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The 2010 NFL draft has already become anticlimactic for Bears fans.

The first day of it, any way.

In a move to squeeze every possible prime time minute out of the draft, the league has made the draft a three-day event and will kick things off on Thursday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. with the first round taking place that evening. With the Denver Broncos already owning the Bears' first-round pick as the final part of the bounty they paid for Jay Cutler, it might be a slow evening.

Rounds two and three will be held on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m., and the rounds four through seven will begin starting Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

"We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television."

The league estimates that the evening action will conclude at 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.


Let's get right to it.

Q: I am glad to learn that the Bears are considering Corey Graham to be the free safety this coming season because I have long felt Charles Tillman or Graham would be the best option on the roster. Why has it taken the team so long to reach this possible conclusion? Sometimes these things seem so obvious.

Phil S., Concord, N.H.

A: This isn't a revelation the coaching staff just arrived at, the possibility that Graham could fill a role at free safety. Steve Wilks, the defensive backs coach, said during training camp summer that the idea of trying Graham at safety and nickel back had been kicked around in meetings. Graham was actually introduced to safety during December 2007 when injuries were once again making a mess of the safety position. Well, injuries and the ill-conceived effort to revive Adam Archuleta's career. The Bears were short on bodies at the position at the end of the season. But how was the team going to get Graham up and running at safety last season? Remember, Tillman missed the bulk of training camp to be with his family as his daughter went through serious health issues. The Bears had to operate with what they had and that meant using Graham at left cornerback. He showed real strides from his rookie season. It was Trumaine McBride, who was drafted two rounds after Graham in 2007, who started as a rookie that season. But Graham moved ahead of him on the depth chart in training camp and made the kind of strides necessary for him to replace Nathan Vasher when injuries struck early in the season. We've given an awful lot of attention to the safety position--and for good reason--but issues at cornerback can be far more troubling. That's why the move of Graham to free safety will not be a possibility unless the team feels comfortable in Vasher or rookie D.J. Moore manning the job at right cornerback. There is going to be plenty of time to sort this out. OTA's begin two weeks from today on May 20, and this could easily carry into training camp and preseason but the hope would be the coaching staff would have an idea what the starting lineup will look like by then. It just seemed awkward going into the third preseason last summer when Brandon McGowan was benched and they started shifting parts around in the secondary.


It's impossible to judge an NFL draft the day after it has concluded. Today's college stud can be tomorrow's NFL washout. It takes three our four years to evaluate how successful an NFL draft was in helping a team Four years removed from the Bears' 2005 draft, it rates a steady D or F with the failure of Cedric Benson and Mark Bradley at the very top. There isn't a single player from that draft left on the roster. The 2006 draft doesn't look as good as it did in, say, January 2007 when the Bears were marching to Super Bowl XLI and had Danieal Manning starting as a rookie at free safety, Devin Hester setting records as a return man and Mark Anderson looking like the next coming of Richard Dent. We'll say that draft is worth a solid C right now but this coming season will tell a lot.

The point is to take the evaluation of what the Bears did this weekend (or what they did Sunday) with a grain of salt. It's far too early to tell what is going to happen. General manager Jerry Angelo went into the draft with the belief the Bears could get three starters. The Bears promote their draft picks. They carry preferred status.

"Realistically, that's tough,'' Angelo said when asked how many from the bunch could make the 53-man roster. "Six have a chance to make it. I feel every one of them has the ability to make it. Obviously, the competition's going to be a little big keener at some positions. But I don't think that would be unrealistic with this group.''

So, let's take a look at what they are saying about Angelo's draft around the league:

*** The Sporting News gives Angelo an A. They point out that this draft began with quarterback Jay Cutler. Does that mean Angelo has an A coming in 2010 also?

*** John Czarnecki at gives the Bears a B-minus. He calls it a "total success" if Cutler leads the Bears to the playoffs. We'd suggest it's a total success if Cutler leads the Bears to some playoff victories. Kyle Orton has gotten them to the postseason.

*** Kevin Seifert at wonders if the daily double of linemen Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton will turn out better than the player the Bears could have gotten at No. 49. Mohamed Massaquoi or Rashad Johnson anyone?

*** The only team with more picks than the Bears on Sunday was the Dallas Cowboys, which began the day with 12, three more than the Bears. ESPN's John Clayton believes the Bears did a much better job.

