A popular NFL saying is a team can never have enough weapons but it's difficult for a team like the Chicago Bears. With a young core of players like Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall now in place, will the team gear its upcoming draft towards needs?
NFL draft talent and Matt Forte holdout make offense tempting
How general managers attack a confusing beast like the NFL draft depends largely on where the talent focuses for that year. Many times it might have more offense, others more defense. The 2012 version seems rich with both, making decision for GM Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears even more difficult. While their free agent spending has greatly improved the roster with depth at quarterback in Jason Campbell and running back Michael Bush, the biggest prize was wide receiver Brandon Marshall. For all his personal issues, and there are many, the 6'4" Marshall finally gives quarterback Jay Cutler the big target he's wanted for three years. Pairing those two Pro Bowl talents with dynamic Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte gives Chicago their first real core of talent on offense in decades. The problem is things stay unsettled. Forte isn't happy that the Bears haven't given him the long-term contract he's wanted for over a year and conventional wisdom says he may likely hold out through the offseason and may into the regular season too. If so, that could change how Chicago approaches the draft.
Aging defense needs youth but Michael Floyd or Stephen Hill may come first
It's well documented the Bears defense isn't young and vibrant any more. Their Pro Bowl heart of players like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman are all over 30-years old. Fans fear age will catch up to those men before their team can put together a serious run at the Super Bowl. That's why they hope Chicago will start reloading the defense in the NFL draft with at least two high draft picks. The problem is a chance may come for the team to draft another wide receiver. Latest mock drafts predict two intriguing talents like Michael Floyd from Notre Dame or Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech will still be available when Chicago picks in the first round. The Bears always look defense first, but a chance to pair either Floyd or Hill, two young men just as big as Marshall, could give Cutler more help should Forte hold out.
No matter how fans look at it, the Chicago Bears have improved since finishing 8-8 last season. Brandon Marshall puts Jay Cutler back on the map as a relevant quarterback, and Matt Forte will make them even better if his pending holdout doesn't drag into the regular season. Will the NFL draft swing towards defense now, or is the urge to add another weapon like Michael Floyd or Stephen Hill too great? Only Phil Emery and the front office know.