I believe Greg Olsen and Garrett Wolfe, the two offensive players taken on Day 1 of the draft, are going to be big contributors right away. As far as the Day 2 prospects, we can eliminate Josh Beekman and Aaron Brant because they're not going to start on this offensive line just yet. I also think we can throw out the two corners, Corey Graham and Trumaine McBride, because the depth chart there is pretty strong already. So by the laws of subtraction, that leaves me with fifth-round safety Kevin Payne as being the best of the second-day picks this season.
Payne will obviously struggle for playing time at safety considering the names in front of him, but he has a reputation as a big hitter and could be a demon for coach Dave Toub on special teams.
What truth is there about the Donovan McNabb trade? I think it's not going to happen, but if it did, I think the asking price would be too much. Have you seen anything in mini camp that would suggest Rex Grossman is going to have a bad season? – CThomas1941 (El Salvador)
The cynic in me says that a beat reporter in Philadelphia ginned up a story based on some out-of-context comments he got either from McNabb himself or someone in the Eagles organization. Let's face it, guys like me need to write about football 12 months a year, and the dead period between mini camp and training camp can leave even the best media-types searching for material. I'm sure if asked GM Jerry Angelo would say something to the effect of, "I'll explore any deal that makes us a better football team," but no, I don't believe any talks have actually happened.
Just because the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb on Day 1 doesn't mean that they'll be in any hurry to move their franchise QB, and even if they were, the asking price would probably be two No. 1 picks.
You wrote this week that Alex Brown doesn't deserve to be benched, but should he be traded, what could the Bears get in return? – Ryan (Hoffman Estates, IL)
You're right, I don't believe Brown deserves to be benched because he's a very well-rounded player, is loved in the locker room, and has always been a team-first kind of guy. And since Mark Anderson was so good as a rookie in a reserve role spelling both Brown and Adewale Ogunleye in passing situations, why change now? Throughout last season's playoffs, all three were getting about the same number of snaps anyway and played pretty well for the most part.
Trading Brown makes even less sense because the Bears won't be able to get anything in return that can help them this season, but since he's under contract through 2009 at very manageable salaries, he might be worth a fourth-round pick next year to another team.
So how did Devin Hester look on offense at mini camp? I heard good things about him. – Gary (Hammond, IN)
You could make the argument that Hester was the single-most impressive player on either side of the ball last weekend. He needs a little work on his route-running and was confused coming out of the huddle a few times as to where he was suppoed to line up, but he caught everything thrown his way and was fast as ever in the open field. I'm not expecting him to catch 60 balls this season, but he'll no doubt make some big plays and a few more additions to his already incredible highlight reel.
Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has some tricks up his sleeve in order to get the ball in Hester's hands as often as possible, so look for a new wrinkle to be unveiled every week.
Do you think Mark Anderson is ready to start for this defense? And what happens to Alex Brown now that he's not the starter? Do you like this move? - Jasper (Moultrie, GA)
I sort of covered this in a previous question, but for my dollar, I loved Anderson as the backup behind both Brown and Ogunleye because of his speed and athleticism. He obviously had a ton of success as evidenced by those 12 sacks, and I believe a lot of that success came from the fact that he was a tough adjustment for offensive linemen who had been dealing with Brown and Ogunleye beforehand. There's no guarantee that Anderson's productivity will instantly increase just because he's starting now and getting more shaps, and quite honestly, I'd be willing to bet that he doesn't reach double digits in sacks this year.
Brown will now move to the No. 3 defensive end, substituting for both Anderson and Ogunleye and should still get plenty of action on D.
We've heard about all the players that looked great in mini camp last weekend, but in your opinion, who didn't look so good? – Othello (Tinley Park, IL)
I was shocked at how Mark Bradley played pretty much all three days. Bears fans have been waiting for quite some time for him to finally stay healthy and be the explosive player we all know he can be, but he was dropping balls left and right all weekend long. He was moving pretty well and seems fully recovered from the knee and ankle injuries that have hindered him the last two seasons, but he just looked lost and wasn't getting very much time with the first-team offense.
We all know that Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian are going to be the starters at receiver, and with Rashied Davis getting better and the addition of Hester, I don't see Bradley being a big part of the offense right now.
I'd like to know if there is a possibility that we'd see Adam Archuleta as the WLB and Danieal Manning at FS on passing downs if Michael Okwo or Jamar Williams can't do the job. – HipCheck28
So many people seem to think that Archuleta moving from safety to linebacker, either permanently or just in certain situations, is a brilliant idea. I know he played linebacker at Arizona State, but that was a long time ago. He's a very good player and has proven to be quite successful in head coach Lovie Smith's system, so expect him to be the starter at strong safety while Mike Brown moves back to his original spot at free safety.
And personally, if I were playing quarterback and saw Archuleta lined up as a linebacker, I'd audible to a run in a heartbeat because the Bears would be awfully small on defense and somewhat vulnerable with that personnel on the field.
Why haven't we heard anything about Tank Johnson's suspension yet? It seems like the Commissioner made up his mind faster with Pacman Jones and Chris Henry. – Rusty (Traverse City, MI)
I expected to have that decision come down from the Commissioner's office this week, but for some reason it hasn't happened yet. If I had to guess, I'd say the longer it takes to make that decision is probably a good sign for Johnson because he probably made a quality impression on Roger Goodell and seems genuinely concerned about turning around his life. Jones, on the other hand, made his case for the stupidest man on the planet by visiting yet another strip club the night before he met with The Commish.
I came away very impressed with what Johnson had to say last Friday when he addressed the media at Halas Hall, and as I've written before, I find myself instinctually pulling for him.
Nobody is expecting any of the other teams in the NFC North to be any good this season, but do you see any of them challenging the Bears? – Shannon (Champaign, IL)
I know Brett Favre didn't seem to be too happy with the way his Packers approached the draft and free agency, but I think they could be a team on the rise. The running game is a question mark right now with the departure of Ahman Green, but he is not the player he used to be and might not even be as good as backup Vernand Morency at this point. Pro-Bowl receiver Donald Driver could use a parter in crime on the other side of the field, but Greg Jennings showed some flashes this past season and might be a pretty good one before long.
Green Bay was 12th in the league in total defense last season, and with the addition of Justin Harrell in the trenches and the maturation of A.J. Hawk at linebacker, I believe the green and gold could give the Midway Monsters a run for their money.
So what do you do in the offseason to make money? – Travis (Jacksonville, NC)
"Goat herding. But the goats pretty much keep to themselves, which leaves one with a lot of time to read."
|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.|