The Chicago Bears have 11 total picks in the 2008 NFL Draft: one in each of the seven rounds, an extra third-rounder after last year's trade with San Diego, and three compensatory choices in Round 7. In this version of JC's mock draft, the Midway Monsters address an aging offensive line right away.
Round 1: No. 14
OT Chris Williams – Vanderbilt
There's no hiding the fact that the Monsters of the Midway had arguably the worst offensive line in the league this past season, so getting better up front has got to be this team's No. 1 priority in the draft. John Tait
is still a pretty good player, but moving him back to his natural home on the right side would be a wise idea at this point and might extend his career. Williams can start right away at left tackle, protecting the quarterback's blind side and giving the O-line a jumpstart from an athletic standpoint.
Round 2: No. 44
DT Marcus Harrison – Arkansas
could develop into a solid run defender one of these days, but he's missed 31 of 32 games in two seasons and just can't stay healthy. Harrison is a classic one-gap tackle, capable of getting penetration in the backfield and chasing down enemy quarterbacks without the help of blitzers. Lovie Smith's version of the Cover-2 defense simply does not work properly unless he gets sturdy play from his front four, and this unit needs more depth right now.
Round 3: No. 70
QB Chad Henne – Michigan
This is not the year to reach for a quarterback because it's just not a very deep class overall, but the Bears catch a break here as Henne falls into the third round. Aside from Joe Flacco
of Delaware, Henne has the best arm in the draft and was able to step in and start right away as a true freshman in Ann Arbor. With Rex Grossman
and Kyle Orton
capable of handling first- and second-string duties, Henne can sit and learn for a year as the No. 3 and then possibly compete for the starting job in 2009.
Round 3: No. 90
RB Tashard Choice – Georgia Tech
The Bears were 30th in the NFL running the football this past season and dead last at just 3.1 yards per carry, and the ball-carriers deserve just as much blame as the offensive line does. Cedric Benson
was a disappointment as a starter and is still dealing with a nasty ankle fracture, but neither Adrian Peterson
nor Garrett Wolfe
is capable of stepping in as the full-time featured back. Choice runs much tougher than his relatively average size would indicate, always falling forward for an extra yard or two.
Round 4: No. 110
G Drew Radovich – Southern California
There is an immediate opening right now at left guard since veteran Ruben Brown
will not be back, and right guard Roberto Garza
won't be invited to the Pro Bowl any time soon. Terrence Metcalf
was a disaster stepping in for the injured Brown in 2007, forcing career tackle John St. Clair
into the starting lineup. Radovich has been playing in a pro system and should have a relatively small learning curve, as opposed to last year's guard selection in the fourth round, Josh Beekman
Round 5: No. 147
WR D.J. Hall – Alabama
The Bears might have one of the worst receiving corps in the league right now as presently constituted, so there is room for at least one rookie to possibly come in and compete. Hall has some off-the-field issues that pushed him down a round or two, but he was awfully productive for the Crimson Tide and seems to have a flair for the dramatic. Nobody on the current roster looks to be a true No. 1 target, although Hall is probably a complementary weapon at best in the NFL.
Round 6: No. 175
FB Jacob Hester – Louisiana State
While he may be limited in terms of physical skills, Hester is a throwback football player who plays the game as hard as any prospect in the draft. Even if he never materializes into much of a blocker as a fullback, he can immediately step in on special teams and make a difference on the coverage units. After starter Jason McKie
, backup Lousaka Polite
is hardly a lock to make the team and didn't do much his first year in Chicago, and Hester was the heart and soul of arguably the country's top collegiate program.
Round 7: No. 222
TE Joey Haynos – Maryland
and Greg Olsen
form one of the top tight end tandems around, so the Bears are in pretty good shape at this position. However, with John Gilmore
going to the Buccaneers in free agency, the offense needs a third tight end that can take over as a blocker and occasional pass-catcher in short-yardage and goal-line packages. Haynos needs to put on a little more weight if he wants to develop into that kind of player, but the upside is there this late in the draft.
Round 7: No. 243
CB Justin McKinney – Kansas State
Jerry Angelo selected two cornerbacks in last year's draft, as fifth-rounder Corey Graham
made an impact on special teams and seventh-rounder Trumaine McBride
played a lot of defense after the injury to starter Nathan Vasher
. Teams can never have too many cover corners, especially with the rules slanted toward throwing the football these days. McKinney is a hard-nosed defender who doesn't mind banging bodies with the big boys, a good quality to have for a Cover-2 defensive back.
Round 7: No. 247
S Roger Williams – Florida State
The organization continues to have faith in Mike Brown
despite his four-year battle with lower-leg injuries, so safety is ignored until the draft's final round. Williams is a centerfielder-type who is somewhat limited physically, but he's a heady player and knows how to read the quarterback's eyes. Danieal Manning
and Brandon McGowan
are solid players in this league, but Adam Archuleta
needs to be pink-slipped as soon as possible after such a brutal performance in 2007.
Round 7: No. 248
OT William Robinson – San Diego State
Drafting Williams in the first round filled an immediate need at left tackle, but it wouldn't hurt to add yet another young blocker to an over-the-hill group. Robinson is a little light to play tackle on Sundays and needs to become stronger in the weight room, but he can spend a year on the practice squad in order to get bigger and NFL-ready from a size perspective. Last year's seventh-round selection at the tackle position, Aaron Brant
, got hurt in the preseason and was given an injury settlement.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.