On-the-field and off-the-field announcements could be made
This is usually a good time for the team to announce some of the decisions that have been made in preparation for 2010, both on and off the field. On the field, Smith will probably address whether or not left guard Frank Omiyale has been moved to right tackle, which could alter the team's approach to free agency and the NFL Draft. Off the field, Angelo may declare the hiring of former Seahawks president Tim Ruskell as the new director of player personnel, a story reported Tuesday by ESPN but yet to be confirmed by the organization.
While there was already a conference call with Mike Martz discussing his arrival as offensive coordinator, reporters are yet to have a chance to ask questions about the promotion of Rod Marinelli from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator.
Players of interest from the Senior Bowl can impress even more
On the offensive side of the football, is Chicago a serious contender for a former Pro Bowler like LaDainian Tomlinson or Brian Westbrook as No. 2 to Matt Forte in the backfield, or will Joique Bell of Wayne State be impressive enough to warrant a selection in Round 3 or 4? Defensively, how closely are team scouts going to be paying attention to tackle prospects like Georgia's Geno Atkins and Texas' Lamarr Houston, and will that in any way be an indicator on the future of Tommie Harris in Chicago? Since there are rumors Julius Peppers could be entertained in free agency, does that mean pass rusher Austen Lane of Murray State is no longer worth a roll of the dice in April?
Among the offensive linemen singled out by Bears scouts, Vladimir Ducasse of UMass is another small school-type that can put himself in the conversation with strong workout numbers in Indy.
Look for NFL-ready talent – no projects, please – this time around
That was the case in 2009 with each of Chicago's top four selections: defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert (Round 3, No. 68 overall), wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias (3, 99), defensive end Henry Melton (4, 105) and cornerback D.J. Moore (4, 119). The Bears got absolutely nothing out of that quartet as rookies, and if not for fifth-round receiver Johnny Knox and sixth-round safety Al Afalava, the entire draft class would have been considered a monumental bust after Year 1. With no picks in the first or second round because of previous trades, Angelo has to consider players with a little less upside if there is a greater chance they can make some sort of impact right away.
That may eliminate the aforementioned Lane and Ducasse, but Atkins and Houston can likely be a part of the defensive tackle rotation immediately.
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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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