven FRANCHISE QB in his PRIME!

Right here the draft is A+ even if every other pick falls flat on his face. If you can get 50% of the players from the 3rd on down to be productive you've done well.

3rd rd: Glibert DT he will rotate with Harris and shoot gaps on pass rushing. Solid value

3rd rd: Iglesias PWR not great straight line speed, but has great hands, goes over the middle and makes the tough catch. Might be pushing Davis in the slot. Safe pick

4th rd: Melton DE very raw, but fast, great hips good pass rusher can help on ST and may replace Anderson or Barwin. A gamble, but very highly rated at the time picked.

4th rd: Moore CB lacking great speed, but very good explosion and short area quickness. A fit for the cover 2. Plays special teams. Solid value

5th rd: Knox SWR one of the fastest WR's in the draft, legit sub 4.3, very raw, can extend the field. a gamble on lightining in the bottle.

5th rd: Freeman WLB good size, strength, excellent speed, a "finesse" tackler. He either toughens up on ST's or is gone. A gamble

All in all a GOOD draft. We will see with the 6 & 7th rd picks, but they are probably practice squad players.

Why all the complaining? It was not a great draft for FS's and the Bears may have added a couple really good players to go with their FRANCHISE QB!

Are people seriously trippin' over a safety selected in the sixth round?

Angelo did a solid job getting players who should have been taken far earlier that they were.

Knox and Melton were taken where they should have been -- I doubt Melton would have lasted much longer following his pro day -- and each is arguably the best athlete at their respective positions. They need polish, but they are worth the risk.

And here you guys are, complaining about a safety. Can he play FS? Maybe not. But he will likely contribute to the special teams.

Frankly, there were not a lot of FS in the draft this year. Delmas and Johnson were about the only solid prospects. Everyone else was an in-the-box player for the most part.

I was talking with friends before the draft that the team may have been better off moving some CB to free safety.

It's a disappointment, because it is a SERIOUS need. But there may still be some free agents to pick up, or they could try to see if Manning has his head straight yet. Or maybe Bowman, who they moved, will pan out.

Beyond that, given the circumstances of the draft, I think they did well, even through the 7th round.

They added a blocking TE, and a WR who, if healthy, could be a sleeper.

Well Duane I have been on this board for awhile and my draft picks have worked out pretty well. In fact I have done better than Angelo, now if you look at a thread Brad put up about his draft picks, Angelo is drafting well below the NFL average. Ok big cry baby.

Do you know what it takes to be a scout? Is there a school? Most scouts never played in NFL. So what does it take? Basically it takes a good eye and a knowledge of football. Thats about it. You just need to know what your looking at. Like lets take a reciever, if you see a reciever catching the ball with his body, that is not a good thing, if he plucks it out of the Air with his hands that is a good thing. We have all watched college games and gone damn that guy is really good, and we have watched games and gone he sucks. Does it make any of us a scout? No. But it Kiper and Mayock really cool jobs. Both guys have made great predictions.

You know when I was a kid and my mom sent me to the store to pick up something I'd have to take it back if it was not exactly what she wanted. So tell me how do we go into a draft looking for a free saftey and come back home again with another strong saftey. Seems like another project waiting to fail or a development process that will benefit another team. Draft what we need from kids that have been playing those postions and let's stop with these conersion projects. What's next do we start making defensive linemen with good 40 speed WR's. Listen to what my mom advised a long time ago just get what we need and you don't have to listen to any flack or even better take it back.

Don't understand all the whining, I thought this was a pretty good draft. Gilbert has a ton of upside and I'd guess most of you have not even seen video of him. Knox has great hands as well as speed, nice pick there. Melton is raw but his stock has been rising leading up to the draft. And Freeman was a good pick in the 5th despite what some of you think.

ahhh.....Well Duane I have been on this board for awhile sense i dont have a job ans i never leave my parents house. my draft picks are all PERFECT!!! In fact I have done better than Angelo because wehn i play madden on xbox i ALWAYS WIN ans all my players have stars. so Ok big cry baby looser.

Do you know what it takes to be a scout looser? i do becuase i am always right and i only give facts. Most scouts never played in NFL but i now more then them because i play madden on xbox and i also am best frends with staley da bear. So what does it take? Basically i put the my madden game on rookie mode and if im still loosing i use madden cards so i always win. Thats about it. You just need to know what your looking at. Like lets take a reciever, in madden i play as the packers ans i have randy moss ans larry fitzgerald on my teasm. they can jump in teh air ans catch teh ball. We have all played madden on rookie mode and gone damn that crap-ton is really good, and we have watched games and gone wow Brando sucks AT MADDEN@@!!! Does it make any of us a scout? yes....it make ME a scot because ia m walys right ansd i only gie FCATS!

but you gays now me old crap-ton just trying to be poasitbe...

p.s. Kiper and Mayock are both STOOPID LOOSERS!!! Both guys make me SICK ANS THEY ARE NOTH BUSTS!!!!!

I usually just read through these posts, but I must say give Angelo a break!!! The guy hits a home run then the myopic(look that one up 'creighton') wretches and arm-chair stooges cry about Angelo not drafting a Free safety. We all knew it was a thin crop this year anyway, did we not? I wanted Bruton, but who knows if he gets on the field this season, and he got beat at Notre Dame at times too--their 'D' was suspect all year. I seriously doubt one of these guys would beat out Bullocks, but Afalava did play FS in 06', at least that's what I read. Let Gabriel and the scouts do their jobs--if Lovie cannot fix it he's gone anyway so the pressure is on him--let it go!!! The Pass Rush should be better this year and Cutler can break a 'D' down with his feet and STRONG ARM. We should not lose more than 5 games this year--remember the Colts and Eagles games last year. Hey 'Creighton', 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' man. BEAR DOWN, REAL CHICAGO BEARS FANS!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 26, 2009 3:43 PM.

Live from Halas Hall: Three picks remaining for Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

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