1. Does that first-round pick have to be an offensive lineman? If not, what might they do with it? A defensive tackle?
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Bears selected someone other than an offensive lineman in the first round. Cutting Tommie Harris made it clear the Bears also need help at defensive tackle and there are a few good prospects at that position as well. Drafting defensive linemen is Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo’s “happy place” so don’t be surprised if he tries to play it a little safer with a DT.
2. Who are you predicting they take?
With the top tackle prospects off the board, I expect the Bears to take Mike Pouncey out of Florida. Pouncey could play guard and study at the hand of OIin Kreutz to take over and anchor the Bears’ offensive line for the next decade like Kreutz has done for the Bears since 1999.
3. What’s with all this buzz about Chicago taking a quarterback later on?
It seems like the Bears want a project at quarterback to add some depth at the position. It became clear a couple of times last season when Jay Cutler was injured that their depth at the position is sketchy. Caleb Hanie did a nice job in the NFC Championship game, but even he is a restricted free agent. Todd Collins is as good as gone too, so the cupboard is a little bare. I thought the Bears would get a veteran like Marc Bulger (also familiar with the Martz offense) but inside word suggests that unless Hanie gets a crazy offer, the Bears will keep him as the No. 2 QB and draft a developmental prospect. Personally, I’d like for them to fill a few other key holes first before going for a quarterback.
4. I’m thinking they’ll want to use later picks to help improve the receiver corps and add depth at corner. Your thoughts?
I’m not convinced the Bears will draft a wide receiver. They seem to have the market cornered on inexperienced wideouts like Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox and even Devin Hester to a certain extent. I would like to see the Bears address the wide receiver position with a veteran free agent. It doesn’t need to be Sidney Rice or Vincent Jackson (although either of those would be incredible additions), but there are some other big bodies out there that could help bolster that position. Don’t forget the Bears got CFL star Andy Fantuz to compete for a WR spot.
Other areas of need for the Bears to consider in the draft are cornerback and linebacker. (Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are the only linebackers under contract for next season.) Jerry Angelo also collects defensive ends so I’m never surprised to see one drafted. On the offensive side of the ball, they should draft as many offensive linemen as they can. If they select enough of them, maybe they’ll hit on one or two.