Brad Biggs reported that Jerry Angelo and the Bears are considering a move up in the draft to try to grab one of the top safeties.
Nolan Nawrocki, the draft analyst for Pro Football Weekly, said on a teleconference Wednesday that four safeties could go in the first round. Tennessee’s Eric Berry projects to be gone sometime between No. 5 and No. 10 overall. Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett is climbing draft boards quickly and USC’s Taylor Mays and Texas’ Earl Thomas also are in the mix. Nawrocki also wouldn’t rule out Allen as a possibility to sneak into the end of the first round, which likely would put him out of reach for the Bears, who lack first- and second-round picks and don’t have a selection until No. 75 in the third round.
For the Bears to trade up into the second round, it likely would take their second-round pick in 2011 and more.
“There is more elite talent at the safety position overall this year than there has been in past years with talk about four potentially fitting into the first round and Nate Allen is a guy who could potentially sneak in there,” Nawrocki said. “I think (the Bears) have to fill that need, they’re looking hard at it and I think there is a chance they could potentially move up to the second round, trade up, and I know I have heard some discussion around the league about that possibility. They should be able to address the needs with the players that are in this draft.”
Nawrocki noted a couple players who might be available at No. 75 if the Bears stay put. The only previous time Angelo has traded up was in 2003 when he made a trade to move up in the fifth round to draft wide receiver Justin Gage. We’re talking about a minor trade at that point in the draft.
Nawrocki’s three other options with free-safety skills are Major Wright of Florida, T.J. Ward of Oregon and Chad Jones of LSU.
It’s clear that safety is still a glaring need for the Bears this offseason. After flirting with Antrel Rolle at the start of Free Agency, the Bears decided to push all in on Julius Peppers and haven’t done anything to fix their inconsistent secondary.
As the calendar turns to April and the draft is right around the corner, we’ll delve deeper into each of the top prospects, but consider this – if Jerry Angelo is going to trade another second round pick (and possibly more) just to move into the second round for a chance to swing and miss on another draft pick, he might as well put a package together and get a proven commodity in the Rams’ OJ Atogwe.
Atogwe has a great knack for taking the ball away, which is a real turn-on for Lovie Smith. He would be an ideal fit in Smith’s Cover-2 scheme and add a playmaker that has been absent in the secondary since Mike Brown was in his prime. If the Bears are going to go for broke, they might as well really go for it and get the top guy out there.