Listed below are the positions that the Bears need help the most.
2. Defensive Lineman
4. Offensive Lineman
6. Running Back
The listing above is how the need looks now even as we are a little over a week into this free agent period. I would expect this list to change soon, especially at number one if (but I say when) the Bears take a quarterback in free agency. The need should then move down to number 2 or 3 on the list as I fully expect the Bears to take a quarterback in the second or third round of the draft.
The quarterback situation for the Bears is obviously the most urgent priority. There can be no doubt that the Bears will take a free agent quarterback but who will they sign. Jake Plummer has already passed them by and Jake Delhomme has signed on with another team.
That basically leaves them with Kordell Stewart, Jeff Blake and Shaun King (Brian Griese is also in the mix but Chicago would probably wait until he is released in June) to choose from. The Bears could be naming their new quarterback within the next few days but who could it be? There has been a lot of talk about who might grace the Bears quarterback scene next year and I think that it is almost a sure bet that Kordell Stewart will be the one the Bears sign from the free agent market. Why? I think the fact that Stewart knows he will be the starter in Chicago is all he needs to make his decision. It appeared that he was pretty impressed with the Bears. I think he will choose Chicago no questions asked.
So now with a free agent quarterback, the need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the draft becomes less pressing. With the signing of a free agent quarterback, I would not look for the Bears to try to get Palmer or Leftwich in the first round but take another quarterback in the second. So who might the Bears take with their pick in the second round of the draft? Depending on who falls to the second round, I would think that the Bears would choose either Chris Simms of Texas or Dave Ragone of the Louisville Cardinals. Both Ragone and Simms impressed the scouts who attended their workouts in Indianapolis. It is this writer's belief that the Bears, (providing they do not select a quarterback in the first round) will select, if available, Dave Ragone. This is also contingent on the whether another team takes Ragone before he lands in the Bears lap (and the Packers might be a team that takes him before the Bears do).
If Ragone were gone, I would look for the Bears to take Chris Simms. So with the quarterback situation now solved it is time to concentrate on whom the Bears would take in the first round of the draft if they do not take a quarterback.
In the next edition we'll examine the other Bears need areas.