Chicago Sun-Times

Draft driven Bears actually built the roster every which way

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We published a Q&A with general manager Jerry Angelo in today's edition of the Sun-Times and as the case often is with things like this, not quite all of it made it into the newspaper. The beauty of our space here is that it's unlimited.

Maybe the most interesting thing Angelo touched on, or at least something we found interesting, was how he viewed the construction of the roster.

There have been a couple sayings around this team for some time.

One is the Bears are a draft-driven organization.

The other is the Bears get off the bus running.

Is it possible both will fall by the wayside after the trade for Jay Cutler? With a player they believe can be a franchise quarterback, are the Bears going to continue to beat the silly line about getting off the bus running? This team was 24th in the league in rushing last season.

It doesn't sound like Angelo is going to be calling the Bears draft driven any longer, not after peddling his first-round pick this year and his first-round pick next year for Cutler. Truth is, the roster doesn't support his statement either. More on that in a little bit.

Angelo started talking about the construction of the roster after being asked if he has been too conservative.

"How do you define conservative?'' he said. "What do you have to do to not be conservative? What we have always done here, the art of this business, every team has decisions to make each and every year and there are always going to be some big decisions. That is very difficult to do and what you don't want to do is miss big. So we have a very pragmatic approach to making decisions. We don't do things knee jerk, we don't do things based on perception. We do things based on how it is going to impact us now and going forward. Nothing great probably looked good early. So being conservative in this business, in a of of ways, is a good thing. Because the one thing you don't want to do is make decisions based on emotion because when you do that, then you become desperate. There are a lot of casualties in this business from desperate thinking. If conservatism isn't going out there and doing some things where people say, `Wow, what was he thinking?' then yes we are conservative and I don't have any problem with that.

"I feel this, we built this team many different ways. We've done it through the draft, we've done it through the free agency system, we've done it through trades. When you look at our roster over my tenure here, we probably have done it every which way you can do it. We really have. There are some teams that really abide by the draft. There are some teams that really look at free agency. I think we have had a good mesh of both in how we've done this and in a sound way. In terms of free agency, we've had a pretty good track record in terms of our free-agent signings and that's not easy to do. There is probably as big of a bust ratio when you bring in free agents as the draft. I think we've done a pretty good job of meshing the two and we've always looked at every avenue, the Arena League, NFL Europe, I don't know any more we can do. Is that to say we've been great at everything? No, I'm not saying we've been great at everything but we've explored everything and I think we've been pretty good at most things. Whatever we feel like we have to do to win now and keep an eye on the future, I think we've done a pretty good job.

"We built this roster from top to bottom. You don't look at our roster and say it's top heavy or it's got a lot of depth but it doesn't have a lot of cream on top. We've done a pretty good job of managing that and then rewarding your players. I don't think we get enough credit for that because now everyone does that but when I came here I know there were just a few teams doing it because we did it in Tampa and if we weren't the first team to do it, we were the second team to do that. The Giants did it. I know George Young, they believed in it. Philly was right in there. The point I am making is we were doing something early on that was the right recipe to build a winner and build it to withstand the test of time.

"People always look at free agency as outside-in, what did you buy to bring in. That's the way we have always built our team but again, conservative philosophy. We've been consistent with our philosophy. Doing what we did for Cutler, out of the box thinking, but again it played into the mentality of what we always said we were going to do. We always have our eye on everything. We're not timid about going any direction. I don't think we're conservative at all when it comes to exploring the avenues it takes to be a better team, and I think we've done a pretty job of that."

The one thing to keep in mind is there are multiple avenues of free agency. The one that gets the publicity because it has the big-time contracts attached to it is the unrestricted free agent market. Of the 78 players on the roster right now, the Bears have eight UFA's. They've signed three this offseason--Brett Basanez, Frank Omiyale and Josh Bullocks. We've updated the How It Was Constructed Roster below by adding the draft picks and undrafted free agents the team has signed since we ran this April 24. While the Bears have only four of their own first-round picks on the roster, they have seven total first-round picks when you consider Cutler, Orlando Pace and Kevin Jones.

Take a look at how the Bears were built. We'll see if we still hear the Bears get off the bus running.

First round (4)

Brian Urlacher (9), 2000
Chris Williams (14), 2008
Tommie Harris (14), 2004
Greg Olsen (31), 2007

Second round (4)

Charles Tillman (35), 2003
Danieal Manning (42), 2006
Matt Forte (44), 2008
Devin Hester (57), 2006

Third round (8)

Olin Kreutz (64), 1998
Lance Briggs (68), 2003
Earl Bennett (70), 2008
Dusty Dvoracek (73), 2006
Marcus Harrison (90), 2008
Garrett Wolfe (93), 2007
Jarron Gilbert (68), 2009
Juaquin Iglesias (99), 2009

Fourth round (7)

Alex Brown (104), 2002
Nathan Vasher (110), 2004
Jamar Williams (120), 2006
Craig Steltz (120), 2008
Josh Beekman (130), 2007
Henry Melton (105), 2009
D.J. Moore (119), 2009

Fifth round (7)

Zack Bowman (142), 2008
Kellen Davis (158), 2008
Mark Anderson (159), 2006
Kevin Payne (167), 2007
Corey Graham (168), 2007
Johnny Knox (140), 2009
Marcus Freeman (154), 2009

SIxth round (4)

Pat Mannelly (189), 1998
Adrian Peterson (199), 2002
Tyler Reed (200), 2006
Al Afalava (190), 2009

Seventh round (5)

