Bears mailbag: Trade up in draft?

USC safety Taylor Mays will likely be drafted late in the first round. Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

Q: Since the Bears essentially got nothing for their second-round pick -- due to a tragic loss [the death of Gaines Adams] -- shouldn't they look to trade up to get a impact player? With the short leash Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith are on right now, wouldn't you sell out for this great draft class? If so, what do you think of the Bears trading up to get [Southern California safety] Taylor Mays? He looks a lot like Brian Urlacher did when he was drafted. Even if you didn't want to convert him to a linebacker, he has the size and abilities to cover the large tight end's that roam the middle in the NFC North. -- Steve H., Chicago

A: Even though many people feel Mays hurt his draft stock by staying an extra season at USC, most analysts have him pegged as a mid to late first-round pick. How can the Bears trade up into the first round? I simply don't see any player on the roster -- with the exception of Lance Briggs or Jay Cutler -- that has first-round trade value. Brian Urlacher? No. Devin Hester? No. Tommie Harris? No. A combination of all three? Maybe, but is it worth trading away your starting middle linebacker, wide receiver and defensive tackle to acquire a late first-round safety? I would tend to view that scenario as unlikely. But Steve, you're right about Mays, this kid can hit, and I would be very surprised if he's not an instant impact player in the NFL. Hopefully the Bears can find a Taylor Mays-type in the third round. We can all dream, can't we?

Q: I was thinking with Donte' Stallworth being reinstated and then being cut by the Cleveland Browns, do you think they Bears will think or even consider signing such a talented player? -- Matthew Garcia, Madison, Wis.

A: It's always risky when a player sits out an entire year, but Stallworth is still relatively young [29] and probably eager to show the league he can still play. In his prime, Stallworth was outstanding stretching the field, averaging 19.1 yards per reception in 2006. Remember, the Bears have gone to great lengths this offseason to assure everybody their receiving core is already adequate, but I don't believe that's true. This team needs to add a veteran wide receiver, but is Stallworth the right guy to add to the mix? There's little question Stallworth would play with a sense of urgency, which is good, but how much has he lost over the past season? I would certainly be interested to see Stallworth workout, and if he looks good, the Bears should give the idea some consideration. But I might be more inclined to pursue other free agent receiver options who would come without all that baggage.

Q: What is the chance of the Bears moving Brian Urlacher to safety to shore up the Bears top weakness from last year? -- Vince, Sherrills Ford, N.C.

A: Slim to none. Urlacher will be 32 years old next season, and has slowed down some over the past few years because of back and neck issues. I'm not saying Urlacher is washed up, but the Bears need him to play well at middle linebacker in 2010. If Lovie Smith wants to consider moving Charles Tillman to safety -- a move Smith mocked repeatedly over the years -- then so be it. But if you move Tillman, the Bears must find a cornerback to start opposite Zack Bowman. I've always been a fan of Corey Graham, but for whatever reason, the Bears don't seem to share my sentiments. D.J. Moore is a reach, and Nathan Vasher has done little to inspire confidence since the start of 2008. Translation: The Bears have major issues in the secondary, but Urlacher changing positions is not part of the solution.

Q: I know Orlando Pace really looked like he'd lost about 20 steps last season, but with Mike Martz coming in and running an offense that Pace is really familiar with, I think the Bears should at least entertain the idea of bringing him back for maybe one more year to be Chris Williams' backup. If Pace would agree to a minimum contract, I feel he could be a very beneficial player to help that inexperienced O-line understand what Mike Martz is looking for. -- Ken, Chicago

A: Ken, I just don't think Pace has anything left. I know that sounds harsh -- and in no way should that diminish his Hall of Fame caliber career -- but when it's over, it's over. The best scenario here would be for Pace to retire, so we can all celebrate his vast achievements, and stop speculating on whether or not he will be cut by the Bears. Pace is a class act, who never complained last season when he was phased out by the coaching staff. He will go down as one of the greatest tackles in NFL history, but I just don't see him being a part of next season's roster.

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Q: Rod Marinelli? Seriously? The guy who is a top-rated defensive line coach? The guy who's never been a defensive coordinator? I guess if Lovie Smith is going down, he's going down his way. Shed some light on this hire, please. -- Brett, Indianapolis

A: I do not like Marinelli assuming the role of defensive coordinator, but who else were they going to hire? Perry Fewell was the only guy even considered for the job, and his surprise decision to head to the New York Giants left Smith with few options. Of course, this is partly Smith's fault because after all, the pool of available candidates was small due to the Bears' insistence on sticking with their defensive scheme. I agree, on the surface, Marinelli's promotion makes the Bears weaker at coordinator and weaker along the defensive line. But it's only February, so let's see how free agency and draft play out before we reach our final conclusions.