In what might be the most boring of all the teams to mock in the 2010 draft, Chicago will not make their first pick, barring a trade, until the third round. They traded away both first and second round picks to acquire Jay Cutler and Gaines Adams.
The team needs to shore things up on the offensive line, and despite a recent commitment of several draft picks at the wide receiver position, they could use another weapon for Cutler.
Recent rumors of Chicago inexplicably acquiring Brandon Marshall are, well, inexplicable.
Denver put a first-round tender on the immensely talented but troubled receiver. But it’s more than a pipe dream because Jerry Angelo doesn’t even have a second-round pick, let alone first in 2010.
The team released what remained of the shell of Orlando Pace’s former self in early March.
Cutler has a young, relatively unproven receiving corps, so the whispers of a new receiver heading to the Windy City make some sense. Devin Aromashodu was an unexpected surprise, as he came on towards the end of the year. During the last five games of the ’09 season, he hauled in over five catches and one touchdown per game.
Johnny Knox exceeded expectations for a fifth-round pick. Earl Bennett still hasn’t proven himself in this league even with his fellow Vanderbilt alum at quarterback. Juaquin Iglesias needs to step up and prove his worthiness of being a third-round selection from last year.
According to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times, ownership has given Angelo an open checkbook to shore up weaknesses from last year's 7-9 team. The McCaskey family has apparently given him the go ahead to assemble the best pieces $25 million can buy.
Perhaps what they lack in draft opportunities can now be addressed via free agency.
• Offensive Tackle
• Third Down RB
On Defense, the Bears need to focus on building the once-vaunted unit back up, primarily along the line and secondary.
• Defensive Tackle
• Defensive End
The problem Jerry Angelo faces is because his picks are so late in the draft that he can ill-afford to draft solely on need. Instead, he needs to focus on taking the best player available at all but a few positions.
Fortunately for Bears fans, some of the deepest positions in the draft fit a couple of their most pressing needs.
One of the early-entry prospects in this class, Spievey could have been a possible first-round pick in 2011 if he returned for his senior year.
As one of the key pieces to a stingy Hawkeye defense, Spievey shut down his side of the field and played with much more physicality and aggressiveness than his opponents. He doesn’t take plays off and liked mixing it up in the rough-and-tumble Big Ten.
He ran one of the faster 40 times (4.47) at the combine and projects as a potential shutdown corner (best-case) in a couple years or an above average No. 2 cornerback.
This Arkansas Razorback blew scouts and fellow participating lineman away at the combine by pumping out 45 reps during bench press (225 lbs) workouts. The next closest prospect, Russell Okung, wasn’t even close to the former walk-on’s record-setting display of upper body strength.
Lovie Smith has the luxury of relying on two position coaches along both sides of the ball who are often regarded as one of the best at their craft despite underwhelming head coaching performances. Mike Tice and Rod Marinelli are both old-school coaches known for maximizing the potential out of many prospects others never thought would excel.
An intriguing prospect playing for a suddenly resurgent Huskies program, Witten’s name probably doesn’t stand out since he was practically an unknown commodity until this year.
Witten plays with a non-stop “controlled chaos” style Marinelli likes, especially because he’s somewhat of a late-bloomer who might have just begun scratching the surface of his potential.
Coaches say the Ohio native is surprisingly strong for a player with his frame but will need to pack on 10-15 more pounds to help him anchor against much heavier and stronger NFL lineman.
With a tremendous wingspan to go with his basketball-type height, Witten will be a nuisance in the passing lanes. He should already have some insight into the nuances and rigors of the NFL from his older brother, Donte Whitner, of the Buffalo Bills.
These last two picks will ideally focus on high risk-reward prospects regardless of their position being a “need” or not.
Anchored part of a line partially responsible for Toby Gerhart’s success and kept Andrew Luck’s jersey basically spotless. Marinelli earned First Team All-Pac 10 and Second Team All-American honors this season.
He isn’t going to be the most talented lineman on the field, but he might be the hardest working. Marinelli was born and raised in Boston, and according to teammates and coaches he’s a cerebral, hard-nosed scrapper that Mike Tice could develop into a potential starter at either tackle position or even into a Guard.
By all accounts he’s great outside the playing field but a pissed-off pit-bull on it.
Catching 53 passes for just over 700 yards to go with two touchdowns isn’t eye-catching. But a closer look reveals a player on an inefficient offense on a poor team who wasn’t put in a position to succeed by his coaches or quarterback consistently enough. And then there’s Long’s performance—or dominance—of the wide receiver class at the 2010 NFL combine.
Long ranked first overall in the 60-yard shuttle (11.06), three cone drill (6.45), and vertical jump (41.5”). For good measure he threw up 20 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press, finished second in the 20-yard shuttle (4.09), and topped it off with a 4.46 forty.
Scouts don’t seem to be as susceptible to falling head over heels for the stereotypical “workout warrior” as they used to. But then again, there are six rounds separating Long and some of the notable past prospects who were severely over-drafted based solely on weight-room performances.
It’s possible another team will pull a “Mamula” after they saw Long put on a clinic in acing the combine.