Sunday, March 20, 2011
Posted: 7:31 p.m.
By John Mullin
The thinking on the Bears first-round pick in next months draft is still in its formative stages at Halas Hall but its never too early to play what-if.
CSNChicago.com last week detailed three mock drafts for the Bears, all different: Wes Bunting at the National Football Post giving them Florida center Mike Pouncey; Don Banks of Sports Illustrateds SI.com projecting Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod as a Bear; and Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly predicting Miami tackle Orlando Franklin to be a Bear.
To give you an idea how difficult it is to accurately project what a team at No. 29 will do, here are three more reputable mock Bears: Peter Schrager of FOXSports projects the pick to be Florida State guardcenter Rodney Hudson; Scout.coms John Crist has the Bears going defense with Oregon State strongboy Stephen Paea, a tackle who can bench press a Buick; and WalterFootball.com likes Illinois defensive tackle Corey Lieget for the Bears, after previously leaning toward Pouncey.
So, to sum up: six mock drafts, six different Bears picks and four predicting the Bears go for an offensive lineman with the other two staying on defense.
And the mock draft pick of CSNChicago.coms View From The Moon? Offense. But thats all well say at this point. More on why later this week.
The case for OL
Were there free agency right now, expect the Bears to be pursuing Green Bay endtackle Cullen Jenkins first and possibly Seattles Brandon Mebane second. And the fact that a resolution is all but assured says the Bears can keep their powder dry, go offensive line at the top of their draft and address DT in due course, relying on the avalanche of free agents to keep prices at least reasonable.
A concern with Jenkins is that, while he missed only two games in his first four seasons, he has played all 16 in just one of his last three seasons, although his 7 sacks in 11 games in 2010 jumps out.
But Jenkins also just turned 30 in January and would give the Bears a starting front four composed entirely of 30-somethings: Jenkins, 30; Anthony Adams, 31; Israel Idonije, 30; and Julius Peppers, 31.
Mebanes production fell off the past two seasons but the Seahawks drafted him when Tim Ruskell was running things and Ruskell is now the No. 1 assistant to Jerry Angelo.
Feeling a draft II
I looked last week at how some of the proposed rules changes on kickoffs would likely hurt the Bears and other teams with top special units, which the Bears have starting with Devin Hesters returns. The changes also hit certain teams, including the Bears, in other ways.
The Bears invested a second-round draft choice (2006) in Hester, not as a cornerback, not as a receiver, but as a returner. The Seattle Seahawks recently gave returner Leon Washington, who returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns, a four-year deal worth 12.5 million. Washington has been a solid running back but the Seahawks were locking up a returner more than a backup for Marshawn Lynch.
So, if youre running your teams draft, how much do you factor in the return abilities of a prospect? For that matter, if Hester were coming out of Miami this year, would the Bears even have taken him? Certainly not in the second round.
On the other hand, you have a kicker like Robbie Gould who put in all the work needed to add length to his kickoffs, which were coming from 30-yard line. Now the league is giving him the five yards he worked so hard to add. The league couldve saved him a whooole lot of work.
Sorting through wheat and chaff these days with respect to meaningful information on the NFL and NFLPA (were still going to call the decertified players union that, for purposes of brevity) isnt easy. Kudos to Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com for staying on that horse as it bucks and lurches.
Mike has a fast look at the latest comments from John Mara of the New York Giants but he also has a quick jump to the letter from Kevin Mawae, Drew Brees and multiple players to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell which fires back at some of the things the Commish intimated in a letter to players (http:tinyurl.com4nukcyz). Hint: Theyre not happy with Roger.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.