What We Learned: Pre-NFL Draft PC

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo talked to the media Wednesday to answer questions about the 2010 NFL Draft. Reading between the lines, what new intel did we gather? Here are five bullet points:

1. A safety that can cover will likely be one of the first two picks
General manager Jerry Angelo didn't beat around the bush when speaking to reporters Wednesday at Halas Hall, admitting that the Bears need help at the safety position – however, he still thinks Craig Steltz, Danieal Manning and Josh Bullocks are worthy of being starters in this league. Although Angelo and Co. aren't on the clock until No. 75 overall in Round 3, he has his eye on a few safeties he believes can come in and compete for playing time right away. According to Angelo, every team in the NFL is looking for safeties with coverage ability since offenses are throwing the ball more than they ever have before.

While he refused to throw any names out there, it certainly seems like Angelo will be using either his third or fourth rounder on a free safety prospect, so be on the lookout for names like Myron Lewis of Vanderbilt or Major Wright of Florida.

2. Angelo knows exactly who he is targeting in Rounds 3, 4 and 5
Suggesting he has to draft for need and can't necessarily just take the best player available, Angelo pointed out that he has four prospects targeted for his pick in Round 3, five prospects targeted for his pick in Round 4 and four prospects targeted for his pick in Round 5. Trying to figure out exactly who those players are is an exercise in futility, but it does lead one to conclude Angelo isn't going to grab a running back or linebacker even if a great one happens to fall in his lap – his goal for the draft is for the third, fourth and fifth rounders to dress each and every Sunday as rookies. Deductive reasoning says two of those picks will be a free safety and a guard.

As for the third of those three selections, a defensive lineman might be a good guess because Angelo lauded this draft for being particularly deep at both the end and tackle positions, with maybe nine going in Round 1.

3. Don't expect the Bears to trade up or trade down at any point
Because Angelo has a certain amount of prospects already targeted for his picks in Rounds 3-5, the odds of him making even a small move up the draft board to go after one particular must-have (South Florida safety Nate Allen?) are long. Not only does Angelo have precious little ammo left following the Jay Cutler and Gaines Adams trades, but if he wants a player near the end of Round 2, chances are a similar player will still be available near the top of Round 3. And since Angelo added a bunch of veterans via free agency, including the likes of defensive end Julius Peppers and running back Chester Taylor, there is little need to move down for the sole purpose of acquiring more choices – it's not like seven or eight rookies are going to make the final cut after the preseason.


TE Greg Olsen
AP Images: Dave Martin

Angelo also went out of his way to say he wouldn't be borrowing from tomorrow to help pay for today, meaning he's not going to trade away any picks in next year's draft unless a team approaches him with a Godfather-like offer he simply can't refuse.

4. Olsen isn't going anywhere and will be a big part of the offense
If there is one player currently on the roster that may be expendable and also have some value on the open market, it's probably tight end Greg Olsen since offensive coordinator Mike Martz likes three- and four-receiver sets. However, not only is Olsen not worth as much right now as some of the fans might think, but Angelo still believes Olsen is a talented player and has his best football in front of him. Regardless of scheme or system, Angelo reminded the media that his main responsibility is to outfit the roster with as many quality players as possible on a yearly basis, and Olsen is one of them.

Any rumors still lingering about the Bears trading Olsen to the Patriots for one of their three selections in the second round can be ignored – Angelo would be lucky to get a fourth rounder for him.

5. Expect some changes in front office personnel after the draft
Usually when the Bears conduct their pre-NFL Draft luncheon at Halas Hall, Angelo, director of college scouting Greg Gabriel and the coordinators are made available for comments. But this time, Angelo was the only member of the organization to take any draft-related questions – it's not like the McCaskey brothers were going to extol the virtues of the best-player-available approach vs. the filling-your-needs approach. When asked if there are going to be changes made upstairs, while Angelo didn't get into specifics, all signs point to Gabriel parting ways with the Midway Monsters after the draft is complete.

With regard to potentially hiring ex-Seahawks president Tim Ruskell, who worked with Angelo for years in Tampa Bay, Angelo neither confirmed nor denied that Ruskell may or may not be a part of the team's future in the front office.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter 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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