Posts Tagged ‘Kenny Britt’

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The Bears trade the 49th pick in the draft to Seattle

April 25, 2009

The Chicago Bears made a move downward as had been rumored by the Chicago SunTimes this morning the Bears traded the 49th pick in the draft to the Seattle Seahawks.

Trying to recoup picks from the Jay Cutler trade landed No. 68 in Round 3 and No. 105 in Round 4 from Seattle.

The trade means the Bears will not be selecting on the first day of the NFL draft today. We’ll have more on possible selections later tonight. Looks like the Bears may go with a WR in the third and address more needs on defense in the third and the fourth rounds.

Angelo came out and said that the Bears did try to get a deal done for Anquan Boldin. They spoke at length with the Arizona Cardinals but were unable to come to an agreement.

They had hoped things would fall better for them regarding some of the WRs they were targeting. They were obviously looking at Nicks, Robiskie and Britt. Two of those three went in round one, Robiskie early in round two and Mohammed Massaquoi went #50 to the Cleveland Browns immediately after the Bears traded 49 to Seattle.

Some of the other players off the board include Phil Loadholt the OT from OU, Sherrod Martin the safety from Troy, William Beatty the OT from UConn, William Moore the safety is off the board. Paul Kruger the DE from Utah is now off the board as well as David Veikune a DE from Hawaii I covered extensively at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The trade means the Bears will not be selecting on the first day of the NFL draft today. Looks like the Bears may go with a WR in the third and address more needs on defense in the third and the fourth rounds.
We’ll have more on possible selections later tonight.

Chicago Bears Draft Day Thoughts

April 25, 2009

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.

The Percy Harvin Effect

April 23, 2009

Word as most draft fans know is beginning to circulate that Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana use at the NFL combine back in February. Harvin by most accounts is considered perhaps the most explosive offensive weapon in the draft and arguably a Top-15 pick in this weekend’s draft.

So already speculation has been building as to the possibility of Percy Harvin sliding all the way to the Bears at the 49th slot of the second round. I can answer this question emphatically and in a way that hopefully will put all of the speculation to rest, NO. Percy Harvin will likely not fall out of the first round of the NFL draft because to many teams see to high a value in him as a prospect and a player.

Charlie Casserly reported tonight on NFL network’s path to the draft show that three teams he already spoke with said that if Harvin begins to slide into their area he IS THEIR GUY at that draft slot. Surely they will have to answer to Harvin’s positive test, but the risk/reward factor for them will be to great to pass up. Harvin is an extremely valuable and multi-dimensional talent that will make a group of fan’s very happy when he does begin to fall in the draft.

For me personally I think Harvin is overrated and think he’ll be one of the 50-percent failure rates that happen every year in the NFL draft. I see Harvin and I see Peter Warrick from Florida State. The speed and the ability in the open field is uncanny and it’s why I look at him with a huge skeptical eye. For me the character concerns even compound the fact that I wouldn’t draft him all that high.

Now the next question generated by the speculation surrounding Harvin might be does he fall far enough to the point where the Bears can trade up to get him later in the first round? As I discussed in this previous blog post about the Bears’ trade options in moving up that idea is also nearly impossible. Most of the ammo the Bears had to trade up with they gave up in the trade for Cutler.

Now with that first part of this blog out of the way, there is reason to believe that Harvin’s positive drug test can positively effect the Bears’ chance of landing a good player in the draft at 49th overall.

A few scenarios I’d like to touch on real quick are pretty easy to follow and likely make the most sense regarding our Chicago Bears:

A) Percy Harvin could slide in the draft to a team that likely would have taken a Hakeem Nicks, Brian Robiskie or Kenny Britt.

What I am saying here is that the Bears have been targeting three solid receivers who project well not only for the Bears’ draft needs, but could have realistically slid to the 49th spot in the NFL draft prior to the Harvin news. Now that the Harvin news has come out there is a team in the first round that will pass on Percy Harvin for another player who has Harvin’s overall value in round one. They will grab the next best player that fits into their needs that is on their big board. This will cause Harvin to begin his slide in the NFL draft to a team that may be likely to take one of Nicks, Robiskie or Britt in the first round.

B) That team will draft Harvin instead of one of those three

Since Nicks, Britt and Robiskie will begin to slide in the draft as a consequence to Harvin’s sliding it means one of those three will be closer to where the Bears are drafting at 49th overalll in the second round. A team that would otherwise be taking Nicks, Britt, or Robiskie late in the first round will now pass on them. Taking Harvin late in the first round and causing the

C) The increase in the likelihood that Britt, Robiskie, or Nicks does fall to the Bears at 49.

There was already by most accounts a chance that one of the BIG THREE will fall to the Chicago Bears. The three that have been scouted over, discussed, profiled, worked out by the Bears coaching staff and scouting personnel over and over again. These three perfectly fit the type of receiver the Bears are looking for in the first place. They fit that role that is open opposite Devin Hester who more closely resembles Harvin’s game-changing explosiveness in the open field.

