With three games remaining on the season and exact positioning for draft day still in doubt, Rivals.com contributer Frank Coyle from draftinsiders.com has already made his first draft day predications. He makes the following observations for the Chicago Bears.
“1st Round, 11th Pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
The Buzz: The Bears will jump for a chance for a future leader on offense.
2nd Round, 42nd Pick: Frank Okam, DT, Texas
The Buzz: The Bears are looking for a compliment to Tommie Harris on the inside.”
Matt Ryan is a junior at Boston College that threw for 4,258 yards with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. His completion rate of 60.3 for 366 completions of 607 passing attempts has remained a consistency throughout his career with a completion rate of 61.5 and 62.1 for his junior and sophomore year respectively. The most amazing thing is his career quarterback rating of 126.9, showing that there was very little learning curve coming into college football. I’m not excited about the Bears picking a quarterback in the first round but this kid has some promise. He’s very calm in the pocket, has good accuracy, and moves around in the pocket very well. His performance against Virginia Tech was amazing.
Frank Okam is a senior defensive tackle for the Longhorns who posted 22 tackles and 1 forced fumble in his senior season. His college career totals reach 108 tackles and 5 sacks. He doesn’t record many sacks but he’s a large force in the middle at 6-5, 320 lbs that shoves his way into the backfield and causes disruptions. He creates chaos at the line of scrimmage that forces quarterbacks to get rid of the ball and allows other players on defense to make the big play. There is no doubt he could be a great compliment to Tommie Harris at a badly needed position.
Both picks seem practical and fall into the catagory of picking the best talent available when you come up to the podium. However, we know that draft day doesn’t always go as planned and don’t be surprised if the Bears make moves on draft day to tap the deep offensive tackle pool coming out this year. Fred Miller looks like his age is catching up to him and tackles come at a high premium. In a year when the Bears need to make decisions about Rex Grossman and Briggs, the Bears will need to use the draft to plug holes immediately. If Jake Long from Michigan or Michael Oher from Ole Miss are available when the Bears make their pick it might be hard to pass up.
The reverse side of the deep offensive tackle pool may result in the Bears hoping a quality player will still be available in the second round and using the first round for another impact player. It could be Matt Ryan for quarterback, but the Bears may be able to resign Grossman for cheaper than what it could cost to keep Lance Briggs, who will command a salary as a top 5 player at his position. The Bears could draft Linebacker Dan Conner out of Penn State and use that money towards free agency to fix their secondary, or they could work out a deal with Briggs and just draft Free Safety Kenny Phillips out of Miami.
There are a lot of options and frankly I don’t see the Bears wasting more time and money on the quarterback position. Very few quarterbacks have the raw talent capable of starting straight out of college. Young quarterbacks that are thrown in the starting role to early show signs of brilliance, only to disappoint with regression and lost confidence. Vince Young has been a poster child this season for young quarterbacks being thrust into the starting role too soon. The Browns and Raiders made the right move to allow Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell time to study the NFL system and get used to the speed of the game. This means even if the Bears sign Ryan, they will still need to make Grossman or Brian Griese the starter next season, thereby diminishing the immediate impact of the draft.
Every team dreams on having a young, franchise quarterback, but the reality is the window for the Bears to dominate the league is turning out to be surprisingly small. An aging Fred Miller, Ruben Brown, and John Tait, and arthritic Brian Urlacher are threatening to throw the Bears right back into a rebuilding mode. This team has the capability to return to NFC dominance but they need impact players like their NFC North rivals have found in Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and A.J. Hawk. The Bears offensive troubles will correct themselves with some help at the line of scrimmage and a little more support from the defense.
I agree with the second round pick, but the Bears first round pick needs to be a more immediate impact player.
Tags: A.J. Hawk Adrian Peterson Bears Brady Quinn Brian Griese Brian Urlacher Calvin Johnson Chicago Bears Dan Conner Frank Coyle Frank Okam Fred Miller Jake Long JaMarcus Russell John Tait Kenny Phillips Lance Briggs Matt Ryan Michael Oher Rex Grossman Ruben Brown Texas Longhorns Tommie Harris Vince Young