Bears Need Playmakers

There are two receivers the Bears could consider with the fourth pick in the draft. Either former USC wideout Mike Williams or Michigan's Braylon Edwards would instantly become the top receiver on the team.

Playmakers at the receiver positions, both wideout and tight end, are a necessity, as is a quality left tackle.

The Bears could solve the left tackle problem, which was the key factor in allowing a franchise-worst 66 sacks, by flip-flopping $33.6 million right tackle John Tait. But if GM Jerry Angelo can acquire a solid left tackle, in free agency or the draft, Tait can remain on the right side, where he's more comfortable and more effective.

Especially if the Bears believe they can upgrade their disappointing offensive line by shuffling bodies, they are almost certain to target wide receiver with the fourth overall pick. Even if they can't, Angelo doesn't believe that his left tackle has to be a premium pick, citing the Patriots' second-rounder, Matt Light, as Exhibit A. And, since new offensive coordinator Ron Turner never made the tight end a priority in his schemes at Illinois, and there isn't one worthy of the fourth pick, wide receiver is the logical choice.

Assuming Angelo doesn't trade down more than a couple of spots, that leaves the Bears with two choices: Southern Cal's Mike Williams or Michigan's Braylon Edwards.

Here's a scouting report on both prospects.

Braylon Edwards School: Michigan
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 209 40: 4.50

Good: Physically impressive pass catcher who can be a one-man show and dominant force. Relatively quick releasing off the line of scrimmage, deceptively fast and stretches defenses vertically. Accelerates down the sidelines then runs away from defenders. Tremendous vertical leap climbing to snare the high ball. Adjusts to the errant throw or deep pass and makes the reception in contorted positions. Easily pulls the ball out of the air with several defenders draped on him. Physically beats down opponents to make the reception and strong running after the catch.

The Bad: Lacks focus, concentration and not always on the same page as the quarterback. Must be more cognizant picking up blitzes then becoming the hot receiver. Needs to improve his route running; choppy into breaks and not sharp. Must do a better job coming back to the quarterback and helping out.

The Skinny: Looking like a highlight reel at times, Edwards makes the tough reception on third down in the short field yet also displays the ability to break games open with long gainers down the flanks. Possesses all the physical skills needed to be a dominant wide out and to his credit slowly pulling the pieces together. Needs to smooth out the rough edges yet a prospect with a great amount of upside potential who could blossom into a Pro Bowler at the next level.

Mike Williams School: USC
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 230 40: 4.61

The Good: Big bodied, possession receiver unable to overcome several legal challenges to enter last April's draft. Strong at the point, easily beats jams at the line of scrimmage and runs adequate routes. Comes back to the ball, extends and comes away with the reception even when double-teamed. Displays great power in all aspects and a dominant force. Possesses soft hands, adjusts to the errant throw then looks the pass in.

The Bad: Slowly releases off the line of scrimmage and not explosive. Loses focus and concentration. Not a burner that beats defensive backs downfield in foot race. Does not attack blocking assignments.

The Skinny: Physically gifted and tremendously productive during his only two seasons at USC, Williams projects well at the next level as a prototypical possession receiver. Made a poor choice battling the NFL in court last April and could pay a price next year as he will slip down boards. Size is enticing as are his abilities in the red zone. Could potentially develop into a tight end down the road.


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