A Bear of a quandary

The world has spun on its axis quite a few times since the early part of the off-season. In that time, Jerry Angelo and the Bears have been seen coveting massive tackle <!--Default NodeId For Jimmy Kennedy is 328952,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:328952]>Jimmy Kennedy</A>, sack specialist <!--Default NodeId For Terrell Suggs is 318755,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:318755]>Terrell Suggs</A>, cornerback Terrence Newman and numerous quarterbacks.

The current flavor of the day is Kentucky's defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson. Robertson declared early for the draft and verified this move by posting workout numbers far and beyond those of his peers. Running the 40-yard dash in the area of 4.8, he's as fast as Suggs. With all that speed, he's a stout 320-pound fireplug capable of playing two-gap technique if necessary, and can out quick linemen to the hole. He's a terror disrupting the run, and fast enough to be a factor against the pass. With veterans Ted Washington and Keith Traylor showing signs of age and injuries, Robertson has emerged as the convenient, lowest risk pick for the Bears at #4. The scouts seem pretty high on him as well, noting that he was double-teamed for more than half of his plays.

The quandary, the Bears need help rushing the passer. Robertson was only able to manage 5 sacks last season. The draft is very deep at defensive tackle and the difference between Robertson and the rest of the tackles is not so great that the Bears couldn't address this position a bit lower. Finally, the slotted money for a player selected 4th is huge. This huge money might make more sense being spent on a position like quarterback or defensive end. Both positions need to be addressed in Chicago. The signing of Kordell Stewart is only a two-year deal, and not being viewed as a savior so much as a stopgap. Stewart's deal came relatively cheap; meaning that money could still be allocated to the position. Additionally, the difference from top quarterbacks Palmer and Leftwich to the 3rd tier of Ragone and Simms (let's assume Boller and Grossman are gone by the second pick for Chicago) is gaping. The same can be said of the difference from top pass rusher Terrell Suggs to the ends likely at the top of round 2 and later--guys like Dewayne White and Cory Redding.

Looking back to defensive tackle for a moment, if the Bears want to get a tackle who can rush the passer, which would make things better for them for a lot of reasons, they could still take one in round two, where Rien Long's stock seems to have fallen. Long is a 6'6" giant who has a knack for sacking the quarterback (13 last season), and a wingspan that would terrorize passing lanes over the middle. They could also look for Iowa's Colin Cole, who really shined in the biggest games last year for them, and a guy who's stout against the run but also has picked up 15 sacks over the last two seasons. There will be numerous other top quality tackles available when the Bears select in rounds 2 through 5.

I keep reading that the Bears will take Robertson at #4, and to me, I know that one or more of Palmer, Leftwich and Suggs will be there for them. If they walk away with anyone other than one of those three, I'll be severely disappointed. Yes, Robertson looks like he could be a very safe pick. Making this pick means they'll pass on either the next great defensive end, or the next great quarterback. The safe pick of Robertson is a promise to perpetuate the mediocrity of the quarterback and defensive end positions in Chicago for years to come.

Bear Report Top Stories