Since we are now less than a month from the draft. I thought I could give an overview of the different positions that the Bears need, and what they could be selecting for that position. So I figured out how to work the Google machine (from Blades of Glory), and did my personal evaluations.
I think the logical place to start is with the 1st round pick. The Bears have the #18 pick in the upcoming draft. Although they still need to address RT, I think that this has to be a WR. They need a guy that is not only projected to be a #1 WR, but that can come in and have some immediate impact. I don’t think this is something that they will find in a later round. So I looked up some of the top prospects to do a review.
In the top prospect group I looked at Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Kenny Britt, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, and Brian Robiskie. I didn’t add Michael Crabtree because he is doubtful to still be around at #18. The others could also be gone at that point, but have been available on several draft boards at or after the #18 pick.
Starting with Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri. I think everyone can agree that he is a deep threat who will also be an excellent return man. It would be cool to see Manning and him on kickoffs, with Hester and Maclin on punts. He has been listed as a less than great run blocker, not a polished route runner and may have durability issues.
I was watching Percy Harvin highlights on youtube and couldn’t help but get excited with the moves he was showcasing. He has amazing YAC abilities and reminds me of a Steve Smith. The problem being is that he failed to run the route tree at the combine(possibly hiding his bad route running), he has injury concerns and may have character issues off the field.
Kenny Britt is one of the bigger receivers in the the draft at 6’3″ and 218 lbs. With his vertical, broad jump, and 40 time, I thought he might be a Fitzgerald type. He has been scouted as a red zone threat (which the Bears need), but has drops from concentration problems. When I watched his youtube highlight it didn’t impress me. He looked like a stiff runner after the catch, and didn’t make any real separation from the defenders.
Next up was Darrius Heyward-Bey, who a lot of people think will be the Bears #1 pick. He is considered somewhat of a risk since his low production has been linked to suspect QB play and bad offensive scheme. Everyone knows he is fast with his 4.3 time at the combine.
The question has been is, how developed is his route running? I was skeptical when I watched his highlights, but this guy is so fast. He wasn’t juking people as much as just leaving a dust cloud behind him. If Ron Turner has been itching to make the WR screen or the reverse a regular play in the offense, this is his guy.
Hakeem Nicks is listed as possibly the most NFL ready. They say he has good hands, good ball adjustments, and YAC. His weakness’ are separation, speed and elusiveness. He looks like a good possession receiver, but isn’t a #1.
The last guy I checked up on in this group was Brian Robiskie. He is a tall receiver at 6′-3″ and 209 lbs. His father is the WR coach for the Falcons, so you know route running and his cutting ability aren’t an issue. Watching his highlights, I found a solid player with good abilities. All everyone talked about at the combine was how good his hands are. The added bonus is that he comes off as an intelligent and focused young man.
So I doubt that character will ever be a problem. I like Brian Robiskie but the first round is too high a pick for him. I think he will be a great WR but he doesn’t fit the needs I see. After watching his highlights I like him better than Kenny Britt. Robiskie has better hands, more elusive, and better at adjusting to the ball than what I saw on Britt.
Going into this I thought I liked Britt and Heyward-Bey as the most likely WR’s that the Bears could get. If they are going WR at 18th I think it has to be Heyward-Bey. He may need a season or two to develop, but he is a deep threat.
That is the thing that the WR group was needing most last season and what would be the greatest asset to this one. They have a great TE group that play the middle of the field well, so I don’t think a WR in that area will be as much of an impact as a CB burning WR. Hester and Bennett should be far enough along that Heyward-Bey can come in slowly. Especially if the running game is improved with the offensive line additions made. Hopefully the Bears get this one right and get the right man for the job.