The likelihood has now increased, by how much? I can’t precisely say, and no one really knows. But the good news for right now is that helped the Bears out at least indirectly. Hopefully on Saturday it will be come a direct positive effect in which the Bears benefit by landing one of the big three receivers that we have been discussing since the end of the NFL scouting combine nearly two months ago.

Higher priority for the Bears wide receiver or pass rusher?

April 21, 2009

Right now both the wide receiver and pass rusher/under-sized DE position is one of the deepest pools of talent in this draft. Plus there is recent talk that certain pass rushers may be falling out of the first round and falling into the second round leaving the Bears on quite the quandary come draft day.

While there is little doubt that the Bears’ offense severely struggled due to the lack of a premiere pass catcher in 2008, conversely the defense lost games because of a lack of a pass rush. You can literally point to three to four games where a lack of a pass rush lost games where as the passing game was consistent enough to win games for the Bears. Plus the addition of Jay Cutler will only help the current roster of receivers improve.

All that is true but the most recent development is the recent talk that premiere pass rusher Larry English’s stock has begin to fall. Apparently at 6-foot-2 255-pounds English is to small to line up as a DE, but when you think to stand him up as a 3-4 OLB suddenly he’s to slow. Not a good problem to have if you’re Larry English, but a nice problem to have if you’re the Chicago Bears.

Why? Because English is a fearsome pass rusher, plain and simple he has speed of the edge and is going to succeed in this league. Pass rushers that are as explosive off the edge as English is are at a premium. If a team is foolish enough to pass English because he doesn’t fit into the ideals of size and speed then that’s their loss.

Another player who fits the mold of a Larry English who I can personally attest to being a great player coming out of college is Terrell Suggs at Arizona State. Suggs didn’t work out at the combine so all his eggs were in one basket at the his ASU Pro-Day. I was there personally to witness Suggs pro-day first hand with all of the NFL scouts in attendance including Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo. Suggs that day went out and ran his 40-yard-dash in the high 4.8 second range. He was as high as 4.87 on some watches and as low as 4.72 on other watches. But the consensus for Suggs was that 4.8 was as good as it was going to get for his 40-yard dash time. I personally clocked Suggs in the 4.93 40-yard dash that day in the hot sun on Astro turf at ASU.

So Suggs went from a sure fire top-five prospect to a player who steadily fell until the Ravens traded up to grab him. A few years later Suggs is a 3-4 OLB who is a consistent Pro-Bowl level player. That to me is the type of player Larry English is that burst off the edge, as Mike Mayock calls it running the arc. That is where pass rushing money is made, not in the 40-yard dash times that so many people zero in on, but that 10-20 yards a DE needs to run to sack the QB.

Two other players who fit into that late first round to mid second round category who could be considered pass rush specialists are Connor Barwin and Aaron Maybin. Both have that size at 6-foot-4 245 to 255-pounds but may fall in the draft because of their timing in the 40-yard dash or their raw abilities may fall. There is little doubt that three are pure pass rushers with threat motors.

Then there is the Brian Robiskie, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks problem. One of those three could fall as far as 49, but all three are deemed late first round worthy. There is the sense that the three together fall into nearly the same category, late first round to second round WR talent. They are among the 35th to 50th best players in the NFL draft in the scope of overall talent. They have been covered in Bears draft talk ad nauseam since the end of the NFL combine in late February. All three would be great big strong receiver who could work the underneath routes with Devin Hester taking care of the deep routes.

So while the consensus near unanimous opinion is that the Bears should take a WR with the second round pick at 49. The question is what do you do with a great pure pass rusher still on the board?

Prospect Preview WR Kenny Britt

April 9, 2009

Is it all possible that Kenny Britt will still be on the board when the Bears draft in the second round? The 49th pick overall is the first pick the Bears have in the draft, after the Jay Cutler trade. What is the potential that they would trade up to land a prospect like Britt at the back end of the first round or the front end of the second round?

We won’t have these questions answered until the day of the draft, but this much is certain based on Britt’s size, speed, athletic ability and his rising stock he may be one of the most intriguing prospects the Bears are scouting personally.

Ron Turner took in Kenny Britt’s pro-day personally, plus the Bears worked him out privately to even further evaluate this 6-foot-3 210-pound wide receiver prospect. Britt is intriguing because in everything he does, he does it well. At his pro-day he dropped one pass the entire workout session, and improved his 40-yard-dash time running a 4.48 and a 4.47. He showed solid hands the ability to keep the ball out in front of him instead of letting it get into his body. Plus he is a strong receiver a great prospect for his run after the catch ability and a player who is not afraid to go over the middle and bowl over CBs and safeties to get those tough extra yards. Perhaps the most underrated aspect of his game is his willingness to block in the run game.

