Surprises part of the draft

Bears brass has been meeting over the past few days finalizing the draft board. However even the best-laid plans can go by the wayside when a changeup comes into play.

"You can have everything charted out, then the surprises start to come," Jerry Angelo said. "That's when you start working those phones. What usually happens is that the draft tends to take on a life of its own. Somebody will choose a RB, then all of a sudden, every team wants one.

The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to move up from the 28th pick to acquire Steven Jackson, who is projected to go to the Denver Broncos with the 17th pick. Even in a deep draft moving back that far would hamper the Bears options to acquire a top player.

"Fifteenth is about as low as anyone would be willing to go," Angelo said. "There can be an unexpected run on a particular type of player. Somebody you wanted might be gone earlier than you had hoped, but a top player at another position might still be around."

That happened last year when 8 defensive linemen went in the first 15 picks. The Bears took Michael Haynes with the 14th pick last year and could address the front-four again this time around.

Vince Wilfork and Tommie Harris are the two top rated interior linemen in the draft.

"A physically gifted DT would be one way to go," Angelo said. "We'd want someone with great instincts and experience as well as speed. Wilfork is one name that you've been hearing a lot these days. He'd be an excellent fit here, but will he still be available when it's our turn? Nobody knows at this point."

The top priority is to speed on both sides of the ball.

"We want to be a faster team, a quicker team," said director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel. "We're looking for athletes regardless of the position. If the guy is an athlete and he can run and do things and make an impact then he's going to help us."

Angelo admits with USC WR Mike Williams out of the draft that Washington's Reggie Williams is an option in the first-round.

"Reggie makes the tough catches and he has tremendous speed off of the ball. We like his size as well as his athletic ability," Angelo said.

Success in the opening rounds is critical to building the core of a team. However in a salary cap driven league, finding talent in the later rounds not only addresses need areas and adds depth, but is key to remaining competitive.

"You always want to find that diamond in the rough," Angelo said. "Somebody who will be an immediate producer for your team. We were very lucky last year and found that 7 of our rookies were able to assume starting positions during the season. The usual rule of thumb though is that your first and second choices should be able to contribute right away."

Angelo has been hit and miss in rounds one and two, which needs to improve. Marc Colombo looked to be the left tackle of the future before a knee injury has endangered his career. Roosevelt Williams was a bust as Angelo traded down from round two to take the cornerback early in round three. The same year Angelo did draft Alex Brown and Bobby Gray, who both figure prominently in the team's plans.

Last year's third round choice Lance Briggs was a steal. Joe Odom could be a starter a year after being taken in the sixth-round. Fellow fifth-round picks Justin Gage and Bobby Wade contributed as rookies and look from a more expanded role in the Bears new offense.

"You're usually willing to give those chosen in the third round and beyond a little more time to develop," Angelo said. "What you don't want to do is to get locked in to any one position. You don't want to say ‘I have to have that player.' Then if he's gone, you're scrambling. You are always checking every bit of information before the pick. You want the best available athlete, one who fits your needs, in each round."

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