What We Learned: 2010 NFL Draft

Not only are there five picks now in the mix for the Chicago Bears after the NFL Draft, but Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo offered subtle hints on what they are thinking for 2010. What exactly? JC knows.

1. No more "redshirt" years for high draft picks
From third-round wide receiver Earl Bennett in 2008 to third-round defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert in 2009, not to mention a bunch of other draft picks during the current regime at Halas Hall, coach Lovie Smith sometimes runs the Bears like a college program and "redshirts" his rookies for a season. But don't expect that to be the case in 2010, as third-round safety Major Wright, fourth-round D-end Corey Wootton and fifth-round cornerback Joshua Moore all have a good chance to dress on Sunday and contribute right away – that was general manager Jerry Angelo's stated goal for his selections in Rounds 3, 4 and 5. Wright may be the opening-day starter at free safety, Wootton can challenge for a spot in the rotation if his knee is healthy and Moore has the ability to be a plus special teamer at the least.

While sixth-round quarterback Dan LeFevour will likely carry a clipboard as the No. 3 and seventh-round offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb could use a year of seasoning on the practice squad, Wright, Wootton and Moore need to be active on game day and it will be a disappointment if they're not.

2. Martz is happy with the skill-position talent
Either offensive coordinator Mike Martz wasn't a part of the draft process whatsoever, or he is pleased with what he has already at running back, wide receiver and tight end. Angelo and Co. didn't select one ball carrier or pass catcher in the draft, even though most of the national pundits figured the Bears had to address the receiver position and try to get quarterback Jay Cutler a potential No. 1. When asked about the offseason program at this past weekend's Bears Expo at Soldier Field, Cutler again gushed over the ability of late bloomer Devin Aromashodu and seems to think the 6-2, 200-pound speedster is going to be his primary target this season.

If Martz had stepped foot on the practice field for voluntary workouts and didn't like what he saw from a skill-position perspective, you can bet he would have been in Angelo's ear begging for another weapon to employ in his high-risk offense.

3. A backup for Harris is yet to be determined
In 2009, Israel Idonije was one of the more efficient defensive tackles in the NFL based on the limited number of snaps he got, particularly in terms of getting pressure on the passer. He did the majority of his damage subbing for starter Tommie Harris at three technique, which Smith always says is the most important position on the field in Chicago's version of the Cover 2. With Idonije now switching to defensive end and currently the leading candidate to start opposite free-agent addition Julius Peppers, it's going to be interesting to see who spells Harris this season since the former Pro Bowler can only be on the field about 60 percent of the time.


DT Jarron Gilbert
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

The Bears' director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel, has already said Wootton isn't big enough to slide inside, which means it's time for Gilbert to step up and be known for more than jumping out of a pool on YouTube.

4. Beekman can relax, although Moore should be nervous
If the Bears were absolutely convinced Josh Beekman couldn't get the job done at left guard, then they wouldn't have decided to kick Frank Omiyale out to right tackle, would have made a more serious play for Rob Sims in free agency or made guard a higher priority in the draft. But because Webb was the only offensive lineman selected, plus he's a seventh rounder and can't even play guard since he's 6-8, then Beekman is still the default starter at left guard right now and probably won't be challenged seriously by the likes of Lance Louis or Johan Asiata. Angelo still has an awful taste in his mouth from the Orlando Pace experiment, making it less likely he'll roll the dice yet again on another aging veteran like Alan Faneca.

2009 fourth rounder D.J. Moore, on the other hand, could be on the hot seat already, as Angelo went out of his way following the draft to say he doesn't want any more short corners – Moore is generously listed at 5-9.

5. Wheeling-and-dealing days may be done
Since he traded away his picks in Rounds 1 and 2 in the Cutler and Gaines Adams deals, respectively, Angelo knew he hamstrung himself to some degree in this draft and might have looked for a way to justify further maneuvering in order to either move up on Day 2 or acquire more selections on Day 3. While he was presented with a few opportunities to trade up and a few more to trade down, Angelo stayed true to his board, highlighted a few players he wanted at each respective position and took the highest-rated prospect from each group once he was on the clock. Perhaps he has altered his approach a bit, and even if he and Smith are operating under a win-or-else ultimatum this season, Angelo avoided the temptation to borrow from tomorrow to help pay for today.

Most of the draftniks are grading the Bears in the B-minus to C-plus range for their efforts, in part because they didn't make a pick until 75th overall, but at least Angelo has his first and second rounder back come 2011.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter 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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