You could certainly make a case that the two biggest needs on offense are guard and tackle because the offensive line is getting old, and I'd be willing to bet the Bears take one of each on draft weekend. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle makes some sense because of the uncertainty surrounding that position, and another linebacker would be smart especially if Lance Briggs is shown the door. I'm not sure Jerry Angelo will take a skill-position player on offense at No. 31 unless a gem falls in his lap, but expect him to go after a tight end, wide receiver, or tailback on Day 1. The starters are already in place at those spots, but quality depth is needed.
The offense was obviously better in 2006 than it was in 2005, but Rex Grossman could definitely use another playmaker.
Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden was on the NFL Network this week and said he made that interception in the Super Bowl because he knew what play was called. Ron Turner apparently ran that stop-and-go all the time at Illinois. Is this possible?
– Mickey (Crete, IL)
I didn't see that interview with Hayden, but I've heard about what he said. That was the play that essentially ended Super Bowl XLI, as Hayden intercepted Grossman and then weaved his way down the left sideline for a crushing touchdown. Now that I think about it, he was in much better position to make the catch than Muhsin Muhammad, the intended receiver on the play. College teams don't do near the film work that is routine in the NFL, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Hayden recognized the formation from his days in Champaign and had a pretty good idea that the stop-and-go was coming.
That being said, the INT never would have happened in the first place had Grossman simply thrown the ball away because Muhammad was not open.
What are the chances the Bears make a run for Daunte Culpepper if he gets released by the Dolphins? Do you think they would or even should? – Niyoma4Real
Not too long ago, Culpepper threw 39 touchdown passes against only 11 interceptions and was regarded as one of the top weapons in all of football. If it hadn't been for Peyton Manning breaking Dan Marino's record with 49 TD passes that season, Culpepper would have been MVP of the league. He sustained that devastating knee injury with Minnesota in 2005, and even though he tried to fool us into thinking he was ready to go in Miami last season, he was not even close to fully recovered and did not look like the same player. The Dolphins are now primed to deal for Kansas City's Trent Green and waive goodbye to the Culpepper era after one failed season.
I'd be shocked if the Bears went anywhere near him because of the way it could potentially shake up the QB depth chart, plus he's been nothing but ineffective and injured since he and Randy Moss parted ways.
What player that nobody is talking about do you think can surprise everyone and be great for the Bears next year? – Steve (Rome, GA)
Assuming that Briggs is not in the fold for 2007, I really believe Jamar Williams can step right in and be pretty effective at weakside linebacker. If you remember back to the preseason last year, he looked really good when he was out there and made a couple big plays. Williams also performed well on special teams in the regular season before going down with that shoulder injury in Week 3 that sent him to injured reserve. Lovie Smith's system tends to make it very easy for the WLB to make a ton of plays, and the former Sun Devil has the speed and athleticism required to fit in well.
Briggs himself was nothing more than a third-rounder and wasn't very highly regarded coming out of Arizona, so it's possible that this system played the primary role in his success.
With Tommie Harris injured last year, Tank Johnson in legal trouble and Dusty Dvoracek basically a rookie, I think we should seriously consider investing our first- or second-round choice in a DT. Who do you think, if anyone, is worth the 31st or 37th pick? Are there some good DTs we could get in the latter rounds? – CThomas1941 (El Salvador)
I personally think the Bears moved defensive tackle down their list of priorities after signing Anthony Adams away from San Francisco, but Johnson can't be counted on right now with his situation. In terms of who might be available at No. 31 or No. 37, Justin Harrell of Tennessee and the two Florida DTs, Ray McDonald and Marcus Thames, could be on the board. Louisville's Amobi Okoye and Michigan's Alan Branch should be long gone by the time the Bears are on the clock. On Day 2, Derek Landri of Notre Dame is an all-effort guy and should be there in the fourth or fifth round, and Quinn Pitcock of Ohio State could be there in the firth or sixth and seems to play well in a two-gap system.
