NFL Draft 2011: What Positions the Chicago Bears Should Look to Draft and When
Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears finally have a first round pick for the 2011 NFL Draft. It's the first one they're able to use ever since they gave up two for Jay Cutler in 2009.
This year, the Bears will have a chance to reel in a player in every round—except for the seventh.
Losing in the NFC Championship isn't such a bad thing, especially for teams that have never gotten that far. However, the Bears lost the game in a fashion that not many organizations would prefer.
Why did they lose the game?
Jay Cutler getting hit constantly eventually led to him being carted off the field and that was the end of the game—and season—for Cutler.
This happened all season long too.
While there are other weak areas in the roster (as far as age and depth go) each pick so be both a smart one and an effective one.
First Round: Offensive Lineman
The first pick needs to be an offensive lineman of some sort.
Jay Cutler was sacked a league high 52 times, and the line as a whole gave up 56 sacks.
What's the cause of all this?
Chicago hasn't had a line that's remained the same for a few years now. Players have been shipped in and out, left and right, including seven time Pro-Bowler Orlando Pace.
He only lasted one season before retiring.
The only players to hold their position in the trenches are veterans Olin Kreutz and Roberto Garza. Both are over the age of 30.
It would be nice if Tyron Smith (University of Southern California) would fall to the 29th pick for the Bears, but it wouldn't be a surprise if another team took him earlier.
An offensive guard wouldn't be a bad selection, especially if Mike Pouncey (Florida) is still available, but someone to protect Cutler's blind side would be the better option.
Second Round: Defensive Tackle
Tommie Harris has already starting to decline at the age of 27. Ever since he was drafted in 2004 he also hasn't had an above average DT to work alongside in the trenches.
Israel Idonije used to be primarliy a defensive tackle, but of late he's shown that he can wreck havoc on the edge at defensive end. It's unlikely he will move back into the middle
Anthony Adams is facing the possibility of not coming back to the windy city, as he is a free agent. That leaves the Bears with Henry Melton, Matt Toeaina and Marcus Harrison.
Those three are primarily bench warmers or special teams players.
Melton got his far share of playing time last season and recorded 2.5 sacks. Providing Adams doesn't come back, he'll be the pick for the other DT spot.
But why should the Bears settle for an adequate player to fill the void?
Phil Taylor could be a player that Bears could take a chance on in the late second round. His only problems seems to be his weight control and worth ethic.
If Lovie Smith can set him straight he'll be a asset at the nose tackle position, and will plug up gaps allowing Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs to get to the quarterback.
Third Round: Offensive Lineman
They can choose any position here, a center, guard or tackle wouldn't be a horrible choice.
Olin Kreutz is 33 years old and entering his 14th season as both an NFL player. Providing some insurance for him going forward will be a smart move, as he could be walking out the door in the next few years.
Same thing goes for the guard and tackle position: make the roster deep in a position that is obviously the team's weakest.
Who knows, many late round picks surprise in the NFL and obtain a starting role.
Fourth Round: Wide Receiver
Devin Hester and Johnny Knox are both fast and small receivers for the Bears. Small is the downfall.
What Chicago needs is a big, physical receiver in the lineup.
Earl Bennett is one of the tallest receivers that Chicago has—excluding tight ends—and he only stands at an even six feet.
Any receiver who stands at around 6'2" or taller would be an adequate pickup on the Bears behalf.
But Randy Moss being a free agent also poses another question: should Chicago sign him?
Moss' career might be too little too late as of right now. In eight games as a Tennessee Titan he only managed to catch six balls.
However, the size of Moss and his resume is something that the Bears could be interested in.
Regardless, another tall receiver is a must.
Fifth Round: Quarterback
Chicago has been drinking to much of their Todd Collins and it's imminent that he needs to go. Whether it's him being cut in the preseason or him retiring—he's 39 years old—keeping him at the number two or number three quarterback spot isn't the wise thing to do.
Last season's third string quarterback, young Caleb Hanie, was called upon in the NFC Championship game. He led the Bears to two scoring drives in an effort to escape being shut out by the Green Bay Packers.
While he showed some flash for one of the biggest games of his career, Bear's fans shouldn't jump on his bandwagon yet.
Lacking the starting role experience in the NFL, he's bound to make mistakes if he stays in the game for too long. Haine showed that to viewers as the game got closer to ending.
Third time's the charm, hopefully, for Jay Cutler. Entering his third season with the Bears Cutler hopes to make it his best season thus far.
If the Bears decide to cut Todd Collins, then a third string quarterback will be in need.
There might be slim pickings this late in the draft so they should look for a diamond in the rough.
Sixth Round: Defensive Backs
Running defense, points allowed per game and total defense were among the Bears strengths last season. They were rated in the top ten for each category last season.
Where did their pass defense stand? Twentieth in the league.
Safeties aren't the biggest need for the Bears, they have depth and youth at that position. Danieal Manning and Chris Harris are two underrated safeties that combined for six interceptions and 142 tackles last season.
If Major Wright can remain healthy, he can be a challenger for a starting spot at strong safety.
Charles Tillman is and has been the premiere cornerback for the Bears for some years now. But there isn't much depth at the position behind him.
Tim Jennings is an average cornerback who had better numbers in Indianapolis. D.J. Moore usually played nickelback in some packages and has come up with key interceptions and fumble recoveries.
Zack Bowman, Joshua Moore and Corey Graham all provide depth at corner as well, but and upgrade wouldn't hurt.