There were two tight ends that went in the first round last year: Maryland's Vernon Davis to San Francisco at No. 6 overall and UCLA's Marcedes Lewis to Jacksonville at No. 28. Lewis caught only 20 passes for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns as a rookie, but he missed six games because of injury and started to look pretty good the last four weeks of the season. Lewis was even less productive as a first-year player, totaling 13 receptions for 126 yards with 1 TD.
Olsen should be light years better than Lewis, who already has a reputation for being really lazy, but Davis could be something special with his incredible combination of size, speed, and strength.
Could you share your thoughts about Ron Turner? Do you think the system he is using has been successful? – CThomas1941 (El Salvador)
While nobody is going to confuse Ron Turner with an offensive wizard like Mike Martz, I believe he has done a very good job for the most part. Remember the Midway Monsters are, always have been, and always will be a franchise that focuses on defense and running the football. Gary Crowton tried to throw the ball all over the field when he was here as offensive coordinator, and not only did it not work very well, it seemed to rub many Bears fans the wrong way.
Turner's offense went from 29th overall in 2005 to 15th in 2006, and I believe the additions of Greg Olsen and Garrett Wolfe – don't forget the likelihood of Devin Hester playing a lot more offense – will give him the playmakers he needs.
What were your overall feelings about the Bears' draft this past weekend? Seems like most of the reviews are just so-so. – Bishop (Homestead, FL)
I did five mock drafts last week and didn't have Greg Olsen falling to No. 31 in any of them, so I believe getting him in the first round was a major coup. And although I loved the trade in the second round with San Diego to get all those extra picks, I just don't get why they took Dan Bazuin when they already have three pretty good defensive ends on the roster. I'm a Garrett Wolfe fan and think he has a chance to be a mini Maurice Jones-Drew, but he probably would have been there in the fifth round and had no business going on Day 1.
I liked the idea of stockpiling a few offensive linemen and defensive backs on Day 2, but overall, I'd give Jerry Angelo and his gang a B- at best.
Is there any talk about trying to speed up the draft? The first round was just way too long last weekend. – Stavros (Homewood, IL)
Last weekend was one of the longest in my journalism career, no question about it. I arrived at Halas Hall a little before ten o'clock in the morning on Saturday and finally left right about midnight, and then I was there another 10 hours or so on Sunday. Teams used to just make their pick back in the day if their guy was available, but now everybody takes the entire 15 minutes in Round 1 because they want to explore every trade opportunity.
I see no reason why the draft would be hurt at all if they cut the first round from 15 minutes per pick down to 10, but I'd be shocked if it actually happened since it makes for such good television.
It seems the Bears are constantly looking for talent without having to pay for it. The Patriots seem to have mastered this. I was wondering why the Bears, after having such luck with Rashied Davis, don't look at other leagues to find players? - ColeBear
It's not very often that you hear a success story like Rashied Davis coming from the Arena League and making an impact in the NFL, and even less often when someone like Kurt Warner comes out of nowhere to become a two-time MVP – that was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Simply speaking, the overwhelming majority of players in the Arena League or CFL are there for a reason, and that reason is that they're not good enough to play on Sundays. I'm sure there are a few guys out there with the talent to play with the big boys, but I think it would be foolish to concentrate the scouting department's resources anywhere else besides the college game.
Davis was brought to Chicago to be a cornerback and return man, so the fact that he's found a home at receiver is all the more amazing and probably won't happen again any time soon.
Which team do you think had the best draft, and which team do you think had the worst draft? – Raymond (Beaumont, TX)
You have to give Cleveland credit for doing the smart thing and taking Joe Thomas at No. 3 because he may have been the safest pick in the entire draft. Most Browns fans were resigned to the fact that they would have to choose between Thomas and Brady Quinn, so to then trade back into the first round and steal Quinn at 22nd overall makes them look like geniuses. Not only do you get a franchise left tackle and a potential franchise quarterback, but now they'll only have to pay Quinn a fraction of what it would have cost had they taken him at No. 3.
And although the players they added weren't so bad, you have to say that the Washington Redskins had the worst draft because they only had one selection in the first four rounds after carelessly throwing picks away the last few years.
How much do you think the defensive line will be hurt by the loss of Ian Scott? – Charlie (Mundelein, IL)
Ian Scott signed with the Eagles on Thursday after twisting in the wind as a free agent since the first week of March. I don't think the Bears had any intention of bringing him back because he just doesn't fit the mold of what head coach Lovie Smith likes in a defensive tackle. Scott is a very good player against the run and holds the point of attack as well as any Bears DT did a year ago, but his lack of pass-rushing ability hurts the Cover 2 system because there is so little blitzing.
I think they'll be just fine with Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson in 2007, but needless to say, both of them have question marks right now.
Is there any player the Bears got who could be a steal in the draft along the lines of Mark Anderson a year ago? – Lazenby (Tupelo, MS)
First of all, Mark Anderson had no business going in the fifth round last year, so the odds of finding another talent like him that late in the draft aren't good. If I had to pick one guy, I'd go with Kevin Payne, the safety out of Louisiana-Monroe that Jerry Angelo got in Round 5. If Adam Archuleta for some reason doesn't get the job done as that punishing strong safety that excels near the line of scrimmage, Payne has the big-hitting ability – and the right last name – to step in and contribute right away.
I know Payne came from the same school that produced Chris Harris, but he's a much more physical player and really knows how to lay the lumber.
Do you see a scenario where Chris Leak beats out Kyle Orton for the third-string QB duties? – Bobby (Champaign, IL)
Chris Leak may have been a four-year starter at a powerhouse program and led his team to a national title last season, but I'm telling you, he's not an NFL quarterback. He was the shortest QB at the Combine in Indianapolis and the third-lightest, and his arm strength was perhaps the worst of the 19 prospects that competed in throwing drills. I know Kyle Orton has fallen out of favor with many Bears fans because of that awful beard and his proclivity to get caught on camera chugging a bottle of Jack Daniel's, but he's a much better signal-caller than Leak.
And as a Seminole myself, the fact that Jerry Angelo drafted a Hurricane in the first round and then signed a Gator as an undrafted free agent hit me right where it hurts.
What was the highlight of draft weekend up at Halas Hall? – Derek (Crystal Lake, IL)
Jerry Angelo got a good laugh out of everybody on Saturday after the selection of Greg Olsen. One of the media members asked him if he had any reservation about drafting Olsen because he's represented by Drew Rosenhaus. Angelo was mid-diatribe when he proclaimed to us all, "This guy could screw up a one-car funeral."
The room was in an uproar for about a minute and provided some much-needed comic relief in the middle of a very long day.
|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.|