Ervin Baldwin (208), 2008
Trumaine McBride (221), 2007
Joey LaRocque (243), 2008
Lance Louis (246), 2009
Derek Kinder (251), 2009

Undrafted free agents (12)

Cody Balogh, 2008
Joe Clermond, 2008
Caleb Hanie, 2008
Fontel Mines, 2007
Johan Asiata, 2009
Dennis Conley, 2009
Dahna Deleston, 2009
Kevin Malast, 2009
Eric Peterman, 2009
Mike Rivera, 2009
Will Ta'ufo'ou, 2009
Woodny Turenne, 2009

Unrestricted free agents (8)

Brett Basanez, 2009
Josh Bullocks, 2009
Frank Omiyale, 2009
Anthony Adams, 2007
Rashied Davis, 2005
Roberto Garza, 2005
Desmond Clark, 2003
Brad Maynard, 2001

Waived free agents (11)

Glenn Earl, 2009
Orlando Pace, 2009
Kevin Shaffer, 2009
John Broussard, 2008
Rudy Burgess, 2008
Jason Davis, 2008
Kevin Jones, 2008
Brandon Rideau, 2006
Robbie Gould, 2005
Hunter Hillenmeyer, 2003
Israel Idonije, 2003

Waiver claim (2)

Jason McKie, 2003
Marcus Hamilton, 2008

Trade (3)

Jay Cutler, 2009
Dan Buenning, 2008
Adewale Ogunleye, 2004

Free agents signed off practice squads (3)

Devin Aromashodu, 2008
Nick Roach, 2007
Matt Toeaina, 2007

We'll take a look at another part of the roster here a little later on today. Check back.

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Looking at the overall breakdown, it is plain to see that the majority of our contributors were drafted, either by us or someone else. The success rate of undrafted free agents with us or any other team is so minute that it almost renders that channel of player development to be un-necessary.....almost...

I still like the idea of a developmental league to take the place of NFLE, but preferably in the U.S. Can you imagine if there were a farm team in every NFL city, or probably in half of the cities, and they would play on Thursday nights during the NFL season? Work it like baseball, where you can call up a guy to replace an injured player, and let IR be a temporary measure, not a season-ending one.

Or you have a full scout team available for practices, where you have 22 guys on the "roster" as your developmental squad, so they actually get some pseudo-live action working against pros. That might make more sense, and would be more financially sound to run. Each team would spend more, but these developmental guys would not cost as much as street free agents to bring in and up to speed. They also could be relatively well-versed in your playbook, so if you did have to call one up, they would know what they were doing. Keep the rules the same, where a team can steal from other team's developmental squad, as long as they move them up to the active roster.

That could eliminate the roster size concerns, especially with the concept of moving to a 17 or 18 game season. Teams will need deeper rosters, and might benefit from a "December call-up" concept where if they are either resting players, or out of the playoff hunt, they can expand their rosters for the last 2 games of the season to get the younger guys some game experience.

Anyway, just a thought, since it is tough for these undrafted guys to ever get a legitimate shot at making it in the NFL. They get very few reps, and in most cases get a few minutes of playing time in the preseason (mostly garbage time). I think the NFL could benefit from an infusion of youth and excitement into the league

Whatever route they took to build this roster it really does look good. I know FS is not set and our WR's are unproven, but this really does have the makings of a great team. I am very excited about the upcoming season and cannot wait to see how training camp shakes things up. FS will get solved soon. Hester is going to be better because of Cutler. Bennett should rise to the occasion and if Iglesias and Knox can play well then it should be the last we see of Drops Davis. Lovie calling the D is another great move and the Defense should be back to being top 10. BEAR DOWN.

What an offseason this has been? I wish it was September.


hey brad sorry but youre report is WRONG!!!!

i found this on the BEASR WEBSITE,,,you now brad....a littel somthing i calk RESEASRCH ans FACTS!

"Drafted in the first round of 2003...Staley ranks as the all-time funniest, friendliest, fuzziest, funkiest bear in the history of the NFL… He currently leads the Bears in most t-shirts shot into the crowd (1920), most costume changes in a single season (77), longest butt bounce (40 yards), most high fives (34,051,054.08)…most autographs signed (16,726) and most dance moves *…He is currently tied with Alex Brown for most laughs…Named a two-time Pro-Bowl mascot (2004, 2006)…Won a gold medal for rock-paper-scissors and a silver medal in the staring contest at the Celebrity Mascot Olympics…Staley has a .537 winning average (thru 2007) since becoming the Bears official mascot in 2003."

i cant blameyou for not nowing this brad becusae only i am always right sense i onlyg ive facts....but you could try ot put ta little more effort in too youre JOB ans i now some of you loosers are thinking well gee crap-ton you dont have a job in fact al you do is blog ans play xbox in youre parents house. ans i say, well i also dont work for teh bears but i stil pretend to now everything about hem. so their you go, loosers.

im crap-ton ans i approve this massage!

It does look good and I like the changes made but one thing, I really liked the D last eyar this time and drafted our D early in Fantasy Football...big mistake, so I will wait on crowning this years team untill I see them actually play. :)

Every superbowl team has had a superbowl O-line and these are Angelos best additions since we salvaged Ruben Brown and
Fred Miller. Though I blame our lose to the colts on our line they stayed healthy long enough to get us there and if Pace can stay healthy I'd put money down in Vegas. By the way,Brad, what has the addition of cutler and pace done for our odds to win the superbowl?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 7, 2009 9:37 AM.

Bears showing interest in veteran TE Michael Gaines was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears mull addition of Gaines, need improvement in short yardage is the next entry in this blog.

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