Other needs

Besides quarterback, the Bears need to improve the defensive line especially at the tackle position and the secondary.

The free agent market has a few good defensive linemen in it and recently, more defensive tackles have been made available through cuts by other teams. The following is a list of free agent defensive lineman available in free agency this year (ranked in order of performance):

1. Darryl Garner-Washington (Signed with Denver)
2. Gilbert Brown-Green Bay
3. John Thornton-Tennessee
4. Brandon Noble-Dallas (Signed with Redskins)
5. Russell Davis-Arizona
6. Michael Meyers-Dallas
7. Bernard Whittington-Cincinnati
8. Larry Smith-Jacksonville
9. Jeff Zognina-St. Louis
10. Cedric Killings-Minnesota

Of those lineman mentioned above on the list, the top two players who are still available are John Thornton and Russell Davis. Thornton played in a staunch Tennessee defense and Davis has potential to be a great defensive lineman. It is too bad that Daryl Gardner slipped through the cracks and got away. Either way it's doubtful the will sign a defensive lineman in free agency.

Free agency isn't the way the Bears should fill the need on the defensive line. The smartest way for them to fill this position is through the draft. There are plenty of defensive lineman available in the draft but almost all the "hard to pass up" linemen will be gone if the Bears do not select one with the fourth pick in the first round of the draft. Most likely the Bears will take a defensive lineman with that pick. So, who is the best defensive tackle the Bears could take in the draft with their number four pick?"

With Cincinnati likely to take Carson Palmer, Detroit leaning toward WR Charles Rodgers and the talk is that Houston will take T Jordan Gross. Leaving the Bears to select Jimmy Kennedy from Penn State with the fourth pick. Kennedy is a monster and would fit well in the Bears system if they decide to keep big tackles in the defensive line.

In terms of the secondary, the Bears could fix this problem much the same way they filled the quarterback problem and that is take a cornerback in free agency and draft one in a lower round April. The following is a listing of the top ten free agent cornerbacks available this year.

1. Chris McAlister-Baltimore (re-signed)
2. Kevin Mathis-Atlanta
3. Tod McBride-Green Bay
4. Tyrone Poole-Denver (Signed by New England)
5. Terrell Buckley-New England
6. Terry Fair-Carolina
7. Danion Sidney-Tennessee
8. Duane Hawthorne-Dallas
9. Juran Bolden-Atlanta

The number of cornerbacks in the free agent market is getting thinner so the Bears better start looking for one now if they will fill this need through this area. The top player left here is Kevin Mathis.

At this point it would be easier to sign a veteran corner rather than relying on the draft alone to solve their problems in the secondary.

The Bears have hinted they could use their number 4 pick in the first round of the draft in a few different ways. They have hinted at taking a quarterback, the Bears could take a defensive lineman, best player available and recently it has come up that they might take a cornerback. The Bears could look to take a corner in the third round of the draft.

It's hard to guess who might be around in the third round of the draft. Still, using a list of the top 100 prospects, assuming the Bears keep their position of 68 in the third round of the draft names like Shane Walton of Notre Dame and Kevin Garrett of Southern Methodist University could be available. Both are great and solid players, albeit not first or second material and should be around when the Bears make their third round selection.

Past the third round, the Bears will likely take a running back that has some speed and can catch the ball coming out of the backfield.

The Bears need to add depth in the later rounds, especially on the offensive lineman and linebacker with the recent departure of Rosevelt Colvin.

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