Bears Fail To Address Biggest Hole

While the Bears used their first five selections on defense, tight end went without an upgrade. Despite getting little production out of the position, it appears the team will settle for an undrafted free agent or look to the waiver wire for help.

The Bears haven't selected a tight end since the 2002 draft. Ironically Bryan Fletcher never played in a single game for Chicago, but found a home in a reserve role with the Colts last season.

Fletcher caught 18 balls for 202 yards and three touchdowns with the Colts, which compares favorably to Bears starter Desmond Clark, who had 24 receptions for 224 yards and two scores.

It's now clear the Bears don't value the tight end position in their offense. Even though the position produced for just 28 receptions for 250 yards and three touchdowns, it appears the same group of Clark, John Gilmore and Gabe Reid will head to training camp.

In what was considered one of the deepest tight end classes in recent memory, there were 14 players taken at the position by the time the Bears made their final selection and 17 overall. However, the Bears couldn't find one worth a draft pick to compete with one of the worst groups in the NFL.

Although Clark is going to mini-camp healthy, even at 100 percent he's no more than a second option. The Bears finished 31st in the league in passing offense and have not added one skill player in the off-season to take pressure off the running game or quarterbacks.

Following the last draft pick, Angelo left the door open to bolstering the talent level at tight end.

"The thing you have to keep in mind too, with all these tight ends that were drafted today and with all these coaching changes, there's probably going to be a few players at that position that will be flushed out for one reason or another," Angelo said. "So we'll continue to look. And again, we want to create competition at the tight end position, just like we have at the other positions."

Instead the Bears decided to create stiff competition on the strongest part of their team. With five defensive players taken in the 2006 class, there's a good chance the Bears will be the team forced to let go of capable players that will latch on with other clubs.

"Once you get in a position where you like a lot of your players, eventually you have to cut some good football players," said Coach Lovie Smith. "We could get into that situation, but that's just saying that we're deep and we have a lot of good football players. I hope we get in that position where we feel that way about our team where we're having to cut good players."

In a best-case scenario Smith's idea would be true, but the weakness at tight end should have been addressed before being greedy on defense.

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