The Bears usually opt for smaller, more athletic DTs that can shoot gaps and occupy several blockers, so don't look for any 350-pound behemoths in Chicago any time soon.
Are the Bears talking to anyone in free agency? It seems very quiet. Way too quiet. Is anything going on behind closed doors, or is there nothing to tell? – RaeBear72
After the initial wave of free agency that began on March 2, things have cooled off considerably. There is usually very little player movement this close to the NFL Draft because teams can fill some of their holes with rookies that don't cost near as much as most veterans will. The list of decent players available is pretty weak right now, too. Why should the Bears invest decent money to sign the likes of Ernie Conwell or Christian Fauria to be a backup tight end when they can maybe draft Zach Miller in the second round or Ben Patrick in the third?
Ian Scott still hasn't received a lucrative offer even though he's made a lot of visits with interested teams, so I guess it's possible that he could come crawling back to Chicago and sign for a lot less than he thought he was worth.
It's been rumored that the Giants are offering No. 20 for Lance Briggs, but the Bears want more. It's also been rumored that the Bills might give up No. 12, but then they would want more. Assuming this is true, what would you do if you were Jerry Angelo? – Chuck (Murray, KY)
I've said for quite some time that the Bears simply have to trade Briggs now because we're past the point of no return. He doesn't want to be here, and based on what I heard at Fan Convention a few weeks ago, the Grabowskis don't want him anyway. I'd be very satisfied getting the No. 20 from the Giants because I could target either Joe Staley from Central Michigan at tackle or Ben Grubbs from Auburn at guard. It would probably cost an extra fourth-or fifth-rounder in order for Buffalo to say yes and surrender No. 12, but I think the Bears would be ecstatic if they could land either Staley or Grubbs without having to sacrifice a later pick.
The more I look at it, the more I think the Washington deal won't happen because Dan Snyder's front office lackees might subdue him with chloroform on draft day to keep him from doing anything stupid again.
Is Brady Quinn due for a Matt Leinart-like fall in the draft? Or worse yet, Aaron Rodgers-like? – Lonnie (Houtzdale, PA)
At the beginning of the college football season, Quinn was considered to be the favorite for both the Heisman Trophy and No. 1 overall. And while he struggled in some big games as a senior, he didn't officially start sliding down draft boards until he was thoroughly outplayed by JaMarcus Russell in the Sugar Bowl. I believe it all comes down to Cleveland at No. 3. If they pass on him, there's a very good chance Quinn could stay on the board for a while because the Vikings appear committed to Tarvaris Jackson and the Dolphins are apparently not overly impressed.
Personally, I'd be shocked if he made it out of the top-10 because some team will trade up to get him at that point.
I saw that J.T. O'Sullivan looked pretty good his first game in NFL Europa. What are the odds he gives Kyle Orton a run for his money as the third QB? – Benny (Aurora, IL)
Playing for the Frankfurt Galaxy, O'Sullivan completed 17 of 23 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Amsterdam Admirals. He's spent time with the Saints, Packers, Vikings, and Patriots in the NFL, yet he's never truly proven to be good enough to play at the highest level. O'Sullivan is pretty mobile and can make plays out of the pocket, but Orton has a much better arm and is more of a natural pocket passer. And while Orton was pretty bad in training camp last season, I believe he would have to be nothing short of atrocious this time around to lose the third-string gig.
But everybody knows you throw out the records when the Galaxy and Admirals get together, so give O'Sullivan some credit.
Any chance you're heading to New York City for the draft next weekend? – Deke (New Lenox, IL)
Although the NFL Draft is one of my favorite weekends in sports, I am still yet to actually attend the event. Actually, I hear it's a big buzzkill despite the throng of superfans that show up every year. I'll be spending pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday at Halas Hall in Lake Forest because the Bears have open access to the media from start to finish. There will be lots of free food, which is a prerequisite for members of the press to show up anywhere.
We'll be doing a feature story on whomever they take in the first round as well as a snippet on all the draftees for the next issue of Bear Report Magazine, so be on the lookout for that.
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|