Before we begin, a caveat is in order.
Angelo is to drafting as Tim Tebow is to atheism.
To be fair, Angelo has a fairly decent track record with his lower-round picks. But his early-round picks have, overall, been major busts. And those first-day picks are what's critical.
When other quality teams are benefiting from the development and success of their early-round picks while the Bears remain status quo with high picks that disappear, the Bears will not be serious contenders for the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Bears fans, Angelo will again likely be handed the keys to the proverbial car in April 2012 for the team's draft.
The draft must go on.
And so must we writers as we assess the many needs the team needs to address.
Note: For brevity, I lumped a couple holes into one on a couple occasions (e.g., defensive tackle and defensive end were combined into a general "defensive line" need for the draft).
Let's begin our draft shopping list.
Let's start with the obvious: the Bears need to give Jay Cutler a stud wide receiver to throw to.
Based on his track record, Angelo prefers to hope for a diamond in the rough in the bottom rounds of the draft.
Forget sleeper WRs, Jerry—get an impact WR in one of the top two rounds.
It doesn't have to be a Calvin Johnson (second overall pick) or an Andre Johnson (third overall), though we'd obviously be loving that.
It could be a Hakeem Nicks (29th overall) or a Kenny Britt (30th overall).
Just get someone who will command the ball and demand opposing defensive coordinators to address their game plans accordingly.
There's just one little problem: it's debatable whether this position will ultimately matter with the current coaching staff.
The Bears have never been a prolific passing team nor had a stud wide receiver under Lovie Smith, regardless of who the offensive coordinator is.
Muhsin Muhammad, who entered free agency as a 1,400-yard receiver with 16 TDs, came to Chicago and promptly had three nondescript seasons.
After Muhammad left, he famously said, "Chicago is where wide receivers come to die."
Even though he may be on to something, the Bears still need to find a legitimate WR threat.
The defense needs a stronger pass rush.
Many times, the Bears couldn't generate any sufficient heat on opposing quarterbacks.
The stats bear this out as well. The Bears ranked 27th in sack percentage per pass attempt—obviously well below league average. They also ranked 12th in opposing quarterback rating, which is exactly league average.
The Bears need a fierce pass-rusher, either in the interior to help defensive tackle Henry Melton (who did a solid job with seven sacks), or to provide a bookend for defensive end Julius Peppers on passing downs, as Israel Idonije (who probably will be re-signed) regressed from eight sacks in 2010 to four in 2011.
The Cover 2 defense that Lovie Smith employs requires a strong defensive push in order to prevent the quarterback from reading the safeties' positioning and identifying the soft spots in the secondary.
Get some serious heat on the quarterback and it will mask a lot of sins in the secondary.
Gabe Carimi presumably returns next year, and this year's offensive line is improved over last year's nightmare.
Nevertheless, the O-line still could use some upgrades. Roberto Garza has been solid, but the rest are inconsistent and merely serviceable.
And given the Bears' dependency on Jay Cutler for its offensive success, you can never invest too much in your offensive line.
The Bears line is strong running the ball, but overall is ineffective in pass protection. Therefore, an offensive tackle who specializes in pass protection would be most welcome.
The only concern here is that Angelo's track record drafting offensive linemen is spotty. Chris Williams has been a bust at offensive tackle, where he was drafted, but Carimi seems to be the real deal—if he can stay healthy.
Furthermore, Angelo should seek a quality lineman in the first three rounds, rather than trying to find a lineman in the clearance rack of the bottom rounds.
Brian Urlacher is 33. Lance Briggs is 31.
In other words, they're getting old.
The Bears would be foolish not to prepare for their eventual respective retirements, or worse—a serious injury.
A young impact linebacker needs to be targeted to bolster this aging group.
The revolving door opposite cornerback Charles Tillman is still going.
The quality on the opposite side of Tillman is lacking. Not to mention Tillman himself is getting up there in age (will be 31 in 2012).
Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson is a stud. And in an increasingly pass-happy league, having another impact playmaker at cornerback is huge.
I know some will disagree, but I wasn't impressed with the Bears' safety play this year.
Chris Conte and Major Wright both showed flashes but also showed flaws in tackling and decision-making.
Craig Steltz and Brandon Meriweather are just bodies.
Safety is a highly important position in Lovie Smith's Cover 2, and the lack of an intelligent, high-quality safety allows opponents with good blocking schemes to exploit them.
The Bears have had difficulty filling Mike Brown's shoes and the team needs to keep looking.
The general manager position has been a desert for nine years at Halas Hall.
Of 82 draft picks, only 22 remain on the Bears roster.
And that doesn't include head-scratching trades.
Okay, okay. We all know we can't draft a general manager.
But we sure wish we could.
It's time to get a real talent evaluator for the draft. Without one, this upcoming draft won't be as useful as it could be.