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Bears Banter Vol. 5 – Part 1 of 2


Part 1 Of 2 (Thursday – Part 2): Special Off-Season/Draft Edition Of Bears Banter Volume 5

In you case you missed Volume 4 of Bears Banter – Check The Article that got picked up by both the Chicago Sun-Times and Sports Illustrated…  Bears Banter Volume 4

Columnist Eric Cook Talks With Site Editor Russ Loede Concerning Draft Needs/Strategy, Never-Ending QB Competition, Tommie Harris/Brian Urlacher Contract Situations, And Upcoming 2008 Season.

1. The draft is two weeks away, rank the team needs from greatest to least.

OL – 2-3 holes to fill, left tackle/pulling guard are major needs to address. All starts/ends with the offensive line – we have to get better play from this position. Youth/Athleticism are what we should look for. RB – There is not a back on this roster that has the ability to get the big gain along with the short yardage necessary to move the chains, while possessing both the breakaway speed and inside running mentality. We don’t have a RB that is balanced enough to be the type of legitimate threat as a playmaker on a consistent basis. WR – Still searching for a true #1 WR/tall, run ‘n jump target over the middle that can stretch the field and go 1-on-1 in the red zone. Safety – Too many questions marks with the safeties we have. Clear troubles at the position defending the pass, containing the deep ball/intermediate passes in the Cover 2 defense. There is a definite need for a big, strong hitting safety that can be a ballhawk, but most of all, a steady tackler in the open field, another major problem area. QB – Obvious spot where we need to develop another quarterback in case Rex/Orton fail to deliver and get the job done once again.

2. Bears staff says, “There is an open quarterback battle for the starting spot”. Some people (including myself) believe that Rex is already the starter and it is his job to lose. What do you think? Who do you want to start this year and why?

It is Rex’s job to lose. You have to believe this becuase #8 has more talent, can make more plays, and has had more success than Orton. He was a 1st round pick for a reason, while Orton on the other hand, was a 4th rounder. You get more out of Rex and he definitely brings more to the table. Making a case for both QB’s is easy. Orton’s a good caretaker/protector and Rex is a better deep ball thrower and the more aggressive of the two. I’m pulling/lobbying for #8 because he’s more confident and has had more playing time, being under pressure more than Orton ever has. I’d rather go with the QB who has a bigger upside and is a risktaker rather than a caretaker, Rex will eventually “figure it out” and find a way to take care of the ball better, while keeping his aggressiveness and deep ball ability.

3. There is increasing talk about RB Rashard Mendenhall (Illinois) being a serious consideration for the Bears first round pick (# 14), do you agree? If not, who should the Bears select?

Tough question. I agree that we should heavily pursue and think long and hard about taking Rashard with our 1st pick. We need offensive playmakers period. Why waste a pick on a flawed lineman like OT’s Chris Williams and Jeff Otah? If we don’t take Rashard, I would love to trade down and get G/T Branden Albert out of Virginia. He has the versatility we’re interested in and desire and has a high “ceiling” just like Mendenhall. I also wouldn’t mind taking him at 14. If I had to choose between the two, I go Albert because there is such a tremendous class filled with RB’s to pick from in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Rashard is the RB we need to make this offense a legitimate threat (we do need to score), but the “catch” is the OL has to be fixed first in order for the running game to succeed, though it’s hard to pass up on such a big-time prospect like Mendenhall. We could just take Albert and go for Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Tashard Choice, Kevin Smith or Felix Jones later. This is the deepest draft class for RB’s in a long time and I’m convinced Albert can play anywhere on the o-line except for center because we don’t need him to (Olin Kreutz). There won’t be any left tackles or guards around in the 2nd round that have the skill of Albert, being able to start right away, but there’s a ton of RB’s that have the talent to get us to pass on Rashard, something we can afford to do.  All I have to say is we better come out of this “make-or-break” Draft as “winners”, while finding the right impact players to fill needs on both sides of the ball, getting value all the way from Round 1 to Round 7.

4. Here are some stats from an interesting article from Dan Pompei in the Chicago Tribune (… 1st Round OL Safe To Draft
After seeing these stats how could Chicago go any other direction in the draft but offensive line?

Hard to disagree. I’ll say if McFadden falls or we can trade up for him (at a reasonable price), I’d surely and certainly take him over any lineman in this Draft. Also, if Rashard is there (most likely) It would be so hard-pressed to overlook him and go elsewhere because he reminds me of the next Marion Barber/Marshawn Lynch (Speedier Playmaker Version). I’m also hearing that we had a extra long discussion with him recently (Highly Interested – 7 Hour session). So I can see a RB at 14 instead OL because Rashard’s talent is too good to pass on and he has the skill to make you wait for an OL later. I’m not thrilled about Williams/Otah and Clady/Long will be gone by 14. If we do pass on Rashard for Albert (good move, I would applaud it), it could mean Detroit (#15) scoops him up and that is never good when a division rival picks a player you had your eyes set on (Rashard to Detroit?). I see this decision coming down to the wire, as close as it gets, and the deciding factor could be if a team makes us an offer we cannot resist, as a trade down would have us drafting an OL like Gosder Cherilus or the aforementioned Albert. So I would not be shocked if we deal out of 14 or we select Rashard.  By the way if you can’t tell by reading this ~ I am pumped up for this Draft and so are the players!

5. Give me a surprise pick?

We go defense before offense – sooner than you’d think. 3rd Round (#70): Safety Josh Barrett (Arizona State) ahead of any big-school, all-hype, all-name QB on the board. I have saftey as a bigger priority, higher on my list in front of QB. Barrett would make lots of sense because he has all the tools you look for in a playmaking defensive back and we can grab a quarterback with our second pick in the 3rd round.

Blog of the Week to Check Out:  State of the Bears 

A Must-Listen To Podcast:  BEARS Blitz Volume 1

Pre-Season Schedule:  ’08 Preseason

Should Urlacher Receive the New Deal he De$ires:  Face of Chicago

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