Sometime guard John St. Clair played left tackle last year and guard Josh Beekman played backup center in training camp for the Bears. No more. Chicago’s search for versatile blockers, general manager Jerry Angelo said, will now start with tackles.
Sometime guard John St. Clair played left tackle last year and guard Josh Beekman played backup center in training camp for the Bears. No more.
Chicago’s search for versatile blockers, general manager Jerry Angelo said, will now start with tackles. That’s even after signing three free-agent tackles and drafting Chris Williams No. 1 in 2008.
“We have targeted the tackle position,” Angelo said. “We still want a younger, developing player. If we take him, that will change our roster. We’ll have to carry nine offensive linemen vs. eight.
“We changed our philosophy in how we look at linemen. We’re looking for tackles who can play guard rather than guards who can play center.”
Receivers come in all sizes, but look for the Bears to fill their greatest need with a bigger pass catcher, rather than a smaller, faster one. They’ve already got the latter in Devin Hester.
“You don’t want all of the same,” Angelo said. “That’s one thing I can say emphatically. You want to have something that meshes in how they complement one another.
“You are always going to look for speed. Speed speaks for itself. If you don’t get speed, then size comes into the equation because of blocking. We still want to run the football. The bigger receiver has a role here, particularly doing the intermediate stuff and the blocking.”
Talent tops need
The Bears have glaring needs at receiver and free safety and also want an edge pass rusher. Glaring needs make Angelo uneasy.
“You see prognosticators after the draft telling us that we picked players too high,” Angelo said, “but when you go into a draft having players of need, you have to take them where you can get them. In all likelihood, it’s going to be in those first three picks.”
Yet need, Angelo said, should take a backseat to talent.
“At the end of the day, the teams that have the best players on Sunday win. Even if you get those needs fixed on draft day, players get hurt and you’re right back in that handbasket again.”
The solution, then, to filling a need without overreaching would be to trade up when only one player you really like is left.
“But I don’t feel we have enough ammunition to do that,” Angelo said. The Bears have only two picks in the first three rounds, and their third-round pick can’t be traded, because it’s a compensatory pick.
Angelo said the art of drafting is all about making the right compromises.
“There is no such thing as the perfect player,” he said. “You’ve got players’ strengths and weaknesses. You’ve got to fit the square peg in the square hole. As long as coaches tell us what they are willing to compromise and accentuate the strengths, you will find good players in a draft.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.