Second Strategy: Who Was Available?

By all accounts so far, the Chicago Bears did quite well with their nine selections in the NFL Draft. But just for kicks, who are some of the other prospects that were on the board at each of those nine draft positions? Bear Report wonders if they missed out on any potential gems. What about these guys?

Round 3: No. 68

Since the Midway Monsters have had so much trouble getting after the quarterback the last two years, perhaps a pass rusher like Michael Johnson (70th) of Georgia Tech would have been a better addition than San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert. Even though GM Jerry Angelo loves Gilbert's ability to play both inside and outside, he's slated to line up at the same position currently occupied by both Tommie Harris and Marcus Harrison. Johnson lacks polish but could be a monster at end.

Round 3: No. 99

Since bigger and stronger cornerbacks are an ideal fit for head coach Lovie Smith's Cover 2, Donald Washington (102nd) of Ohio State may have been right at home in a Bears uniform. Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias has all the makings of a possession target in the passing game, but there aren't many scouts that believe he can develop into a legitimate No. 1. At a shade over six feet tall and a sturdy 198 pounds, Washington plays the run with Charles Tillman-like aggressiveness.

Round 4: No. 105

Angelo admitted to some degree Sunday that he reached a bit for Henry Melton, an inexperienced defensive end from Texas who was originally a big running back for the Longhorns. Instead, he could have gone with Arizona wide receiver Mike Thomas (107th), who was one of the more impressive performers at the Scouting Combine and was described by ESPN's John Clayton as a faster Steve Smith. Thomas may have turned into Jay Cutler's new Eddie Royal.

Round 4: No. 119

While most experts believe the Bears stole Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore this late in the draft, odds are he won't see the defensive huddle very much as a rookie. North Carolina State running back Andre Brown (129th) also slid a little, but he has an excellent chance to be a complementary weapon right out of the shoot. At just over six feet and a bruising 224 pounds, he appears to have more to offer right now than current backup Kevin Jones, who can't shake the injury bug.

Round 5: No. 140

If Matt Forte is going to be all he can be both running and receiving, then a punishing blocker in front of him would be a welcome addition. Sure, Abilene Christian wideout Johnny Knox brings 4.29 speed to the table, but he played at the Division II level and will have a lot to learn before being ready to contribute in the NFL. LSU fullback Quinn Johnson (145th), on the other hand, was a dominant force in the SEC and can clear a path better than incumbent Jason McKie already.

Round 5: No. 154

Just like with Moore a round earlier, the Bears couldn't say no to Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman at this spot since he represented the best value on the board. But there is a better chance for a rookie to play right away at free safety than linebacker in Chicago, which is why Clemson's Chris Clemons (165th) might have been the way to go here. Angelo remarked after the conclusion of the draft that pure free safeties are hard to find. That's exactly what Clemons is.

Round 6: No. 190

Although the Bears currently have a pair of recent draft picks, Kevin Payne and Craig Steltz, on the depth chart at strong safety, Angelo threw a third draftee into the fold with Oregon State's Al Afalava. Some believe Afalava might be able to convert to free safety, although his highlight reel suggests he's most effective in the box. Since Kyle Orton turned out to be a quality QB for the franchise, another Purdue passer, Curtis Painter (201st), might have brought some good vibes.

Round 7: No. 246

The idea of a 300-pound offensive lineman that has the athleticism to play tight end sounds great, but San Diego State's Lance Louis is a long shot at best to make the 53-man roster with Desmond Clark, Greg Olsen, and Kellen Davis in front of him. This D rotates its linemen a lot, meaning a penetrator like Clinton McDonald (249th) of Memphis may have a better chance of sticking. He's undersized and needs to play with better pad level, but Smith likes his tackles lean and mean.

Round 7: No. 251

It's hard to believe the Bears went nine selections on Day 2 without addressing the offensive line, even after signing three veteran tackles in free agency. With two receivers chosen, taking Pittsburgh's Derek Kinder here was somewhat of a head-scratcher despite his physical tools. Cincinnati guard Trevor Canfield (254th) has good size at 6-4 and 307 pounds, runs well enough to be effective on pulls and traps, and plays with that nasty attitude coaches love to see in the trenches.


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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.


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