"Their picks were consistent and fit needs. Defensive ends Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton have run the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds and will work with defensive line coach Rod Marinelli on the Bears' pass rush. Safety D.J. Moore had received a higher grade than his third-round selection. The Bears added wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias, who was rated in the round he was selected. Most of the Cowboys' picks were rated two or three rounds lower than their selections."

However, Clayton says New England had the best Day 2 of any team.

Here are some highlights:

Angelo said he was surprised Johnny Knox was still around in the fourth round.

He likes Derek Kinder from Pitt. The coaching staff really liked him and he got a strong endorsement from Dave Wannstedt.

Defensively, they wanted to get some young talent. It was one of the goals of the draft to get more energy. Angelo believes Jarron Gibert and Henry Melton are two very good defensive ends.

Melton made 12 visits and that is why the Bears grabbed him in the fourth round. They like his traits but he needs to take another step.

Talk about a long wait to see the Bears not do anything.

In trading the No. 49 pick to the Seattle Seahawks the Bears not only left Georgia wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and Missouri safety William Moore on the board, they ensured they would go without a pick in the first two rounds of the draft for the first time since 1978. It's been so long the team doesn't have records of what it acquired for the first rounder that went to the Los Angeles Rams and the second rounder that went to the San Francisco 49ers. If you recall, let us know.

Now, general manager Jerry Angelo goes into Day 2 of the draft, which begins in about 10 hours, with nine draft picks. They start with pick No. 68, the fourth selection of the third round. Angelo has a depth chart at wide receiver that looks worse than it did last season, if you can imagine that.

Pittsburgh just grabbed Missouri defensive tackle Ziggy Hood with the final pick of the first round.

Detroit just started the second round by choosing Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas.

Fifteen more picks until the Bears are on the clock. Could the Delmas selection start a run on safeties? What if the Bears get shut out at receiver and safety?

There goes another wide receiver.

The New York Giants just selected North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks No. 29 overall, a move in an effort to replace Plaxico Burress.

Nicks is the fifth receiver to be selected in the first round. That leaves Rutgers' Kenny Britt, Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi as top receivers the Bears could consider at No. 49.

They have to wait 19 more picks before they are on the clock. It might be tough at this point for one of those three to sneak through to the Bears. Stay tuned.

Green Bay took another step toward making the move from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense by trading back into the first round for another selection. The Packers found a willing partner in New England at No. 26, dealing their second-round pick at No. 41 and more, to jump up and grab Southern Cal linebacker Clay Matthews.

Now, the Packers have defensive tackle B.J. Raji and a solid linebacker to plug in to their front seven.

Twenty-two more picks until the Bears are on the clock. Four of the top eight receivers remain available:

Hakeem Nicks
Kenny Britt
Brian Robiskie
Mohamed Massaquoi

Do the Indianapolis Colts take one here at No. 27? We'll see.

With the Minnesota Vikings adding Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin to a stacked offense, and the Detroit Lions selecting quarterback Matthew Stafford and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, should the Bears factor that into their decision with their first pick at No. 49?

The Bears need help at the last line of defense--free safety--and they needed help their before their rivals bulked up their respective offenses. The Bears have had trouble stopping Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Now, there is plenty more to worry about.

Missouri's William Moore and Oregon's Patrick Chung are believed to be options for the Bears at 49. Should they go safety even if one of the top eight receivers is available?

The Philadelphia Eagles traded up two spots with the Cleveland Browns to draft Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the third wide receiver to come off the board.

There are 13 more picks remaining in the first round. Cleveland, Minnesota, New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis and the New York Giants are some teams that could be targeting a wideout.

We would guess the Bears would consider one of these wideouts if they make it all of the way to No. 49:

Percy Harvin
Hakeem Nicks
Kenny Britt
Brian Robiskie
Mohamed Massaquoi

We'll see how this plays out.

The San Diego Chargers picked up a pass rusher to pair with Shawne Merriman as they made Larry English the first first-round pick in the history of Northern Illinois. English was the 16th overall selection

Our guess is Jeremy Maclin goes 17th to Cleveland and then the Bears' former pick at No. 18 will be on the clock.

Green Bay sat out almost all of free agency after making the move from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense. Well, they just got a big piece for that unit by drafting defensive tackle B.J. Raji out of Boston College with the ninth overall pick.

Raji will be squaring off against Olin Kreutz & Friends twice a season.

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