On the NFL
6:27 PM CDT, April 29, 2012
If Bears general manager Phil Emery had put a spin on Mick Jagger during the course of the NFL draft, he might have sung, "You can't always get what you need. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you want."
From the third round on, Emery added three defensive backs and a tight end. That was all fine and dandy, you may say, but what about the seemingly greater needs at offensive line and defensive tackle?
Clearly, these were not major priorities for the Bears. But it's not like the team went into the draft intent on ignoring those positions either.
They ended up not selected an offensive lineman or a defensive tackle because of the way the draft broke. The Bears took players at other positions who were graded higher, which is the way you are supposed to do it.
That does not mean there will be no new blood at the positions when the season opens in September. The Bears roster stands at 83 after the team signed 11 rookie free agents Sunday. They can add seven more players, and they still are shopping.
The Bears on Sunday signed perhaps the best undrafted offensive lineman in James Brown of Troy. Several teams were trying to sign him, according to his agent, Bus Cook, but he chose the Bears because he thought they needed a blocker and he liked the idea of playing for Mike Tice.
Brown is an athletic blocker with an NFL body. Most NFL teams see him as a guard, and he likely will line up at guard for the Bears even though he played left tackle in college.
Before the draft, three front office men I spoke with said Brown had fourth-round ability.
"He is pretty athletic, he has some power and some bend," an AFC personnel director said. "He is not real explosive and is an inconsistent player."
Brown may have a good chance of sticking, but he probably won't be of much use to the Bears this year. Rather, he is the type of developmental prospect Tice can bring out the best in over time.
NFL front office men describe Brown as a raw player who needs to improve his technique, his footwork, his hand use and his pad level. One pointed out he played in a two-point stance in college, so he will need to learn a new stance as well as a new position.
He was clearly the best of the Bears' undrafted pick-ups, though it is likely they will sign more rookies who slipped through the draft.
The Bears also added a defensive tackle in Ronnie Cameron of Old Dominion. He probably will be a long shot to make the roster if the Bears can acquire a veteran at the position.
A familiar face could help fill out the depth chart at the position. Tommie Harris is unsigned and probably would be fairly cheap. It doesn't seem likely, but Anthony Adams could also be brought back.
Other veterans still on the market include Rocky Bernard and Aubrayo Franklin. It is possible other veterans will shake free now that teams have potential rookie replacements on the roster.
Another option would be to follow the suggestion of an NFC pro scout and move Chauncey Davis to tackle from end.
There appear to be fewer options to find a healthy offensive tackle at this point, though Adam Goldberg is looking better than ever. The Bears had the former Ram in for a visit in early April. Goldberg broke into the league playing for Tice in Minnesota in 2004, and could be a versatile backup because he has played tackle, guard and center.
Tice also has options with his own players if he doesn't like the depth at tackle. He can move Chris Williams to tackle from guard. He can keep Lance Louis at tackle instead of shifting him to guard. He can move Gabe Carimi from right tackle to left.
The point is the Bears are not done moving, shaking and signing just yet. In fact, they still may get what they need.
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