But, that said, I was happy to see Manning go first. He's from a fine football family and he deserves a productive future in the NFL.
As far as the Bears draft is concerned, once again I have to give Jerry Angelo credit. The team has made some additions that should prove to be impact players in the not so distant future. Both Tommie Harris and Terry Johnson are aggressive and quick with proven records of success. I don't think it's at all bad that the Bears got two DTs in the early rounds. They need strength at that position to fold in the pocket and let the defensive ends find the quarterback.
I know there were some rumbling over Johnson's supposed character issues. This is the type of situation where you simply have to trust the scouts. In the best case scenario, they have checked this out thoroughly and have reported their findings back to Greg Gabriel, the Bears director of college scouting. You never want somebody who is not a team player. If Gabriel, Angelo, Ron Rivera and Lovie Smith are satisfied with Johnson's attitude, then I think the rest of us should give him the benefit of the doubt.
Bernard Berrian seems to be a good choice as well. His record at Fresno State is a strong one. He seems to have good hands and runs solid routes. He's an excellent replacement for Dez White at that position and should give the Bears many more options on the deep routes. I see Bernard as a good overall fit for Lovie's system.
Nathan Vasher, small but seemingly effective. The Bears did so well last year with the addition of Charles Tillman that we can only Vasher will turn out to be even half the player. From what I hear he's tough and fast and can make up in vertical ability what he might lack in height.
I am very pleased with the Craig Krenzel pick. He's a really smart guy and has a proven record in big situations. He led Ohio State to a national title and was the MVP in that game. Angelo said he was the best available in that round and I believe him. The Bears have been notoriously poor at drafting quarterbacks with the exception of Jim McMahon and Rex Grossman. I think that Krenzel will be an excellent backup and a good complement to Grossman.
Claude Harriott isn't someone I know a whole lot about but if he has speed, then he's good addition to a defensive line that needs depth.
The same is true for Miami CB Alfonso Marshall. A smaller CB but one who seems versatile and quick. He comes from a good school and should fit in fine with the Bears. Both of these picks are in keeping with Smith's emphasis on quickness and versatility over bulk or height.
So as I see it, things are looking good. Of course as I said last week, the draft is such a gamble. Sportswriters love the entire process because they can write pretty much anything they want. Nobody will remember what they said once September rolls around.
Overall this could even be a better draft then the one that produced seven starters a year ago. Harris and Johnson should help Brian Urlacher. That will lift the entire team. We'll just have to wait and see until these players actually hit the field in Lake Forest, but from my vantagepoint, Angelo proved that he is a football guy. An egotistical football guy, but that's beside the point. Through the draft and free agency, Smith has been given the chance to build a team that fits his parameters. It will be fun to find out how all of this turns out.
Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69.