At the start of free agency, most of us had the Bears' first need as some combination of wide receiver, offensive tackle and defensive end - at least in my case, probably 60% receiver, 30% tackle, and 10% end. That's not the point. The trade for Brandon Marshall reduces the receiver need; however, it's still a position of need.
So in the first round, with the aforementioned three positions in need, our Bears drafter picks a linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Never mind that Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill are available at receiver, Whitney Mercilus is still available at end, and Mike Adams is still there at tackle.
And the thing is, I don't mind, because the Bears aren't locked into a position.
We really don't have any idea what Phil Emery is like as a drafter. With Angelo, we could usually count on a high-pick defensive end or defensive tackle, a third-round safety, mid-to-late round receivers and a late-round offensive lineman - with notable, semi-required exceptions, of course.
But we don't know how Emery will draft. We're three weeks in to his first offseason as general manager, and so far what we've gleaned of his tendencies is a few things. He doesn't seem afraid to take risks such as the Marshall trade, yet is aware of his team's cap limitations and won't stretch the cap for a single player. While Forte's in limbo (at the moment; even though he's tagged, he doesn't have a new contract yet), and the Bears let Caleb Hanie go to Denver, Zackary Bowman to Minnesota and Corey Graham go to Baltimore, consider they've traded for Marshall, tagged Forte, signed three special teamers, one new backup quarterback, a new backup running back, and re-signed a few key players with the cap space.
But that's beside the point. While Emery gave the Bears some new special teamers and decent backups, there's only one player there that's a starter. There are still plenty of places for a first-round pick to step in and contribute immediately - and no, I'm not saying dat Emery guy shudda gotten it all done in free agency. Just can't be done.
The Bears can still use a high-round defensive end opposite Julius Peppers, or failing that, a mid-round pick to help spell Israel Idonije and Peppers both. They can still use a second receiver to start opposite Marshall. They can still try to improve at either offensive tackle or draft an interior lineman to start easing Roberto Garza out.
As demonstrated yesterday, they can even take a linebacker to shift over to the MLB when Brian Urlacher's ready to hang them up. There's plenty of room to improve at most positions, and we shouldn't be surprised if any and all of them are in play.