Bears weighing multitude of draft options

Concerns about the hairline fracture in his lower left leg that hobbled him during the second half of the 2002 season have cast Byron Leftwich's draft status in question for the past several months.

But according to Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, Leftwich's personal workout Monday in Florida was probably enough to make the Marshall quarterback a top-10 pick.

"Physically he's in good shape," Angelo said of Leftwich, whose 40-yard dash times were between 4.84 and 4.9 seconds, more than adequate for a 6-foot-5 1/2-inch, 242-pound quarterback. "He's not a mobile quarterback, but I didn't need to see his workout to tell me that. That's not his forte. His weight was good, and he broke 5 flat, (and) he's still rehabbing, so I don't know how much training he's been able to do."

Leftwich's 40 time isn't as impressive as Cal's Kyle Boller or Southern Cal's Carson Palmer, each of whom has been clocked around 4.6 recently, but it's comparable to the other top eight or nine quarterback prospects.

Anyway, it's Leftwich's arm that has him rated as one of the top three quarterbacks in a draft that could see six or seven throwers taken in the first two rounds.

"He threw good," Angelo said before boarding a plane back to Chicago. "He made all the throws. He threw about 70 balls. If you don't like the way he throws the ball, then you don't like him. He's got good accuracy. He's a downfield thrower."

The scores of NFL personnel evaluators at Leftwich's workout at Manatee High School in Sarasota just wanted to make sure he was recovered from his second left leg injury in the past two seasons, and he proved that he was. He also made all his throws after receiving the snap directly from under center, rather than in shotgun formation, where he did most of his throwing at Marshall. Leftwich, who threw for 89 touchdowns and almost 12,000 yards, did everything that he would have been asked to do at February's scouting combine, the short shuttle, vertical jump, broad jump.

"Did he do anything to keep him out of the top 10?" Angelo said. "No, he didn't. Is he going to be a top 10 pick? I can't answer that. Can he be? Yes. He was very cooperative and very excited about being able to work out. He's an average athlete in terms of all the measureables -- he's not a great athlete in those terms. He's a pocket passer."

A current rumor has the Cincinnati Bengals taking Leftwich with the top overall pick, but the consensus is that Palmer will be the first quarterback off the board. Because there is so much uncertainty about the Bengals' intentions, the first 10 picks are anyone's guess at this point. And Boller has moved past Leftwich on some draft boards. One recent mock draft has both Palmer and Leftwich, in addition to Boller, available for the Bears at No. 4.

What would the Bears do then?

"You tell me," Angelo said, chuckling. "I haven't gotten to that box yet. I know there is that scenario, and it would be very interesting, but I'm not going to answer that now."

If that happened, the Bears could expect to be inundated by calls from teams seeking to trade up. With the draft still almost three weeks away, some teams are already investigating the possibility of improving their draft position.

Angelo said he has already had discussions with a couple teams seeking to trade up into the No. 4 spot.

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