Prediction No. 1Receiver will be the choice in Round 2 only if a top prospect slides
There was no question whatsoever that wide receiver was the primary need for this team heading into NFL Draft weekend, but general manager Jerry Angelo didn't get the luck he needed at that position. He was really hoping a top-level prospect like Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt would fall to him at No. 49 overall, and maybe even Brian Robiskie, but all of them were gone at least a dozen or so picks before he was on the clock. So instead of looking at his board vertically and making a premature call for Juaquin Iglesias or Louis Murphy, Angelo took the horizontal approach and traded back with Seattle.
Not only did Angelo still get Iglesias later at the top of the third round with the 68th selection, but he picked up an extra choice from the Seahawks and strengthened his position on Day 2.
Prediction No. 2Draft may be more defensive than many think
Many experts believed an influx of offensive players would be the right thing to do in order to make new quarterback Jay Cutler even happier to be in the Windy City, but Bears brass recognized that their once dominant defense of a few years ago isn't nearly what it once was. Five of the first seven picks in the draft were defensive prospects, including three value picks that shouldn't have been available at the time of their selection: tackle Jarron Gilbert, corner D.J. Moore, and linebacker Marcus Freeman. Gilbert will fit into the rotation up front right away, Moore has very good ball skills despite his limited size, and Freeman is much healthier now than he was his senior season.
The Monsters of the Midway haven't been monstrous on D since that run to Super Bowl XLI, so a shot of youth to the depth chart was just what the doctor ordered.
Prediction No. 3Corner could be valued just as high or even higher than safety
With Mike Brown no longer patrolling the secondary, Bears fans are wondering if another Nebraska product, free-agent signee Josh Bullocks, is good enough to man the last line of defense. A pure free safety to challenge Bullocks and converted corner Zack Bowman certainly would have been a justifiable decision, but remember that both corner positions were a mess this past year. Charles Tillman is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Nathan Vasher has disappeared since signing that big-money contract extension in the summer of 2007, and Corey Graham hasn't been able to wrestle away a starting job permanently as of yet. And since neither Tillman nor Graham possesses the kind of instinctual ball skills Vasher displayed earlier in his career, adding Moore in the fourth round was a no-brainer.
Angelo did take a safety in Round 6 when he called Al Afalava's name, but he's a strong safety by trade and will likely only play special teams as a rookie.
Prediction No. 4Deals will involve trading down or picks next year
With so many well-publicized names still on the board in the middle of the second round, namely defensive ends Everette Brown and Connor Barwin, Angelo may have been tempted to perhaps package a pick from this year's draft – or even next year's – in order to move up a few spots and take one of them. However, Angelo said firmly that he never considered making an effort to trade up at any point, stating that he didn't have the ammo necessary after the Cutler blockbuster and simply wouldn't insult other GMs with a less-than-competitive offer. By the time he was finally on the clock in Round 2, he didn't like what he saw, called an audible, and made the deal with Seattle.
On the other hand, Angelo never thought about stockpiling for 2010 because he saw too much value on the board and liked the players that were falling to him time and time again on Day 2.
Prediction No. 5Never say never to a value at quarterback or defensive lineman
While we didn't hear the name of any signal callers on draft weekend, the Midway Monsters added not one but two defensive linemen: Gilbert in Round 3, and then Henry Melton in Round 4. New defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is charged with the responsibility of getting more out of an underachieving front four, and now he has two more cogs in the wheel to help him generate pressure on the enemy passer. Gilbert has the versatility to play outside on running downs and inside on passing downs, and Melton is a raw athlete still learning the D-end position.
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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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