I haven’t had a chance to welcome you aboard yet, so let’s get that out of the way. First of all, great work so far! Pulling off that Brandon Marshall trade to start Free Agency was a helluva way to get the party started. You had to be holding your breath a bit with that NYC night club incident though, huh? Glad that seems to be behind us.
Now let’s get on to the real reason you were brought to Chicago, the NFL Draft! I’d like to say that you have some big shoes to fill, but let’s face it, your predecessor didn’t exactly light the world on fire with his recent drafts. But we’re not here to trash the old regime, we’re here to move forward.
In your introductory press conference, you promised to bring us impact players. You’ve done that so far in Free Agency and now the draft is your chance to shine and continue to deliver. Let me give you a few bits of advice as you head into your first draft at the wheel for the Chicago Bears:
- Don’t draft for a system. The Bears made that mistake over the years and especially most recently. They picked guys that they thought fit a mold and not the best player. Coaches and systems come and go but good players will outlast them all. The Cover-2 is here today, but could be gone tomorrow. Mike Martz and his cockamamie scheme got rid of pass catching tight ends and got out of shape tight ends who couldn’t get out of their own way. Don’t fall into that trap.
- Draft football players and not workout warriors. We drafted a guy who could jump out of a swimming pool. What good did that do us? He’s probably selling insurance right now. You said it in your press conferences – it’s in the tape. Watch the game tape and find guys who excel on Saturdays and can play on Sundays.
- Put Jay Cutler in a position to succeed. The Bears mortgaged their future to get a franchise quarterback but never bothered to put him in a position to succeed. They never bothered to see what he does well; what earned him a trip to a Pro Bowl. Make him feel comfortable and safe. Give him more weapons; red zone weapons. Give him protection and not the kind that keeps him from getting his girlfriend pregnant.
- Infuse youth into a veteran defense. The core of your defense – Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, Tillman – are a combined 200 years old and there really aren’t any players in the pipeline to start filling those big shoes. Henry Melton and DJ Moore are nice role players, but they’re not perennial Pro Bowlers or All Pros.
- Draft players who can contribute immediately. The last few years, the Bears have been redshirting their draft picks. Few of those redshirts have amounted to much of anything. The players don’t all need to be starters, but they need to be good enough to dress on Sundays.
- Don’t be afraid to trade up. If you see a player that can make an immediate impact slide a few spots, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on a deal to move up. Your predecessor rarely ever traded up. He’d rather trade down a collect 6th and 7th round picks that wouldn’t end up making the team more often than not. Don’t bother with that.
- Don’t screw over other teams. The Bears had a botched trade with the Ravens last season that made a few ripples around the league and hurt their reputation. Misinformation and gamesmanship are great. Stretching the limits of fairness are fine. But the team that you screw today is the team that will screw you tomorrow.
- Take a risk, but not in the first round. Your honeymoon here in Chicago will be short, so you might as well gamble a little while you’re still in our good graces. The quickest way to end the honeymoon is to find the next Michael Haynes instead of the next Julius Peppers.
- Have fun! You’re living the dream Phil!
If you need any other specific advice about who to select, feel free to peruse my site. There’s tons of stuff about which players would be a good fit here. There are so many needs, you’re virtually assured of finding an immediate contributor.
Best of luck,
Bear Goggles On
PS – Don’t screw this up.