Maybe this is just Jerry Angelo's way of getting back some of the 1st round talent he gave up in order to acquire Jay Cutler, or maybe he's just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick. Whatever the case, JA found a way to get four 1st round talents (they were at some point) in the fold with the Bears. And he has the 3-4 defense to thank for two of them.
Angelo and Lovie Smith are hoping a 4-3 defensive end being converted to a 3-4 outside linebacker that resulted in an epic fail for the New York Jets, will be a diamond in the rough for the Bears. Vernon Gholston was the 6th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Many scouts looked at him frame (6'4" 258) and thought he's be a candidate to make the switch from DE to OLB in the pros. They were obviously wrong. Three years, 6 starts, 42 total tackles, and that's it. Nary another stat to speak of. Hell, even Bears 1st round bust Michael Haynes managed 5.5 sacks in his 3 years as a Bear. Gholston is an undersized DE that has some speed. Or to put it another way, he's the type of end Tampa 2 teams look for. If he can find his form, keep himself motivated, and play a little pissed off after the debacle of career he's had so far, the Bears could have stole one.
The 3-4 claimed another player in former Houston Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. The Texans are switching to the 3-4 and the 6'2" 315 pound Okoye isn't a space eater nose tackle and he's not the a prototypical 5 technique DE, so Houston let him go. This is a kid that's played 4 years in the NFL, yet is still just 24 years old. He has 58 starts, including all 16 the last two years. He was the 10th overall pick in 2007, and I find it odd that they didn't try and finagle a pick via trade for his services. Maybe the shortened off season led them to wanting to simply get their guys in camp to start working on the new D.
The 3rd #1 draft pick Angelo picked up last week was the 26th overall selection from the 2005 Draft. The Seahawks chose to go a different direction on their line, and allowed Chris Spencer to leave without much of a fight. Spencer has 70 starts, mostly at center, in his 6 year career. He looks bigger than Olin Kreutz, and he's listed bigger at 6'3" 309 (Olin was 6'2" 292). His biggest challenge will be filling the ornery shoes of #57. Kreutz was quick to protect his guys on the field, and his attitude endeared him to Bears fans. I think Spencer should take issue with the first guy that touches his QB, and get after him Olin-style... well maybe he should leave the dumbbell's alone, but you get my point.
The 4th, and final, #1 draft pick JA acquired was the 7th overall selection in 2004, wide receiver Roy Williams. Williams has something to prove, and he should be in a comfort zone working with the offense that got him to the Pro Bowl, and with the position coach he had in college. Could this be the perfect storm that allows Williams to put up some big numbers? I think so.