Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has his work cut out for him in the 2008 NFL Draft, with quite a few holes to fill on the roster as opposed to just adding depth like he did a year ago.
Assuming he remains at No. 14 in Round 1, there are bound to be several prospects capable of stepping in right away and making an immediate impact – mostly on the offensive side of the ball. A tackle like Chris Williams of Vanderbilt should repair what was a porous O-line this past season, while a tailback like Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois might be everything that Cedric Benson was supposed to be coming out of Texas in `05. There are even a few wide receivers who could be awfully tempting, especially since both Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad are having their mail forwarded to new addresses.
One of those receivers is Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma, although Angelo would be wise to cross Kelly off his wish list after a weak showing at his Pro Day in Norman – and the fact that he blamed everyone but himself afterward.
Kelly ran a pedestrian 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, not nearly fast enough for a player considered an elite talent at a position where a premium is placed on speed. Apparently, he had been training on AstroTurf at the Mosier Center, while the actual workout was done on field turf at the Everest Indoor Training Center. Field turf is the same surface used for the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, which is why Everest was considered a more accurate test of Kelly's wheels.
WR Malcolm Kelly
Sue Ogrocki/AP Images
Instead of expressing disappointment in his numbers, Kelly blasted the Oklahoma coaching staff for not informing him just where he would be running.
"Certain people have tried to hold me down, and they know who they are," Kelly told The Oklahoman after his workout. "I wouldn't say the whole OU coaching staff. But certain people, I would say that."
Yet Kelly didn't stop there. He went on to accuse team doctors of misdiagnosing a partial quadriceps tear as a deep thigh bruise, which prevented him from training for the draft until March. Kelly wasn't able to go in the Fiesta Bowl this past January, although he maintains he could have had he been properly treated for his injury in the first place.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops defending his program when he was informed of Kelly's comments.
"I don't think that is fair," Stoops said. "A lot of deep tissue injuries take a while to figure out. Our doctors do as good a job as anybody in the country. Regardless of what his injury was, misdiagnosed or not, it was a deep tissue injury. He never played. It isn't like he played a game and re-hurt it. He would not have done anything different than he's done, which is rest it for a long period of time, which he did, and rehab it."
The Midway Monsters don't scare anybody through the air as presently constituted. Mark Bradley and Devin Hester are both flooded with talent, but Bradley has been inconsistent during his career and Hester is still learning the nuances of the position. Veterans Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd were added in free agency, even though neither can be considered a primary target at this point.
That being said, while Kelly may be regarded as the top pass-catcher available and worthy of the 14th-overall selection, his prima donna attitude justifies Angelo passing on him even more so than his poor Pro Day performance.
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.