Some of the negatives reported by scouts are that at times he drops passes from a lack of concentration and his route running is not as polished as scouts would like. The thing is you really have to dig deep to find negatives about Kenny Britt because he has shown to be productive and consistent. His production level doesn’t lie
rec yards avg TDs
2007 13 62 1,232 19.9 8
2008 12 87 1,371 15.8 7

Plus he is the all-time leading receiver in the Big East conference.

Mike Mayock of the NFL network rates him as the fifth best WR prospect on the draft board which is about as high as I’ve seen him rated.

Areas of concern some scouts say his hands aren’t as consistent as you’d like. Plus there are rumors of attitude problems and a cocky attitude that may cause him to slide on some draft boards.

Personally I don’t think is a real lack of a problem from Britt when you see his level of production throughout his career. Not every prospect the Bears will be scouting will be an ideal top-5 prospect who comes in and makes an immediate impact on the level that a lot of fans are hoping for. Receiver is a very complicated position to learn and develop in, but you take probably the best positives you can find out of a prospect and make your draft decision based on that.

Britt fits that role almost ideally to what the Bears need, he is tall, long arms, big hands and again the willingness to block is what the Bears need in this offense in the first place.

Fans can come along and nitpick Britt for this or that, prospects at this point have been analyzed again and again. Negatives can be found on even the best of them. But for my money I am comfortable with any receiver the Bears go after that has the attributes that Britt brings to the table.

Chicago Bears Pro Prospect Private Workout List

March 30, 2009

Bear with me I am going to attempt to put together a list of prospects that are being invited to Halas Hall for further review beyond just their Pro-Day and combine evaluations. The list will be a constant work in progress and I can promise it won’t be 100% accurate because lists like these are kept pretty quiet for the most part. Some information has been leaked so I’ll attempt to keep a running tab on who is coming and who has been here. The Bears are allowed 30 private workout visits per draft scouting period and are currently at 20.

If there is any player that I missed that you have heard is coming to visit Halas Hall feel free to share you comment in the comment section of this blog post.

Updated April 1st to include WR Mohammed Massaquoi and OL Lance Louis
Updated April 2nd to include WR Derek Kinder
Updated April 4th to include WR Juaqin Iglesias, DB Sherrod Martin, DB Anthony Scirrotto, DT John Gill, WR Brian Robiskie
Updated April 5th to include RB Aaron Brown DB Ellis Lankstser
O-Lineman

Rich Ornberger
Phil Loadholt
Eben Britton
TJ Lang
Lance Louis
Louis Saucedo
Dennis Conley
Mark Lewis

RBs

Aaron Brown
Ellis Lankster

WRs/TE

Hakeem Nicks
Kenny Britt
Brian Hartline
Taurus Johnson
Brandon Myers
Jason Chery
Brandon Gibson
Mike Wallace
Mohammed Massaquoi
Derek Kinder
Juaquin Iglesias
Brian Robiskie
Julian Edelman

QB

Todd Boeckman

D-Lineman

Henry Melton
Jamaal Westerman
John Gill

LBs

Maurice Crum
Nathan Williams
Russell Allen

DBs

Michael Mitchell
Al Afalava
Anthony Scirrotto
Sherrod Martin

NFL Network puts the Bears on the clock

March 21, 2009

The NFL Network’s Path to the Draft show is essentially a prospect and team preview show that happens every day for half an hour. It’s better than any of the crap on ESPN because it encompasses real analysts who have played the game and gasp a real former GM. So when you’re getting opinion on these players from these guys at least they’ve been there done that or have made a living off of doing it. Instead of the Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay pissing match you get real in-sight and analysis on the players. Plus it’s not a five minute segment that they do on ESPN’s sports center where you have to watch the douche bag commentators on there who are trying to be as witty and funny as Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann were. Never can beat the original.

So with that in mind they’re addressing the Chicago Bears’ first round team need at O-Line, WR and apparently QB. Until the Bears have a hall of famer under center well the majority opinion is that the Bears will need to draft a QB. There’s a quick mention of the Bears’ last four first round draft picks, Tommie Harris at 14, Cedric Benson at 4, Greg Olsen at 31 and Chris Williams at 14. Benson being the biggest bust of the bunch Angelo made up for it immediately before cutting him by drafting Matt Forte last year.

The analyst brought in to talk about the Bears is Dan Pompei. There’s a major advantage the Bears have in already holding mini-camp, they know how well some of the players have stayed in shape in the off-season. Additionally they know whether or not the players on the roster are serious about football and how it is a year round job. Pompei immediately dives into the Bears’ need at OT. Pompei’s opinion is far different than mine, he seems to have completely bought into the argument that Frank Omiyale was brought in to strictly compete at left guard. That’s pretty funny because Omiyale has never played guard in his career and earned his money based on his ability to play OT for the Carolina Panthers. The media has fallen for the smoke screen that Jerry Angelo put out there regarding Omiyale. Angelo puffed up the smoke screen because he wanted to not publicly apply pressure to John St. Clair that they had already found his replacement. They did find his replacement because after one day at guard, Omiyale moved over to RT immediately upon St. Clair signing.

