The Bears will be just spectators on Thursday, April 22nd when the NFL begins their first ever three day Draft. The first round will get going at 6:30p.m. CT, with the second and third rounds taking place Friday, April 23rd starting at 5:00p.m. CT. What an idiotic start time? If maximizing viewership is the goal, why start at a time when three quarters of the country is either just getting off work, or still at work? Anyway... not the point of this post. But when the Bears finally get around to making their initial selection in the 2010 draft (I'm hoping to be home in time to see it), with the recent free agent signings, and the swirling free agent rumors out there, the direction the Bears will take is really up in the air.
If a free safety and offensive lineman end up being signed it'll really open up the possibilities. Jerry Angelo can truly go with best player available then. He may even go that route if his free agent spending is over. Really the only sure bet from JA is that he'll draft at least one defensive lineman.
This will be just the first in a series looking at potential players the Bears could draft. I'll go round by round looking at a player I think would be available at that time. Even though wide receiver isn't a pressing need, it's a position you can never have enough of. Especially in an Mike Martz offense. If a highly rated player on the Bears big board is sitting there for them, I can see them pulling the trigger.
And FYI... I'm not just searching the first mock draft site I come across. I hit up a number of sites looking for position rankings to see where these players are suspected to fall and try and take a consensus. And in regards to highlight videos posted around the web; be wary because any knucklehead can splice some film to make a fringe prospect look All-World.
Third Round - Jacoby Ford, Clemson 5'9" 186 - He ran the fastest forty at the combine (4.28) and his stock is on the rise. He's still listed as a 3rd or 4th round prospect on most boards, but I think scouts will overrate him based on his speed, and he may sneak into the 2nd round. While at Clemson he played all over the offense, WR, RB, QB, and he returned kicks. Like most speed guys he gets the "poor route running" knock, but some scouts aren't as down on that part of his game.
Fourth Round - Andre Roberts, Citadel 5'11" 195 - We all know JA likes to find those small school players, and after Roberts looked good at the Senior Bowl his stock is on the rise. He's also listed in the 3rd-4th round range, but he may last to the 4th as a lot of receivers are seeing their stock rise after the combine. He's known for his hands, and his speed was a question until he popped off a 4.46 forty.
Fifth Round - Riley Cooper, Florida 6'3" 222 - Cooper is a guy rated anywhere between the 2nd to 5th rounds. I tend to think he'll fall closer to the 5th as he didn't test exceptionally well at the combine, and he has other options if football doesn't work out for him. He gave up a contract with the Texas Rangers to prep for the Draft. Some scouts call his catching inconsistent, but every time I saw him play he would make the big catch.
Sixth Round - Emmanuel Sanders, Southern Methodist 5'11" 186 - He had a productive combine placing top 5 in 5 different tests, and posting the best broad jump of the receivers at 10'6", which is good as it shows lower body explosion and balance. I've seen him going as high as the 6th round, where others think he'll go undrafted. He was suspended the last 2 game of the '09 season for a few academic and football violations. But most scouts agree he's not a character risk.
Seventh Round - Scott Long, Louisville 6'2" 216 - Before his combine he was looked at as borderline draftable, but after 4.46 seconds in the forty, the best wide-out vertical leap with 41.5", the top 60-yard shuttle of the wide-outs, tied for most bench reps among the receivers, the second-fastest WR 20-yard shuttle run, and the fastest 3-cone drill of all the athletes at the combine, Long is making teams rethink his status. If he has a solid pro day he'll shoot up draft boards again.
* And please realize, for those that just "skim" an article, this is not my mock draft, I'm not predicting the Bears will select a WR with every pick. This is just to spotlight a wide-out that may be available in each round the Bears pick, if they were to decide to pick a receiver.