This is as close to a mock draft as you’re going to see out of me today. I honestly just don’t see the point of making a wild prediction or even a slightly educated prediction about every team that is likely to select a player today.
However given that I have been steadily covering the Bears’ draft needs and off-season activity since Day-1 of the NFL combine I will provide just some thoughts of how this day and the draft may develop for the Chicago Bears.
First of all I’ll cover some basic thoughts on the needs. The Bears obviously need a wide receiver, an offensive lineman with a bit of versatility (able to play more than one position) a free safety and a pass rushing threat.
The good news is there is a plethora of talent available at those positions that are likely to be there with the Bears select at the 49th pick overall in the second round. Most Bears fans who have followed this blog and other media outlets covering the draft hype up until this point know precisely what I am about to write next and for the most part everyone is about unanimous on the idea of who the Bears should take if things roll as we all hope they do.
There is a group of wide receivers that I have now taken to calling the big three. Not because they’re the three best WRs in the draft, nor the biggest players overall. They are the big three because they have been talked about and scouted and analyzed extensively by myself and just about every other Bears outlet. The big three are obviously Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks and Brian Robiskie, players that we hope and pray will fall out of the first round. All three are considered first round worthy selections, but the good news is not all three will be drafted in the first round. The question is if one of the three goes in the first round will the other two quickly follow in the early part of the second round?
That’s the ultimate and primary question Bears fans want to know and they’ll follow closely as the draft wears on. Most fans will be out working hard today with spring clean up projects, fertilizing the lawn, pulling up thatch, clipping off dead parts of plants and trees. All the fun stuff you do on a Saturday during the spring. Then the draft will start later this afternoon and fans will sit and start to watch the coverage on the NFL Network or ESPN. Each time a WR is taken off the board in this draft fans will start to grind the gears as to what the possible implications are for later in the draft.
Most fans hope that a lot of the first round is dedicated to players who don’t necessarily fit the needs of the Bears. Three QBs going in the first round would be a positive development. A slide in the draft by Percy Harvin would definitely hope the Bears out. A few DTs going in the first round would help out the Bears so on and so forth.
The key to the entire draft may be what happens from about pick 22 to 48 for the Bears. That is the area of the draft where members of the big three are most likely to go. A span of 27 picks that could arguably make or break the draft for the Bears in 2009.
Dream scenario: The members of the big three fall out of the first round leaving 17 picks between the Bears and landing the wide receiver needed to help put this offense over the top for the next three to eight years. One of them is left on the board at 49 the Bears make that selection and then start planning to fill the rest of the needs from the third round on.
Likely scenario: One or two of the big three will go to either the Colts Giants, Vikings or Titans. The Colts would like to find someone to replace Marvin Harrison and while not a lot of experts have the Colts grabbing a WR in their draft slot, no one predicted Anthony Gonzales would be the pick a few years ago either. The Titans have been working hard to get a receiver the entire off-season. Every time the Bears are mentioned as a suitor, the Titans are usually named in the same report. The Torry Holt sweepstakes, the Anquan Boldin trade talk, the Titans are in the mix. I have a feeling that either Britt or Robiskie will be the pick at 30.
What to do if all three of the big three are off the board? Well the Bears will not likely touch one of the next two receivers on the board that they have been linked to the most. Juaqin Iglesias and Mohammed Massaquoi while second round worthy are just as likely to be there at 99 as 49. That’s a lot of players between then and now.
Plan B: If the big three are gone the Bears can go after safeties Louis Delmas and Rashad Johnson, DE Michael Johnson or OT Phil Loadholt or Guard Duke Robinson. There is also talk of other pass rusher types being available af 49 that the Bears may look at. Larry English, Lawrence Sidbury are two that may be thoughts at that point in the draft if they fall that far.
Plan C: Trade down a way into the later part of the second round, grab a safety like Patrick Chung from Oregon and add a second third round pick. If the nine players most closely linked to the Bears are gon at 49 it may be a good time to consider trading down in the draft to avoid making a reach. Recouping a loss third from the Denver trade may give Jerry Angelo the chance of landing four future starters from this draft. Angelo’s plan is already to get three from the current crop of draft picks he has, the opportunity to add a possible fourth future starter may be to enticing to pass up if the value at 49 is gone.
The likelihood that one of the big three falls to the Bears at 49 is less than 50% and probably closer to 20%. Meaning that the other scenarios in this draft are a lot more likely. The Bears can get better value in the third and fourth round at WR if big three are off the board. Plus with other teams likely wanting to target players the Bears aren’t as high on, trading down remains a 50-50 option in my opinion.