Smith and Angelo Talk Draft

One of the reasons head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo work so well together is their similar approach to the draft. The Bears have been one of the better drafting teams in the NFL lately, a trend they hope continues this weekend. Both Smith and Angelo addressed the media at the annual pre-draft luncheon at Halas Hall on Tuesday, and BearReport.com was there to hear what they had to say.

HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
On how long it usually takes to evaluate a draft class:
"It takes a few years to accurately judge a draft class. The fact that so many of our rookies were able to contribute last season was unusual. You usually don't know what you have until their third year. There's so much for the players to learn in the meantime. Our goal is at least to have the draftees play through the length of their contracts. It takes some players longer than others to get acclimated, so you don't want to judge them too quickly."

On what he is seeing on film from this year's draft-eligible players:
"There seems to be good speed in the draft this year. It appears that the college players are getting increasingly bigger, stronger, [and] faster."

On whether Tank Johnson will be disciplined for missing the offseason program:
"Tank will not be penalized for missing our preseason programs because, obviously, he is unable to attend right now. We don't feel that it will take him long to catch up once he returns. We have a very different policy for players who are unable to participate in our programs due to something they have no control over versus players who choose not to participate. We expect everybody who can be here to be here."

On what he expects from the returns of Dusty Dvoracek and Jamar Williams:
"Both have looked very good in the early practices here. With our inside tackle position, we could use a guy like Dusty. We could have used a guy like Dusty last year. It's unfortunate those injuries came around for both of them. Jamar, at the time he went down, he was making a move, too. So we're just excited about getting two other good football players in the mix. That was a good class last year. If we can have similar success with our draft this year, we're going to be in pretty good shape."

On what the Bears need to do to get back to the Super Bowl and win it:
"I think we all need to do a significantly better job on and off the field this year. We made it to the Super Bowl, but we couldn't finish the job. To get where we want to be, we need to be a better team overall."

GENERAL MANAGER JERRY ANGELO
On the difference between evaluating first-rounders versus other picks:
"The first-round pick is often a showroom car-type of a player who has good numbers from the Combine but maybe not as many good things on tape. Oftentimes, the tape is ignored in favor of those impressive numbers. In my mind, that's why a number of first-rounders don't work out that well in the NFL. The players in the later rounds have had their tapes analyzed very thoroughly by the teams who pick them. They seem to fit better into the systems overall."

On the future of Lance Briggs and the supposed trade rumors floating around:
"The door is open for Lance. I know that there have been plenty of rumors about him on the internet, but I haven't heard of any specific offers except for that earlier one from Washington. What happened at the owners meeting was a complete circus and does not set a good precedent for any contract negotiations in this league. There are specific rules, and that kind of thing has ramifications."

On the mudslinging tactics used by Briggs and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus:
"We intend to take the high road here and focus on what we can control. I think that ultimately we will be rewarded for our position on this. We want to move forward."

On whether or not Briggs would be accepted by the fans should he return:
"I can understand the fans emotions. They are upset and can't understand why a player would not want to be a Bear. But I think if Lance plays, they will come around in time. Lance is not a bad person. He feels that this is a business decision. My view? Ultimately, he's a football player. He's a Chicago Bear, and I would think it would be in his best personal interest to be the best Bear that he can possibly be. But that said, I would listen to offers if they would end up making us a better football team."

On why he feels he's had so much success with some of his later draft picks:
"They are more motivated. You don't fly them in. You don't give them the red-carpet treatment. You make them wear their name on their helmet with a piece of tape. So that's a good thing. There's no spoiling that player. It's like the seventh kid in a big family. He's not worried about what he eats. He just wants to make sure he's at the table. And I like that mentality."

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.

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