By Connor McKnight–
CHICAGO (WSCR) The Chicago Bears have their draft board all ready to go for the 29th pick of April 28th’s Draft, but don’t be surprised if the team ends up trading down. Bears GM Jerry Angelo and Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell spoke to the media Thursday morning and said that moving down, like always, is something they’ll seriously consider.
“[We’ve] not gotten a lot of calls from teams yet but that’s not abnormal,” Angelo said. “Most teams will want to trade down. That’s normal thinking. A few teams want to trade up. We’re always going to be flexible. We always have [been]. Trading down is easier to do and if there’s enough players on the board when it’s our pick [and] it makes sense, then something that we would consider very seriously.”
Should the Bears stay at No. 29, however, Ruskell said there are four to six players they like at that spot in no fewer than four positions. Angelo mentioned that, while you can’t expect the 29th pick of the draft to change the course of the football team, he does expect a quality player. As always, Angelo said the hope of the draft is to get four starters out of the three days of picks.
Trading down seemingly hinges on how many players the Bears like remain on the board when the 29th pick rolls around. While offensive line has been bandied about as an obvious area of need, it’s thought that there may not be the talent worth taking at the twenty-ninth pick left at that position.
Angelo said there are “five for sure” and “potentially as many as seven” offensive lineman the Bears wouldn’t mind taking in the first round. Angelo did make a curious qualifying statement about the offensive line class, however, saying, “It’s a good year for offensive linemen. … Maybe not the quality in terms of the player–although they’re good players, don’t get me wrong. But the quantity is very good.”
Thing is, Angelo and his staff haven’t made much of a history drafting offensive linemen early. While Chris Williams was taken 14th overall in 2008, the last offensive lineman taken in the first two rounds was Marc Colombo in 2002.
“They’re not pretty picks,” Angelo said of taking offensive linemen early. “When you look at them, you always want a little more glitter. Offensive linemen don’t bring a lot of glitter but we certainly understand the value.”
That’s not to say offensive line won’t be the way the Bears go however, as Angelo mentioned a bit of a paradigm shift in philosophy lately. “We felt, maybe years ago, I don’t feel that strongly about it now, that you could develop offensive lineman and you could get them in later rounds. That really hasn’t historically bared out.”
Angelo did make an exception for J’Marcus Webb, who the Bears drafted in the 7th round in 2010.
So while offensive line was a major focus of the talks Thursday, other positions were discussed as well. With the departure of defensive tackle Tommie Harris, there’s a need for a three-technique player on the inside. Fortunately, this draft has been rated by many experts to have a phenomenal class of defensive linemen. Angelo agrees.
“It’s really deep with the defensive line,” Angelo said. “I thought last year was real good. This year looks even better.”
The Bears have visited with Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle out of North Carolina, who may have been a top ten pick had he not been suspended for violating NCAA amateur eligibility rules. While Austin is said to have character issues, Angelo said he’s happy with what the team was able to find out about the player through their meetings.