Value over need

Wide receiver may not be the Bears biggest need, but it could be their best value with the 14th selection in the draft. GM Jerry Angelo is debating between filling a need on the defensive line and taking the best playmaker available.

Charles Rogers and Andre Johnson were the second and third picks of last year's draft and they'd carried grades of 6.51 and 6.50, respectively, from Pro Football Weekly. They were two of three receivers with grades of 6.0 or better in 2003.

This year, PFW ranks three receivers at 6.70 or better, and seven receivers at 6.0 or better. In other words, it's a great year for receivers.

Jerry Angelo took in the workout of one of the receivers with a plus 6.7 rating on Thursday. The Bears GM was in Florida as USC receiver Mike Williams who ran twice, the first result was in the high 4.5's, the second was in the low 4.6's. The conditions were not exactly ideal for running drills with winds of at least 10-12 mph.

Williams appeared to be in much better shape than expected. He measured in a shade under 6'5 (6047) and 228 pounds, which is nearly 20 pounds less than he weighted six weeks earlier.

The Maurice Clarett decision paved the way for Williams to enter the NFL draft as a sophomore. Two productive seasons at USC saw Williams haul in 176 receptions for 2,579 yards and 29 touchdowns.

An NFL source said Williams has helped himself solidify a spot in the top-ten but probably not in the top-five because of his lack of solid speed. In fact, the source added Roy Williams may have moved ahead of Mike Williams in the overall top WRs citing not only the 40-time but overall maturity and discipline.

However with other players moving up the draft board including N.C. State QB Phillip Rivers, one of the Williams' could fall to the Bears.

Angelo is trying to cover all of his bases as this week he's brought in defensive tackles Vince Wilfork-Miami and Tommie Harris-Oklahoma, both of whom could be gone by the time the Bears are on the clock. The team has also met with Virginia Tech CB DeAngelo Hall.

While defensive tackle still seems like the Bears top need heading into the draft, there are also questions at receiver behind Marty Booker. David Terrell is the man opposite Booker at this point, but that could change dramatically before the start of the season with the addition of a first-round draft pick to push him in training camp. Not to mention Justin Gage showed he has playmaking ability averaging nearly 20 yards per reception in his rookie campaign.

"We're not going to say no to anybody," Angelo said. "The level is such that we don't want to leave a level to take a need so to speak. If the level of the player is a wide receiver we're going to look at that real hard. We don't want to drop a level to take maybe a position of greater need if you can be at that level. We're looking at value and taking the best value. That's what we like to do."

The best case scenario for Angelo and the Bears would be for either Harris or Wilfork to be there in the first-round. Because the receiver crop is as deep as it's been in years there should be several viable candidates available that would normally go in the first-round but with the amount of talent available fall to the second-round.

"This is a very, very good receiver group," Angelo said. "This arguably could be the best. You go back to when Tim Brown, Michael Irvin and Sterling Sharpe came out, this is very comparable, very, very strong."

Some of the receivers that could still be on the board in round two are Lee Evans-Wisconsin, Michael Jenkins-Ohio State, Michael Clayton-LSU, Devery Henderson-LSU and Rashaun Woods-Oklahoma State.


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