One of the issues the Bears have to be batting around at Halas Hall on the second day of full meetings with the scouting staff is what the difference is going to be in this draft between the seventh or eighth wide receiver vs. say the 13th or 14th wide receiver.
There is considerable depth at the position to go with some top-end talent. At safety, arguably the Bears' second greatest need going into this draft, there is not the elite talent you have seen in recent years and there also isn't a lot in the way of depth.
Bears college scouting director Greg Gabriel likes to talk in terms of combinations of players and that is what you have to do here. What combination of receiver and safety could the Bears get if they go with a receiver at No. 49 overall and a safety later on? What combination of safety and receiver could they get if they pull the trigger on a safety at No. 49 overall? At that point they could probably get a top five safety, maybe even top three depending on how the draft unfolds.
If the Bears opt for a receiver in the second round there is a good chance they will wait until the later rounds for a safety given their history of finding players such as Kevin Payne, Chris Harris and even Todd Johnson in the fourth round on down. If general manager Jerry Angelo makes a play for a safety in the second round, our bet is he goes with a wide receiver with his next selection at No. 99, the second-to-final pick of the third round, the compensatory selection for losing Bernard Berrian via free agency.
That is why we introduced Virginia's Kevin Ogletree as a possibility here. He's gaining some momentum and the Bears might be more comfortable with someone like him and a safety who could compete immediately for a starting job than a receiver like Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi or Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias and a safety later on in the draft.
``It's probably just guys going in and really looking at my film and evaluating me as a player,'' Ogletree said Thursday morning when asked why he was gaining some buzz with the draft nine days off. ``They're probably seeing some of the little things. I played with a bunch of quarterbacks, I think that helps. Given the opportunities I had, I did everything I could.''
Ogletree would have been a perfect fit for the Bears in the pre-Jay Cutler era. He played with four quarterbacks last season alone. Sound like an NFL team you follow from time to time? Despite that turnover, only North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks had more receiving yardage in the ACC last season than Ogletree. What probably surprised most people was the 40 time Ogletree blazed at the scouting combine. His stats at Virginia--12.5 yards per catch last season and 11.2 in 2006--certainly didn't tip you off to the 4.36-second time he ran.
``I think that really stuck with some guys and some scouts,'' Ogletree said. ``Just because they didn't expect it from me. I knew the whole time, I knew how fast I was. All the teams and scouts had me in the 4.3's and I knew I could move that fast. They probably expected me in the high 4.4's or something. I didn't get to run a lot of long routes at Virginia. It didn't really show that much on film with all of the plays I was making, I wasn't able to get out there as much as I would like.
``One of the biggest part of my games is my quickness and agility and I think I showed that too. I proved to people I'm a good ballplayer and they are believing in me more and more as this process goes on. I'm still under the radar and that's fine. It's about what you do when you get there that counts.''
He was in the top 10 among the 45 wide receivers at the combine in four events--1st in short shuttle, fourth in three-cone drill, ninth in broad jump and 10th in the 40-yard dash.
Ogletree has gotten to know Rex Hogan, who scouts the East for the Bears, and he has had four private workouts recently with Carolina, Miami and New England three of the teams to come in and visit with him. The Bears are not the fourth team. He has good size at 6-1, 196 pounds, and should be able to come in and contribute in some way as a rookie. He likes the fact that the class of receivers he is a part of is considered so strong.
``I have heard it is one of the deepest in a whole which means we have some good ballplayers in this class,'' Ogletree said. ``I think I match up well to them. When I get my opportunity, wherever it's at, that is what is going to separate me. If I am able to play better than the next guy, that will put me ahead. I always have confidence in my ability and I have always had a competitive nature about myself. I want to show a team I am worthy of being selected where I am going to go.''
Ogletree had a year of eligibility remaining with the Cavaliers but elected to leave school with a sociology degree in hand. He redshirted in 2007 to heal a torn ACL but has healed completely. He's mature and there really wasn't anything left for him to accomplish.
``That was real important to me, earning my degree,' he said. ``Looking back on it, that is one of my biggest achievements and I will have that forever. That piece of paper meant a lot but I was ready to move on to the next part of my life and that is to live out my dream to play in the NFL.''