Come on, we all know Jerry Angelo collects defensive lineman like some of us collect football cards. (Anyone interested in a Garrett Wolfe rookie card btw?) He's drafted 15 since he's been in Chicago. When your defensive philosophy is one where you believe a push from the front four is essential, it shouldn't be a surprise. After breaking down the Bears D-Line roster turnover here, it's obvious someone will be drafted to play on the line at some point. Or at the very least, to go through the Bears Red-Shirt program for 2010.
Even with the signing of Julius Peppers, the Bears still have a job opening. The Bears family lost Gaines Adams. Adewale Ogunleye won't be back. Matt Toeaina was resigned, but isn't a sure bet to make the roster. And I was thinking that if Mark Anderson received an offer from another team they'd let him walk, but now it's looking like Alex Brown is the odd man out. Add to that, starting DT Anthony Adams is in the last year of his contract and has holdover DT Marcus Harrison done enough to warrant him being a 'for sure' going into next season?
I've touched on Lindsey Witten the Connecticut DE here, the pass rush specialist is getting a 3rd - 5th round grade. And Northwestern's DE Corey Wootten, who I mentioned here, could go as high as the 2nd round, but if he slips to the 3rd or even the 4th Angelo may give him a thought.
Now on to a few other prospects, and remember this series isn't my actual mock draft, just an idea of some players at various positions JA may target with each of his picks.
Third Round - Lamarr Houston, Texas DT 6'3" 305 - If this weren't such a deep DT talent pool Houston would be off the board before the Bears pick. He's projected to go 2nd - 3rd round by most experts, but if he slips to the Bears pick, I wouldn't be surprised to see him drafted. He could play either DT spot for Chicago and his strength is getting up field. His 4.84 forty at his size had scouts perking up.
Fourth Round - Jeff Owens, Georgia DT 6'1" 304 - A little short and squatty but the Bears don't shy away from the shorter DT's, especially since Owens is strong like bull (44 reps on the bench). His bench and his better than expected agility times has his stock on the rise. He could play NT for Chicago and with his strength he would require occasional double teams.
Fifth Round - Danny Batten, South Dakota State DE 6'3" 246 - Last month numerous sources were reporting the Bears scheduled a pre-draft visit with Batten for late March. March is about over, so I'm wondering when he'll get his visit. Many draft sites are calling him a 7th round prospect, but Walter Football is giving him a 5th-6th round grade. His stock is on the rise after a private workout he had after the Arizona State pro day. A lot teams are looking at him as an OLB, but he has the body type the Bears like in their DE's, and his 4.66 forty says he has the speed to be an edge rusher.
Sixth Round - Alex Daniels, Cincinnati DE 6'2" 265 - Reports differ on his pro day forty yard dash. So far I've read of a 4.55, 4.58, 4.73, and 4.74. If he did clock in in the 4.5's he's on the Bears radar. I've seen him with a high of a 5th round grade and as low as being an undrafted free agent. In 2006 he was Minnesota's second leading rusher, but transferred to Cincinnati and moved to defense. He has a couple red flags, an Achilles surgery and a fourth degree sexual assault conviction in 2007. Since then he's been healthy and on good behavior.
Seventh Round - Sean Lissemore, William & Mary DT 6'3" 297 - When looking for a late round project you look for at least one "wow" variable. In the case of Lissemore, you have a few to look at. Running a 4.82 forty at that size is really good. Then getting up 36 (at 225) reps on the bench and scouts are taking a second look. The former high school linebacker and sprinter just kept growing in college. He played in the Texas vs. The Nation all star game and impressed with his determination and hustle. If he interviews well on his pre-draft visits he could go even earlier in the draft.