JD, as we approach the draft, who was the worst pick in the Jerry Angelo era? Keep up the great work. -- Phil, Crete, Ill.
There are plenty to choose from; Michael Haynes, Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley, Dusty Dvoracek, Dan Bazuin, Michael Okwo, etc. But I'll go with Okwo, and here's why; I can make an excuse for every other player listed above -- Haynes dominated in the 2003 pre-draft all-star games; Benson, Bradley and Dvoracek all clearly have talent, and Bazuin never had a shot because of injuries. On the other hand, I never knew what to make of Okwo. A 2007 third-round pick labeled as "a young Lance Briggs," Okwo just never seemed to get it. The guy went to Stanford, yet he didn't understand anything about playing outside linebacker in the NFL. I'm sure he's a very nice guy, and this is not a personal shot, but the next time Angelo hears a potential draftee say at the combine that "football is my art," I suggest the Bears run for the hills and never look back.
Is D.J. Moore a bust? I never hear anybody talk about Moore fighting for a starting job at corner. I saw him play in college, the cat can ball. -- Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn.
It's not that Moore doesn't have talent, he does. His problems are two-fold. First, Lovie Smith likes big, physical corners -- Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman are 6-foot-1 -- and Moore is generously listed at only 5-9, 183 pounds. Second, Moore is still learning how to be a professional. He can't change the first thing, but the second concern should be addressed. Young players need to have a certain attitude when they enter the NFL -- they need to work hard and be humble. Word is Moore fancies himself as a young Asante Samuel, which if true would be great for the Bears, but it's hard to see that comparison since Moore was only active for three games as a rookie. I'm not going to write off Moore after just one season, but in my opinion, a few things need to change before he can be seriously considered for playing time.
What's a realistic amount of catches for Johnny Knox next year? -- Timothy, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Interesting question. Knox hauled in 45 catches as a rookie, but didn't have any receptions the last two games after suffering a season-ending injury in the third quarter versus Minnesota on Dec. 28. I'm not all that concerned with the number of catches for Knox. I want to see an increase in big-plays down the field. Seven of Knox's receptions went for 20-plus yards in 2009. I'd like to see that figure jump to about 12 to 15 catches for 20-plus yards this season. Although Knox could physically handle catching 60 to 70 passes, I'd be fine if that number remains at 45 to 50, as long as the Bears properly utilize his speed in the deep passing game.
It might not be a bad idea to bring in another quarterback, preferably one with experience. I still feel Hanie is going to be a nice player, who continues to make progress after spending the offseason training in Florida. However, he's fairly green, attempting only seven career NFL passes in two seasons. The Bears kept only two quarterbacks on the active roster for the majority of 2009, so it's not like this is a glaring need, but adding another QB with some mileage may be a wise move just from an insurance standpoint. Brett Basanez, last year's third quarterback, did an excellent job behind the scenes. Basanez was basically the de facto quarterbacks coach, and will no doubt have a successful coaching career after his playing days are over. I can easily see Basanez being an NFL or big-time collegiate offensive coordinator in 10 years.
I agree, Lilja seems perfect for the Bears at left guard. If you sign Lilja, Frank Omiyale can slide outside to right tackle, two moves that would greatly improve the offensive line. Lilja has dealt with health problems in the past -- he reportedly failed a physical before being cut by the Colts-- so perhaps a medical red flag has prevented to Bears from jumping in. Lilja reportedly met with the Chiefs on Monday.
UPDATE: Lilja signed a three-year deal with Kansas City Tuesday.