Last week the Chicago Bears held a mini camp. This was the earliest date that teams are allowed to perform offseason workouts. Monday was physicals, followed by individual drills on Tuesday-Thursday.
During these drills the coaches got to make an evaluation for the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft. This was especially important to new coaches Rod Marinelli and Jon Hoke. Where in three days they need to teach their style to the players and grade their abilities to play.
Jon Hoke should be valuable with the DB’s. I expect to see Tillman and Vasher playing better, along with the SS and FS starters. However, I think their best improvement would come from better run stopping and pass rushing produced from the front four.
Hoke’s position makes me think of Will Farrell’s character Chazz Michael Michaels, from Blades of Glory. When confronted with the need to do a near impossible move on an injured ankle to win, Chazz says,”I’m just a man for God’s sake.”
To me, the biggest news from this camp is that Tommie Harris was held back from part of Thursday’s practice. So it makes me nervous to hear that Smith is holding him back since he isn’t 100%. Harris has shown up in games during spurts but hasn’t been as productive as he was before his injury in 06. He is the motor in Lovie Smith’s defense. Without Pro-Bowl caliber play from him the defense will suffer, as it did in 07 and 08.
With the exorbitant amount of money already paid out to the defense, and Angelo calling Marinelli’s hiring the biggest FA acquisition, I don’t see Angelo using a high pick on a DT or DE this season. He said on chicagobears.com ,” There are only probably in any draft maybe eight elite players.
Sometimes you might get to 10, sometimes it might be as few as three. That’s a strong word. You might get a player with some strong traits that has some potential, but there are going to be some real areas of concern, too, and one thing I have learned in my experience with pass rushers is that there have probably been as many gotten on the second day, meaning rounds four through free agency, as gotten on the first day.”
This is ultimately dependent on Marinelli’s analysis of the players. If we see a high draft pick at DT or DE, that tells me he wasn’t impressed by the veterans in that position.