Round 3: No. 75
Illinois G Jon Asamoah (6-4, 300)
If there is one position where a rookie can come in as a third rounder and potentially start right away in Chicago, it's probably left guard. All signs point to incumbent Frank Omiyale
being kicked out to right tackle, his natural position, and despite the fact that fourth-year pro Josh Beekman
started all 16 games at left guard in 2008, his future is at center because Olin Kreutz
's contract expires after this season. Growing up a Bears fan at Rich East High School in the Windy City suburb of Park Forest, Asamoah would be quite the value if he lasts until Round 3 with his combination of brains and brawn.
Round 4: No. 109
Georgia DT Geno Atkins (6-1, 286)
With Israel Idonije
now a full-time end after the quick departure of Alex Brown
, the Bears are presently a little thin at the most important position on the field in their version of the Cover 2: three-technique tackle. Tommie Harris
did show flashes of his explosive self last season and should be the healthiest he has been in a while come 2010, but even at full strength, he can't be on the field more than 60 percent of the snaps or so. While he was inconsistent as a collegian, Atkins can work his way into the tackle rotation up front and might be a high-upside guy with some proper coaching.
Round 5: No. 141
Utah S Robert Johnson (6-2, 200)
Coach Lovie Smith
told everyone who was listening at the Scouting Combine that his team has to get better at both safety positions, and free safety in particular. Both spots have been a revolving door of late, and with no clear-cut starter established at strong or free right now, the opportunity is available for another rookie to show up and compete for a starting job right away – like sixth rounder Al Afalava
did a year ago. Johnson has already been to Halas Hall for a visit because he got snubbed for the combine this past February, and his center fielder-type skills would be a welcome addition.
Round 6: No. 181
Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley (5-11, 178)
Although the Bears are set atop the depth chart at cornerback, with Charles Tillman
on the left side and Zack Bowman
over on the right, the backups are a bit of a mess right now. Former Pro Bowler Nathan Vasher
was sent packing, Corey Graham
spent 2009 in the dog house and fourth rounder D.J. Moore
was a game-day inactive on a weekly basis. Not only was Lindley one of the top corners in the best conference in college football, but he could be a real bargain if there in Round 6 since he was given a second-round grade by many scouts following his junior year – injuries derailed his senior campaign.
Round 7: No. 218
Kansas State DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald (6-4, 270)
Free-agent addition Julius Peppers
has experience playing both left and right end, and even though he's on record saying he doesn't necessarily have a preference, common sense says he'll be on the right side with Brown now a memory. Idonije has never been a starter anywhere, and Mark Anderson
was a complete disaster as an every-down option back in 2007, so a rough and tough left end to develop for down the road makes sense. Like Johnson, Fitzgerald has visited team headquarters in Lake Forest, and while he will never be a pure pass rusher, he knows how to defend the run and shows good pursuit.
Note: These selections are based on team needs, draft value and, in some cases, which prospects the Bears have shown the most interest in thus far.
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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.