Commentary: No guts, no glory in Bears' draft deal

The day before NFL Commisioner Paul Tagliabue would have announced the Bears' highest draft pick in 24 years at No. 4, Chicago dealt that pick to the New York Jets in exchange for two first round picks (13 and 22) plus a conditional pick.<P> Was it a savvy move for more depth or a dubious duck out of the limelight of high expectations? Most importantly, how will the Packers be affected by their North Division rivals' move?<P>

Friday's deal gives the Bears a total of 12 picks including three of the first 35 choices.

"We liked our options better having the extra first-round pick rather than staying at four," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "We now have three of the top 35 picks in the draft and are confident we will get three quality players." Right. He forgot to add that now the team and their pick won't be under such intense media/fan scrutiny as a No. 4 pick would have been.

And now the Bears won't have to solve the dilemma of whether they should draft Kentucky defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson or Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs.

At No. 13, Chicago may still opt to take a defensive tackle such as Georgia's Johnathan Sullivan, Penn State's Kevin Williams, Florida's Ty Warren or Miami's William Joseph. That

This is a strange draft indeed, and some analysts have said that the true top-notch talent goes less than a dozen deep. So why would Chicago opt out of their prime spot?

The last time they traded down in a similar position, they dealt the No. 7 pick to Washington for the No. 12 spot plus a slew of other choices. At No. 12, they got Cade McNown. The last time they picked 13th (1996), they had traded down from No. 8 and came up with cornerback Walt "Toast" Harris. In doing so, they passed on WR Marvin Harrison and RB Eddie George.

The Bears' two previous No. 4 picks are already NFL Hall of Famers: Dan Hampton (out of Arkansas in 1979, and Walter Payton, out of Jackson State in 1975.

Hmmmm.... Cade McNown at No. 12 and Harris at No. 13. Hampton and Payton at No. 4.

But that was then and this is now. The Bears have burned themselves before in the draft. Of the three first-rounders still on the team (the most recent three), only LB Brian Urlacher is a big victory.

The bad news Bears factor for the Packers is that at No. 13 and especially 22, Chicago can grab a player that otherwise could have landed in Green Bay. Then if that pick produces, the Packers will face him twice a year. Previously in the 4 spot, the Bears would have taken a player that no way would have been available for the Pack. Sure, the domino effect would still mean the Packers will lose some desirable players to teams choosing in the 20s, but at least it wouldn't have been the Bears.

For example, some players that could interest the Bears at that slot include Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant, Utah offensive tackle Jordan Gross or Georgia outside linebacker Boss Bailey. With the exception of Bailey, the Packers had outside hopes with those players.

The biggest effect is likely to be in the much-hyped QB derby. The trade likely will give the Bears a chance to choose a quarterback such as Cal's Kyle Boller or Florida's Rex Grossman in the first round. With Kordell Stewart on board, the Bears now have similar needs as the Pack for a QB of the future. At No. 4, they could have selected Byron Leftwich, but wouldn't have spent the pick on the QBs that the Packers possibly are looking at in the late first round. Now they're in direct competition and most likely will eliminate the QB from the Packers' list.


WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories