Whether the Bears deal out of No. 20 in the draft this month or they can’t get the right situation and stay right there, a foundation of the draft plan will be a cluster of anywhere from four to seven possibles worthy of the No. 20 pick. Who will those be? Because that is the starting talent pool that allows trading down.
General Manager Phil Emery is clear that he wants a starter from a first-round pick. Based on several draft rankings (not mock drafts), that pool will have possible starters at more than one position.
Using two indicators
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper slots Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro as the 20th best player in this draft. Either side of that are Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker at 19 and Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree at 18, with Alabama running back Eddie Lacy 21st and Tennessee wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson 22nd.
Colleague Todd McShay slots West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith at 20, preceded by Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner 19th and North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams 18th. After Smith come Fluker at 21 and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant 22nd. Notably perhaps, Oregon guard/tackle Kyle Long ranks 23rd.
The Bears are extremely unlikely to draft a safety in round one, given that they have drafted safeties in each of the past third rounds (Major Wright, Chris Conte, Brandon Hardin) and two are ensconced as starters.
They are perhaps even less likely to take Smith at 20; they need a promising backup right now, not a starter. Lacy and Patterson are not considered sufficiently high on the Bears’ need index to warrant a No. 1 pick at that level.
But when the Bears’ turn looms on day one (or before), and the actual draft board still shows Long, Ogletree, Williams and Trufant available, the Bears could trade down four picks and be assured of landing one of those four in addition to adding a mid-round pick for their troubles.
Those may not be players in the Bears’ “pool” when the deliberations of the next couple of weeks are done. But the pool may be more important to the Bears than one individual player before the night of April 25 has run its course.
The veil the Bears have over some of their dealings and intentions means that they very well could have secretly worked out or talked deal with a No. 2 quarterback after signing vet Josh McCown back as presumably their No. 3. And the fact that they haven’t doesn’t mean that a No. 2 won’t be added after the draft, although the sooner one gets on board, the sooner new playbooks and systems can start being assimilated. CSNChicago.com has suggested for some time that signs point to the Bears taking a quarterback in the mid-rounds of this month’s draft.
Part of the reason for suspecting as much is that the Bears are so far sitting out the game of quarterback musical chairs going on elsewhere in the NFL. Follow this.
The Seattle Seahawks are set to work out Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace and Tyler Thigpen, even with Russell Wilson as their starter to the point of shipping Matt Flynn off to Oakland. Which shipped Carson Palmer off to Arizona. Which had released Kevin Kolb, who went to Buffalo. Which had sacked Ryan Fitzpartick. Who signed with Tennessee. Which had released Matt Hasselbeck.
Got that? Good. There’s more.
The Bears didn’t re-sign Jason Campbell, who is now in line to compete for the starting job in Cleveland. Which traded Colt McCoy to San Francisco. Which traded Alex Smith to Kansas City. Which released Matt Cassel, who then signed with Minnesota.
The Bears have not dived into the QB shuffle. They don’t have to. Besides McCown, the Bears do have Matt Blanchard in development, signed to a reserve-futures contract in January.
And they are interested in trading down from No. 20, which would likely add a mid-round pick. Which would be about where multiple draft evaluators see quite a few of this year’s quarterback class going.