Is More Talent on the Way?

While the Bears had six players named to the Pro Bowl, only three will participate in the game. The trio will feature the work that GM Jerry Angelo has done in building a topflight defense.

Angelo has proven to know defensive talent. In four drafts Angelo has drafted three Pro Bowl players on that side of the ball: LB Lance Briggs, DT Tommie Harris and CB Nathan Vasher. He's also found players like RE Alex Brown and DT Ian Scott in the fourth round.

Although the defense finished 2nd in the league rankings and the offense 31st, there's a good chance Angelo will try to address both sides of the ball this off-season.

"I think we've allocated quite a bit to the offensive side right now," said coach Lovie Smith.

Free agency could add talent at wide receiver and in the return game. However, Angelo has proven he likes to build his defense through the draft. Of the 11 starters on defense, 9 have come through the draft and Angelo has been responsible for pick accept MLB Brian Urlacher and S Mike Brown. He also found SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer on the waiver wire.

Help in the secondary and depth at linebacker appear to be the top needs on defense. Angelo has proven to have a keen eye for potential in both areas. Vasher came as a fourth round steal in 2004, while Briggs went in the third round the previous year.

Angelo waited until the sixth round to draft a defensive player in 2005, but still found Chris Harris, who went onto to start 13 games at free safety.

The scouting combine is two weeks away and will give a further indication of the team's game plan in free agency as well as the draft. During the Senior Bowl, Chicago scouts spent a great deal of time talking to offensive linemen, tight ends and cornerbacks.

If Angelo does decide to go offense early in the draft it would most likely come at tight end. The crop is deep enough to find talent down the line, but there could be a future Pro Bowl tight end in round one.

Needs often change following free agency, as was the case last year when the Bears signed WR Muhsin Muhammad. The addition opened the door to taking RB Cedric Benson with the fourth overall pick.

The Bears have one selection in each of the first six rounds of this year's draft, with the first pick being the 26th overall.


Bear Report Top Stories