The Bears are addressing specific needs and they made an important 1st round pick that will hopefully keep Jay Cutler upright more often in 2011 than he was in 2010.
The Bears selected offensive lineman Gabe Carimi with the 29th pick in the first round. He’s an excellent run blocker but needs to work on his pass protection. Nevertheless, Carimi is a physical player that will be able to make an impact right away.
“He’s not a perfect player,” said General Manager Jerry Angelo. “We like the fit. We like what he brings to us intangibly. We wanted to get better up front. He’s a seasoned player.”
There is a debate on where Carimi will play on the offensive line and Head coach Lovie Smith said that the Bears will “keep all options open”.
Most scouting reports say that Carimi is better suited to be a right tackle but under the tutelage of offensive line coach Mike Tice, Carimi may be able to be groomed into a left tackle, the position that the Bears would probably prefer him to play when it’s all said and done.
In the second round, the Bears traded up to draft defensive tackle Stephen Paea with the 53rd pick. The Bears, in return, sent the Washington Redskins their fourth round pick of this year’s draft. This is a move to replace Tommie Harris at the three-technique but Paea is also versatile enough to play the nose tackle position. Paea is a great tackler and can stuff the run well, which is a good thing when you have Adrian Peterson in your division.
“We’re real excited about selecting him with this pick,” said Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell. “We had an opportunity to work with the Redskins to get up. We thought there were a couple chances for him to go in the next few picks and we did not want to risk that, so we got him.”
Paea also set a record at the NFL Combine with 49 repetitions on the 225 pound bench press. Overall, Paea is an explosive player that automatically makes the Bears’ defensive line a much better unit.
“He was just a unique guy for us. Then you combine that with his effort level and his passion for the game, it was kind of a no-brainer for us.” Ruskell said. “All those other [defensive tackles in the draft] had something missing here or there.”
It’s still too early to give out any 2011 season predictions but the Bears are clearly on the right track by strengthening key positions that were problematic last season.