With Free Agency about to jump off, I thought I'd take one more brief look at some potential draft prospects for the Bears. After the frenzy of signings that teams will do come March 5th, we'll have a better idea of what the Bears have, and what they'll still need. Next week I'll start getting more in-depth and specific in terms of which direction I think the Bears will go in the draft, and start looking at round by round thoughts and potential candidates.
The NFL Combine is in the books, and the last chance these guys will have to impress will be at their pro day. Some players will need to clock a bit better to improve their draft stock. And by getting in a more comfortable environment, they usually do. I'll touch on a few players that I think may have caught the eye of Jerry Angelo, and a few others that didn't make the kind of mark they were hoping to.
First up, good old Kam Chancellor. He didn't do much to increase his notoriety at the combine, as he ran slower than he hoped in the forty. His 4.62 didn't create much of a buzz, it wasn't the worst FS time of the day, but it was far from what he wanted. His size (6'3" 231), his strength (22 reps on the bench good for 6th best among all DB's), and his skill set leaves him looking like a strong safety. Or maybe a weak side linebacker...
Toby Gerhart had a real nice combine. Another popular name here on the threads. Depending on what the Bears do in free agency (FS/DE?) they may be able to target the best player on their board. The Stanford running back ran a 4.53 for his 40, and looked athletic and explosive in his other drills. He may have solidified himself into the 2nd round, but if he slips to Chicago I'd really consider him.
As pointed out by Sklz711 a week or so back, Vanderbilt corner Myron Lewis would be a nice addition as a FS. Many scouts had him pegged as a better fit for safety or a zone corner, and at nearly 6'2", 201 pounds he has room to add some muscle. He displayed good straight line speed with his 4.52 40, but he wasn't fluid in the positional drills for a CB.
Florida FS Major Wright helped himself with a 4.48 40, especially with some other FS prospects not running all that well. He has a compact, athletic build, and he looked good in all the positional drills. He's still getting the 3rd - 4th round grade from most scouts, but at least one has him with 2nd round potential. If he's there in the 3rd he could be a JA type pick.
WalterFootball.com now has the Bears taking Alabama guard Mike Johnson in the 4th round. He's a guy I originally thought the Bears may be interested in the 3rd round. If he slips to the 4th he'd be a solid pick up. He played both LG and LT in college and is strong in pass protection.
Future brain surgeon Myron Rolle of Florida State didn't do himself any favors with his 4.68 forty. He's looking like an in the box strong safety, and probably someone the Bears will now pass on.
Knowing Angelo will take a DE at some point, what about Northwestern prospect Corey Wootton? Before tearing up his knee, he was thinking about entering the 2009 NFL Draft as he was getting indications he'd be a top 40 pick. Wootten worked hard to get ready for the 2009 season, and even though he was still showing effects from his injury, he didn't let it slow him down. He had much better quickness as a Junior when he registered 10 sacks. I can see JA drafting Wootten to go through the Bears red-shirt program and be ready for 2011. I've seen his grade anywhere between a 1st rounder down to a 4th rounder.
Mitch Petrus is the guard from Arkansas that put up 45 reps in the bench at the combine. And the knock on him by many scouts was his strength? He's a former TE and FB that is raw technique wise on the line, but is such a good athlete that while at Arkansas he thrived in the run first offense (2nd team all SEC) that they had in 2007. He was academically ineligible for 2008; but then played great in 2009 (1st team all SEC) in a new a pass happy offense. At 6'3" 310 he may need to add some bulk to play in the NFL, but he's an intriguing prospect.
Free agency is shaping up to be big for the Chicago Bears. WIth DE and FS high on the priority list, it could really change the direction the Bears take with their draft. I can't wait to see what takes place.