Omiyale would have likely supplanted a starter and it wouldn’t have been Josh Beekman because Beekman didn’t play as bad as St. Clair did last season. Plus you can be safe in the starting five being what it would have been last year had Chris Williams not been injured. Williams will be an upgrade over St. Clair and Omiyale might be an upgrade over Tait, because Tait aged so fast.

Pompei next has to answer to the column in which he wrote about “If Jay Cutler is available the Bears should pursue him. To which Pompei has to essentially back track on that column with more support towards Kyle Orton than he originally intended to give when he wrote the column. They wax poetic about the Jay Cutler trade, to which the question immediately shifts to, do the Bears take a QB at 18 or a OT. Ummm…the consensus is the Bears need a WR or an OT at 18. Kyle Orton is fine as a QB, his production slipped due to injury. He played five games he likely shouldn’t have because his production in those five games where he was injured was better than what Rex Grossman would have been healthy. That says a lot about Grossman that a hobbled Kyle Orton is better than you.

Pompei not the subject matter expert you would expect here. He says Angelo likes to draft lineman and is pretty good at drafting lineman. Yeah perhaps D-Lineman but certainly not O-Lineman. Angelo has only drafted two OTs in the first round in drafts that he was allegedly a part of in his career (including Tampa Bay and Chicago). One OT had a decent career and is currently a free agent, the other had injury problems forcing the Bears to release him, but now he’s a multi-year starter in Dallas. Angelo’s evaluating strength is on defense rather than offense, let’s be clear on that immediately.

So who would Dan Pompei take at 18 if an OT was available? Eben Britton from Arizona. Pompei’s opinion is that he could man that RT spot immediately because he’s big and strong and help in the run game. Uh Britton was rarely asked to run block the last two years at Arizona. They ran most of their offense out of the Texas Tech passing spread offense. So there wasn’t a lot of creativity with their run plays at the UofA. To say Britton can stick his hand in the dirt and be a run blocker is a bit ignorant when the guy comes out of a pass first pass heavy offense. The same questions arise when people talk about Jason Smith at Baylor because he played in the spread too.

So apparently in this segment Dan Pompei has no clue to which he speaks he talks in generalities and football cliches about players of which he has no clue about what they are like or what system they come from. This is not to say Britton wouldn’t be a good pick at 18, it’s just saying his strengths lie elsewhere beside run blocking. To add to my point the high-lights they show of Britton show him run blocking, albeit out of two point stance. He stands in his two point stance essentially giving the DE the idea that he’s going to pass block, the DE shoots up the field and Britton simply walls him off like it’s a draw play. Britton already has the inside advantage because the play is going to the opposite side of where the defender is attacking, advantage to the blocker.

Sticking your hand in the dirt and firing off the line when it’s a HB-Iso or zone blocking running play is much more important to the Bears than being able to fool the defender by making them think you’re going to pass when in fact it’s a run call. Neither the host of the segment or Pompei has a clue about this little common sense difference between OTs who come from a spread offense and OTs who come from a pro-style offense.

Pompei’s next line of thought as to who the Bears might select at WR if they go that route at 18 is Kenny Britt from Rutgers. He might be a bit of a reach at 18 but I could definitely see him in the second round. Britt is as Pompei says the perfect compliment to Devin Hester, he’s big fast and catches the ball well. If the Bears don’t trade down, but can trade up into the earlier part of the second round to take a WR like Britt after they draft an OT at 18 that’s a good strategy as well.

The next question is why the Bears were not more active in free agency and Pompei is a better subject matter expert on this than most of the Bears related talk we’ve heard to this point. Pompei has spoken to Angelo at length and he essentially stated that this is the worst free agent class he’s ever seen. Why were the Bears not more active, when the GM feels like it’s the worst free agency class ever, there’s your answer. Rightly or wrongly Bears fans Angelo is the GM and is getting paid for his judgment and based on that football knowledge and judgment the Bears didn’t go on a spending spree to add average to marginal level talent. They did add players that are marginal or average, but they did so in a cost effective manner.
History will prove Angelo right or wrong on this call so we’ll see how things go.

So to wrap up the segment of the Bears on the clock with Dan Pompei as the subject matter expert the Bears may look at Eben Britton or Kenny Britt at 18. WR and OT are the most important aspects to this franchise, heading into the draft. Although if I’m making the call it’s a player like Hakeem Nicks at 18 and maybe a Phil Loadholt in the second round.