With the 2011 NFL Draft almost here, it can be assured that you have heard a lot of talk about the many players that Chicago appears to be interested in. We know that they like what center Mike Pouncey has to offer, they have a deep interest in Terrell McClain (in the later rounds) and may even have some interest in Marvin Austin and there is talk that they could take him in the first round.
The Bears have had their moments in the first round including poor picks with Cedric Benson and a still questionable pick in Chris Williams and they cannot afford to make a mistake in the first round like they have before.
They need players now, not next year or find a guy that will be off the team in a year or two.
Considering those players that may be around when the Bears make their pick at number 29 in the 2011 NFL Draft, here is a look at five guys that have some concerns about themselves heading into the draft. These concerns could either be character concerns, physical concerns or system concerns.
Anthony Castonzo-OT-Boston College-Sure, Castonzo may or may not be there when the Bears make their pick in the first round but if he is there Chicago needs to take a look at some of the questions that have been surrounding him since the draft process has started. Castonzo has lacked consistency at times and didn’t perform well in post season opportunities (like the Senior Bowl). There are some that feel that he lacks consistency and will take some time develop.
The Bears couldn’t afford to have a player that’s going to take time to develop. They need the help now.
Muhammad Wilkerson-DT-Temple-You always hear that it’s a mistake for a team to select a small school player high in the draft and sometimes it has worked out, other times it hasn’t. Some scouts feel that Wilkerson would be a bit of a risk to take in the first round because he hasn’t faced a lot of big time competition and will struggle, at first, to take on offensive lineman in the NFL. A much more NFL ready player would be better for the Bears at this point in the draft.
Danny Watkins-OG-Baylor-Depending on which draft expert you listen to, Watkins could either go late in the first round or early in the second round and Chicago has shown some interest in him. There are a couple of things that scouts have talked about with Watkins that might make him unappealing to some teams and those are the fact that he comes into this draft as 26 year old and hasn’t played football as long as some of the other guys in the draft.
The lack of experience can be overcome but teams may not want to invest heavily in someone that old and who may have already reached his peak NFL age. The Bears couldn’t afford to have someone who may only play three to five seasons (although that is the standard NFL career) especially at a position where players typically play for long periods of time.
It would also be tough because Watkins may start to break down before he even get’s started (or playing at a high level).
Jonathan Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh-Some earlier mock drafts had the Bears taking Baldwin with their first round pick but the Bears, along with other teams picking in the late first round should be wary of Baldwin. The knock on him is that he doesn’t have ideal character and that teams are concerned about his work ethic. While in school, Baldwin was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct.Baldwin doesn’t seem to run routes poorly and doesn’t have the refined mechanics that teams will want to see in a first round receiver. This will probably cause him to drop into the second or even the third round.
Jimmy Smith-CB-Colorado-Even though this may be a bit of a stretch for the Bears (in terms of drafting a cornerback in the first round) anything is possible and Chicago may have some interest in Smith. But Smith does come with some baggage. Not only was he not as productive as many would like to see and mechanically has some issues. He also had some problems with the law as well as he has been charged with drug an alcohol offenses.
Is he worth the risk?
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I agree on all five counts. The Bears really need to hit on their picks this year but I’m afraid they won’t find the right guys for their needs unless they trade up.