Lovie Smith's version of the Cover 2 simply doesn't work without primo play at both safety positions, which has been a problem in recent years and caused the Bears to falter on defense.
While everybody loves Mike Brown and what he brings to the table both on and off the field, the former Pro Bowler simply can't stay healthy and won't be back with the organization. Josh Bullocks was signed in free agency after four seasons in New Orleans, while one-time Naperville North star Glenn Earl has been brought in to compete for a roster spot at strong safety. The rest of the depth chart is young, featuring third-year pro Kevin Payne starting at strong safety and a pair of second-year youngsters, Craig Steltz and Zack Bowman, backing up at strong safety and free safety, respectively.
The addition of Bullocks means general manager Jerry Angelo has likely crossed premier safety prospects Louis Delmas of Western Michigan and William Moore of Missouri off his list, but he's apparently still scouring for Day-2 bargains.
As first reported by Scout.com senior NFL analyst Ed Thompson, Al Afalava of Oregon State has an official visit with the Bears scheduled for Mar. 31. Afalava was a four-year starter for the Beavers and durable enough to play in 47 games during his career in Corvallis, recording three interceptions and 14 pass breakups along the way. Although he is considered a late-round prospect at best, and Afalava may even go undrafted next month.
Angelo must address the wide receiver and offensive tackle positions in Rounds 1 and 2 because both are immediate needs, but the rest of the draft should be considered wide open because bodies are needed most everywhere.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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